Mom arrested after texting with baby in lap????!!!!

Tabitha - posted on 05/07/2012 ( 36 moms have responded )

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As seen on cafe mom....
A mother of six children was pulled over in Torrance, California this week for texting. While driving. With an unrestrained baby in her lap. Is your jaw on the floor yet?

Shawndeeia Bowen was driving with the baby on her lap on the 405 freeway in California when a concerned citizen called police. While normally, I think people need to mind their own business regarding other people's parenting, in this case, I think the person is practically a hero.

Because not only did Bowen have her cellphone in hand and the baby on her lap, she also had a 2- and 4-year-old in the backseat with no seat belts on. This mother of six was committing child abuse, plain and simple.

Since having my children, I can't count the number of times I have been told by some well meaning person, "In my day we didn't have car seats." Well guess what? We have car seats for a reason. And not using them at all? Is child abuse.

Yep, that's right. What she was doing was abusing her children.

If she had had to brake suddenly, then what? Or what if there had been an accident. All those children would have been killed, the baby crushed by his or her unrestrained mother. She was endangering their lives and neglecting their safety.

She was breaking so many laws, it's hard to limit it to just one. But the worst is she was endangering not only every child in her car, but every child in every other car.

The fact is, part of good parenting is a good car seat. There is a reason they won't let you leave the hospital without one. This means no used car seats, no car seats from 1984, and no car seats that aren't made for children the right weight and size. There are updates to laws and regulations often. Follow them. Educate yourself. Did you know that children should now face backwards until the age of 2? If not, you should.

Parent need to be serious about car safety. We can control so many things in our kids' lives, but we can't control how other people drive. We owe it to our kids to make sure they are in the safest seats, buckled up tight. Anything less than that is negligent. What this woman did was criminal.

Do you think this is child abuse?

I also learned through a bit of research that she has been convicted in the past of child endangerment regarding this very same offense. My question is why was she allowed to keep these children without some kind-of intervention? It's appaling and to me it is child-abuse plain and simple.

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Becky - posted on 06/08/2012

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OMgosh, Kelina, that's a horrible story! He has 5 previous tickets for failing to stop at a traffic signal, but was only fined for killing a child??? Who cares how sincere his apology was, he robbed a family of their baby!!

Reminds me of the jackass who killed 5 people driving his cement truck under the influence a few years back here, and ended up serving less than a year per person. Our justice system sucks sometimes!



On the issue of using the word abuse, I do think it is applicable in this situation, because, while her child was not actually harmed, she was knowingly and deliberately putting him (her?) in serious danger. It's kind of like quibbling over whether it would abusive of me to dangle my 4 month old over the railing of our second story open to below. If I don't drop him, he's not harmed, but if I do... I think of actions like this as more than just stupidity. They are complete and utter disregard for the safety and well-being of your child.



Sherri - no issue with that, as long as they all have and use a seatbelt! (or proper car seat)

Becky - posted on 06/08/2012

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In Alberta, letting your child ride his bike without a helmet would be illegal. I don't know if it would get you investigated by Children's Services, but it would by the police! Not to mention, it's stupid. Getting hit by a car isn't the only thing that could happen. A fall while going downhill at a good speed, running into a tree, a lot of things could result in a serious head injury.
Yes, we all make mistakes, but I'm not sure how you can honestly call driving with your infant in your lap and your other children unrestrained a "mistake." A mistake is something you do by accident or unthinkingly. You don't accidentally hold your baby on your lap while you're driving! You might forget to buckle their carseat straps -I did that once and was kicking myself for the rest of the day- that was a mistake, and one I would have paid dearly for if we'd been in an accident. But I wouldn't call driving off with my infant on my lap a mistake. That is willfully ignoring the law and the safety of my child.

Shawnn - posted on 06/08/2012

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Happy,

Yes, yelling (in the extreme) has been grounds to charge child abuse. And if you'd ever experienced abuse, you'd understand the difference. I don't know one person that hasn't raised their voice at their kids once in awhile. But, if that's your normal mode of conversation (yelling), then it's considered emotional and mental abuse.

No, your kid riding his bike sans helmet is not abuse, but if you got some asshole at the accident scene, they could cite you for endangerment or neglect because you didn't make him put it on, which is stupid, in my opinion...considering how many kids will leave the house with the helmet, and take it off as soon as they can...

