Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Tragedy in Boro Park

I recently heard from my uncle (and saw on NY1) that a distant relative-of-a-relative was killed in Boro Park. I think the relative was about 11 months old. Allegedly this was by a baby sitter. Not that the baby sitter did anything, but apparently there were a whole bunch of kids (like 10) being "baby sat" by some woman. The children were apparently all in the basement, and the police currently suspect that there was a gas leak or something that asphyxiated the child and left another hospitalized.

I am not sure that there was any wrong doing on anyone's part. However there are a few things that I do want to say here. First, the state will demand an autopsy if it does not become clear soon what happened to the child. The religious family will put up a fight. I really do not know who I would side with on this one. On the one hand the state ought to be able to determine the cause of death for an 11-year old. But on the other hand I do see the family's wish to not mutilate their dead as very important too. I do not know how to figure out who has the trumping interest.

Secondly, I don't know what counts as a day care establishment in this state, but I am sure there are laws and regulations. Someone ought to make sure that if this was a day care masquerading as a baby sitter, then the owner should be punished and held responsible. If someone is taking care of a whole bunch of children (especially someone else's children) they ought to know the basics of CPR and child first-aid and have at least minimal competency. Undoubtedly this goes on a lot, without being registered. Registration means licencing and taxes - two things many in Boro Park are not concerned with. This should not continue, nor should it take a tragedy of this magnitude to change policy. All this money-under-the-table outsmarting-the-government way of life has to come to an end. The rules are there to make sure this does not happen.