Forgetting your child in a hot car, mistake or murder?

Can you imagine going to work all day, coming back home and not realizing that you left your almost 3-year-old strapped in his car seat all that time until your husband calls to say he's not at the day care center? A parent's worst nightmare, right?

Well, that's exactly what happened to Karen Murphy a veterinarian in Virginia who pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor child neglect charges yesterday in the case of the death of her toddler son last summer. Murphy, who has two other children, was sentenced to six years probation and 400 hours of community service. But should she have been charged with something stronger instead?

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Part of me doesn't understand how it can even possible for you to forget your almost 3-year-old child in the back seat of your car. I know we're all super busy and we have a million things in our heads, but don't you talk to your child while you're in the car driving places? I mean, don't they talk to you? Don't they drive you up the walls with all their questions like mine do? I mean, this was not a baby. He was almost 3.

Also, how do you drive all the way back home from work with your dead child in the back seat without realizing it? I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. Look, I've forgotten millions of things in my life, especially after becoming a mom and feeling like my brain is fried all the time from all the non-stop action that always seems to be going on. But forgetting my child in the car? I just don't know. The worst part is that this was not the first time it happened. She had done it before, but the day care called to said she'd forgotten to drop him off.

Either way, I can't even begin to imagine how Murphy has been able to go on living after what happened to her child last June. I don't think that charging her with something stronger or giving her a harsher sentence would make any difference. She's already living the worst nightmare imaginable for any parent.

I'm sure Murphy didn't leave her son in the car intentionally. I'm sure it was a mistake... one she'll be paying for for the rest of her life. 

Do you think leaving your car in a child is just a mistake? Should parents who do this be punished?

Image via Pink Sherbet Photography/flickr

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