Vaccinations or lack thereof is considered a personal belief, not abuse/neglect. But, using the "prayer healing" rather than taking a child who is obviously dying to the hospital can result in an abuse charge.

Bed share? Please, you're just getting extreme in your "examples".

You can't tell me that this parent in the OP, and the one in Colorado are stellar parents, ever. One does not just one day decide that "i'll ride with baby in my lap and text this one time". No, that gal has done that more than once, probably with all of hte kids, and it's just pure luck that they're all still alive!

Becky - posted on 06/08/2012

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Child abuse, as per the Alberta Child Welfare Act is any action which endangers the safety, survival, or security of a child. I would say driving with your infant on your lap fits that bill pretty well!

Sylvia - posted on 05/07/2012

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MeMe, I think it depends which studies you read. A good case can be made that the main reason stats show more injuries with a lap belt than unrestrained is that an unrestrained child is much, much more likely to be killed outright.

I am by no means arguing that we should all quit using carseats!! And the littler the kid, obviously the more important it is to have them in an appropriate restraint -- just because a 9-year-old is fine in a regular seatbelt does NOT mean a 6-year-old or a 4-year-old is. I just hate it when people go on and on and on about how you're a terrible parent if you don't spend $500 on the newest and bestest carseat, because ALL carseats sold legally in any country with decent safety standards have to meet those safety standards, and sometimes the better is the enemy of the good :P

There's no excuse for DRIVING WHILE TEXTING AND HOLDING A BABY ON YOUR LAP, and there's no excuse for unrestrained preschoolers. I think we're all 100% agreed on those 2 points.

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Amy - posted on 09/02/2012

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It is not child abuse. It is child endangerment. Child abuse is when there is harm done to a child. Endangerment is when you put the child in a situation in which harm could come to them. If there was no actual harm to the child, and since they are so young it will be hard to tell, then child abuse will not be charged. But child endangerment will be.

Shawnn - posted on 08/20/2012

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@ Janice...LOL...late response, but it's been a super busy summer...

to answer, I'm in Wyoming, but some of the things I've seen have been in Colorado as well. How well I remember the days of piling into a vehicle, sometimes 7 or 8 of us in the back seat...Or how about this one. My parents made "blocks" for us to sit on to be able to see out the window. Imagine if we'd been in an accident, here's these wooden blocks flying around...!

Now, the back of the pick-up deal...that, for us, was a treat, and we loved it. But when I saw the 3 YO...my heart dropped! Yep, called 'em in, that's for sure!

@ Happy...Whoever turned you in for cosleeping and not vaccinating is a nosy busybody! Those, IMO, are personal parenting decisions that aren't negotiable. Trust me, I don't scream abuse at everything, just the blatantly obvious ones!

Gale - posted on 08/20/2012

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Didn't read all the comment, but here a thought, if she can afford a cell phone and text, shouldn't she be able to have proper car seat for her kids? But that not the issues, it said that her 2 year only was in a car seat just wasn't buckled up, the same for her 4 year old, so she had the restraints, she just didn't use them and then it said she brought the baby up front to calm it down, so again she has the stuff she just was stupid, she should loses he kids cause stupidly isn't a good reason for just plain bad parenting.

Becky - posted on 07/08/2012

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Kelina brings up a good point though. This wasn't her first offence. If it were, then maybe, just maybe, you could say, she's just an idiot and made a stupid mistake. (Although I still disagree that it was just a mistake.) But if she has already gotten in trouble for this once and does it again? That is more than just making a mistake. She knows exactly what she is doing, she knows the consequences, and she does it anyway. That is willful endangerment and therefore, abuse.

Erin - posted on 07/06/2012

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CPS defines everything as abuse. This was clearly over board but I don't believe every neglegent act constitutes abuse. It's just another way to constantly over criminalize the people which is a dangerous thing. But this mom is a stupid idiot. I'd take her license perminently too.

Kelina - posted on 06/09/2012

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I can't say this would be an error in judgement considering she'd already been prosecuted for the same damn thing. This isn't, well I'm an idiot but I didn't know it wasn't ok. She KNEW and still did it. That's not an error in judgement that's complete moronic stupidity. I'm a little uncharitable this morning.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 06/09/2012

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This mother was an idiot, plain and simple. Judgement error? Yeah, I don't think so. More like a complete moronic error. Who the hell does that? You are not thinking clearly if you drive with your baby on your lap and then text on top of that? Utterly stupid! I don't know if she needs her kids taken away but her license would be a GREAT start!



