Monday, October 26, 2009


Newsday.Com-October 25, 2009-OP-ED
OPINION: Be Careful Whom You Trust Your child To
October 23, 2009 by SANDRA R. WOLKOFF
Sandra R. Wolkoff lives in Glen Head.
The story of another mother whose irresponsible drinking allegedly caused the death of a child was all over the TV two weeks ago.

The police said a woman from the Bronx had crashed her car on the West Side Highway with her daughter and six other young girls on board. An 11-year-old friend of her daughter's, Leandra Rosado, was killed. They all had been at a birthday party and were heading to the woman's house for a sleepover.

That any parent would put her own child in danger so recklessly and impulsively is frightening. Witnesses said her toddler's father had tried to stop her from driving and removed his own son from the car, giving us some insight into how scared he was. But still she drove away with the other children. Nobody pulled any of them, or their driver, out of the car. It makes the children's parents and guardians look inexplicably helpless.

My children's safety was predicated on the good actions of my neighbors and their children. Forays to the mall, the nighttime basketball games at local parks, hot summer days at Jones Beach, would bring all our children together; we had to count on each of them. We had to count on adults to drive them back home safely.

At college, at clubs, on poorly lit highways, our children's lives would intersect - in fun, in peace, at work, in love and frighteningly, for thousands of young people each year, in death.
For my children to be safe, I would tell my listeners, I need your children to be healthy. I need you, their parents, to care about what they do, and whom it will impact. My safety and my children's safety depend on the choices that you and your children make. Every time a family member, a friend, a stranger, looks away when he has knowledge of a drunk or impaired driver, someone's life is in danger.

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