ETA: And an investigation by CPS would be another great start. Who knows what other neglegent things she does.... I agree with Becky. This classifies as abuse. Neglect is abuse. She was neglecting to put her child in a safe place. The child may not have been hurt but sure as hell could have been.

Sherri - posted on 06/09/2012

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Because he was a celebrity there is ALWAYS a double standard for celebrities.

Happy - posted on 06/09/2012

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@Becky, ever heard of Michael Jackson? He was never charged with abuse for doing the very same thing you described. John Q. Public never called him abusive eve thought it was on National news, heck I bet the whole world has seen that clip but his kids were never in jeapordy of beig taken away. Yet, everyoe is ready to crucify this woman and remove her children (which is NOT always the best solution and many times is much worse on the children) because she made a judgement error (mistake). Why the double standard?

Sherri - posted on 06/08/2012

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I typically will have 6 kids in my minivan. 4 being in car seats & 2 teenagers. So two carseats in the back and my 13yr old in between them. 2 car seats in the middle row and then my 15yr old up front with me.

Kelina - posted on 06/08/2012

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I have na issue with the word abuse. To me abuse is willfully causing harm, not being an idiot. But then, I don't make the laws, I sure as hell hope she's charged with something. I understand people can change but I sure wish we could do something about parents who end up charged multiple times with child abuse, or have kids taken away and then just go ahead and get pregnant again. Our minister and his wife have a little girl in their care who was taken away from mom at 4 months old. The sad part? She was baby number 5 or 6. All her older siblings had been taken away from mom. And then there is this. This just made me sick. http://www.globaltvbc.com/driver+fined+2... hope that works.

Janice - posted on 06/08/2012

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Wow Shawn - Where do you live? Way back when I was a kid my grandmother used to pile 6-7 of us into her station wagon but I haven't seen anything like that in a very long time. Teenagers yes, but not young children. Definitely, nit the norm in upstate NY thankfully.



@Becky I forgot to actually strap my daughter in 1x when she was about 20months old. Almost had a heart attack when I saw her beginning to climb out of her seat. Never did that again!

Happy - posted on 06/08/2012

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@Shawn, I agree that the parents i the original post are not the best, and probably some of the worst, parents. But my sensitivity lies with everyome just blanketly stating, ABUSE, ABUSE, ABUSE! I am just so sick of that! You do not kow the whole story and yet you are labelling a parent with the most evil name ever! Maybe, in this case, it applies, but I see it everywhere for far more stuoider reasons than the reasons I cited as examples. As a matter of fact, we had someone turn us into child protective services because of two of the reasons: vax and bed sharing. It was a nightmare and we still carry the scars but it was nowhere near what I have seen others go through all in the name of "Making sure every kid is safe!" Do you know that when you turn a family in that many times, not all mind you, those kids are traumatized by being ripped from their homes or having to be interviewed by numerous ppl for hours about their "bad parents" or from the thousands of dollars their family looses having to fight the allegations?

Happy - posted on 06/08/2012

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Well then come arrest me America because I yell.

Emotional abuse? Seriously? ((((((eye roll))))))

As far as the law, maybe it is time those laws changed. I do NOT for one minute agree what she has done is right. It is MOST dredfully wrong, but we all make mistakes. Simply not protecting our children from every conceivable, possible danger is not neglect or abuse. Is letting my child ride his bike w/o a helmet abuse too? He could get hit by a car! We bed share. Is that abuse too? We do not vaccinate. Is that abuse? There are too many grey areas where the child abuse laws are concerned and far too many children and parents have been damaged or destroyed because of them.

America3437 - posted on 06/08/2012

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Child abuse, as defined by the scope of law in the United States, is the mishandling of a minor through unlawful wrongdoing, unethical activity or neglect. The charge of child abuse can range in severity and in nature; child abuse can result from unethical physical abuse directed towards a child or take the form of an emotional or psychological attach—seemingly any action that impedes the child’s well-being and growth can be interpreted as child abuse.



She would be charged with abuse on the grounds of endangerment and neglect where I live and should be charged with wreckless endangerment as well.

Shawnn - posted on 06/08/2012

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While stupid, it won't be considered abuse. It will be considered reckless endangerment, just as the one in Colorado (who strapped the gas can into the car seat, and the 2 yo into the seat beside the gas can) was cited for reckless endangerment.

Had she wrecked, and any of the kids been injured, it could have been a different story, but would still be under the negligence category rather than the "abuse" category.

Stupid is as stupid does. The one thing I will consistently report is negligent endangerment of kids in vehicles. I've seen the "clown car" full of kids, (mom gets out, and 15 kids troop after her from a 6 passenger vehicle), I've seen people who have their DOG in the cab of the truck and their 3 YR OLD in the back of the truck running around as the vehicle moved thru traffic...I've seen babies sitting in driver's laps...I've seen it all around here, and the only thing that amazes me is that we haven't figured out how to sterilize these idiots!

America3437 - posted on 06/08/2012

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@ Happy Mama...Neglect is a form of abuse and so is child endangerment! She neglected to put her child in a car seat and was endangering the child by 1) no car seat 2) texting while driving! She is an idiot and should be charged! BTW yelling at your child could be seen as a form of emotional abuse.

Happy - posted on 06/08/2012

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I think it was wrong and she broke the law but I do not think it was abuse. That word gets applied to TOO many things these days. I yelled at my child, OMG, I'm a child abuser! Get real!

Becky - posted on 06/07/2012

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Absolutely, I think this is child abuse! You have to be living under a rock to not know the dangers of driving with your child improperly restrained. What she was doing was willfully endangering her children, and that is the definition of abuse. Some people really should not breed!

Sherri - posted on 06/07/2012

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The only thing I disagree with you about is the used car seats. I know where everyone of mine came but every single one of my car seats is used. They were all given to me by various friends as their children outgrew them.

Ya the reason is because the law considers it neglect not abuse. Moron doesn't begin to describe her though.

America3437 - posted on 06/07/2012

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Abuse in the form of neglect and child endangerment! Take her license!

Erin - posted on 06/06/2012

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Actually it's not abuse it's neglect while some don't differentiate I do. Not acceptable behavior but abuse not so much.

Stifler's - posted on 05/07/2012

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Yes it is child abuse and blatant stupidity. Imagine what kind of other ridiculous stuff she is doing.

Janice - posted on 05/07/2012

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WTF! It is shocking how dumb and neglectful some people are! Clearly a case of child neglect and endangerment. Technically not abuse but still horrendously wrong.



I'm shocked that there has not been some type of intervention since this mother has been neglectful before. I think at minimum her license should be revoked.



If you can't afford car seats for your kids take the F'in bus and then you can text all you want.



Lol Jaime - I'm SURE she shouldn't have procreated!



ETA: you can get a Cosco or Evenflo convertible car seat rear facing 5-35lbs & forward facing 22-40lbs at Walmart for 40$ and boosters can be as cheap as 20$ So she could have kept all 3 kids safe for 100$

[deleted account]

You don't need an expensive seat--in the US (not sure for other countries) all seats are required to meet certain specifications--the seats are equally safe whether you spend $80 or $400. That said, the seat does need to be NEW, and it needs to be the proper fit for the child--putting a child in a seat that does not fit them CAN and almost always WILL cause serious damage to the child.
If you cannot afford a seat, every county in the US has a program to give parents properly fitting seats. You may run into a problem if you drive a truck or other vehicle without a back seat, but if you keep looking, you will eventually find one.

Btw, I agree, child endangerment. She willfully and knowingly put her children in a dangerous situation. First offence, we can just chalk it up to stupidity, and unfortunately there is no law against that, but this was her second offence, so I think the kids should be placed in a safer environment.

[deleted account]

Well if you believe that the laws regarding texting while driving and the use of car seats for children and babies are common knowledge, then it is child abuse because you are intentionally placing your child in danger.
I can not believe that in this day and age, anyone with small children would not be aware of car seat laws. So to have unrestrained children in cars is, in my view, child abuse. Plain and simple.

[deleted account]

Stupid isn't usually intentional and I agree with Sylvia that child abuse is usually intended. Granted some people black out and go crazy on their kids but in this case there was no physical harm done to the kids since they hadn't wrecked, thank God. So I'd say this is child endangerment due to sheer stupidity. If your car can't fit six kids get a bigger car or a babysitter, don't be a complete moron and throw your kids in the back seat with no seat belt or car seat and sit one on your lap, and DEFINITELY don't be on your phone! What an idiot, are we even sure she should have been procreating? Those poor kids!

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/07/2012

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Actually Sylvia, it has been proven that any old seatbelt is NOT safer than none. If you have a seatbelt on that your child is not correctly sized for, there could be more internal damage than if they banged around in the back seat a bit. Lap belts are very dangerous, for one. They can severe a child on very little impact. An impact where they may have only hit their head on the seat in front of them. Using the wrong or an unsafe car seat can be more dangerous than none at all.

I do agree though, that you do not need an expensive car seat. I did not buy expensive ones. They ran about $100/each. However, they were new and they have been certified to be safe by safety standards. A car seat only last for 5 years. They break down after that. It can be more dangerous using an old car seat, rather than none.

I have done extensive research on car seats, which included seat belts (which included lap belts). There is a lot of info out there. It is seriously important to do it correctly, otherwise, they may as well not be restrained at all.

Sylvia - posted on 05/07/2012

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I dunno. To my mind abuse requires intent, and I'm not sure the situation you describe fits. What it is, though, is pure unadulterated STUPID and RECKLESS and did I mention STUPID? (Also, child endangerment.) I mean, it's not like it's possible to go anywhere these days without being told how dangerous it is for kids to ride in cars unrestrained. This is not rocket science. And considering how expensive it is to buy and maintain a car, I also don't buy the idea that people can't afford carseats for their kids -- surely if you can afford thousands of dollars a year for gas, insurance, and car payments, you can afford eighty bucks for a carseat.

I dislike the argument that every parent must be 100% perfect with respect to carseat safety. An old carseat you got from your neighbour isn't optimal, but it's better than no carseat; a lap belt alone isn't great, but it's better than nothing at all. (Most studies of carseats compare the carseat being tested to no restraint at all, btw -- not expensive carseats to cheap ones.) Not everyone can afford a Britax Husky or whatever, but your kid is almost certainly just as safe in a plain old $80 convertible seat, and as I said, anyone who can afford to run a car should be able to afford that.

Also, texting while driving is unbelievably stupid, but people do it all the time and they rarely come in for public castigation unless there's a child in the car -- which is dumb, because the a$$hole texting while driving is just as much a danger to all the kids outside his or her car as to the one inside it.

Frankly if I were a family court judge I wouldn't take this woman's kids away (unless she's equally stupid in other areas of child care) -- I'd take away her car.

Toni - posted on 05/07/2012

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Car seats are so important. Not only does it keep the child safe, but it also teaches your shild from a young age to be careful around and in cars.
My son was rear facing untill 1 year old (the laws were different at the time) even though my mum was insisting that he was too old for rear facing.
as soon as the laws changed about car seats for children I did my research and found that the seat we owned was no longer up to scratch. So, as soon as I got paid next I went and bought a brand new one that is right for his height, weight and complies with the new regulations.
Yeah, it cost a small fortune for me, but my sons life is thr most important thing and I would do anything to keep him safe.
This woman is a selfish bitch, plain and simple. She needs to have her kids taken away from her for their own safety

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/07/2012

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Yep, plain and simple this is abuse. The children do not know any better. It is the parents responsibilty to protect and keep our children as safe as possible. Obeying the laws is a big part of that. What a duffus. I hope she can no longer care for these children. If she is willing to neglect her parenting in a car, it makes me wonder what else she neglects to do for these children.

I was in a terrible accident when I was 16. The truck flipped 3 times. We were on a highway and we were going a good 100km/hour (not too fast). The ONLY thing that saved our lives WAS the seatbelts. My friend and I would be sitting in jail right now (or just getting out) if we had picked the guys that were hitch hiking up, since we debated it (quickly) and were going to tell them to jump in the box. They would have been killed!

There are seatbelts and laws for a reason. There are carseats for a reason. With my son, I am so anal about his carseat that I thoroughly read the handbook. I have made sure it is correctly strapped into the vehicles (we have two). My husband has been told that he is to never ever unlock the teathers. I am the one that researched and studied how to install them correctly, not him. My son is almost 19 months and he is still backward facing in my SUV. He is forward in my husbands car, since his legs were getting bunched up (which is unsafe).

Carseats are SO important. Most of all though, they are only good if they are installed properly. If you are ever unsure, your local fire department will look them over and help install them correctly.

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