Bad Week for Bird Brain Moms: Car Seat Falls Off Car Roof in Phoenix; Runaway Stroller in Seattle

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Phoenix police responded near the intersection of 45th Avenue and Cholla early Saturday morning, June 2, 2012, after a child was found sitting in a car seat in the middle of the road.

Witnesses reported the mother was Catalina Clouser. Allegedly, Clouser and her boyfriend left a park around 11 p.m. to go buy beer. The boyfriend was pulled over on the way to the store and arrested for aggravated DUI after police determined he was driving impaired with the baby in the vehicle.

Allegedly Clouser was upset over her boyfriend’s arrest, and drove to the witnesses’ home and smoked more marijuana.

Clouser left the house about midnight with her baby asleep in a car seat. Clouser placed her child — still sitting in the car seat — on the roof of her car. She apparently absent-mindedly left the car seat on the roof of her car while driving home. The car seat and baby slid off of the roof and landed in the street.

When she realized her mistake, she called her friends to see if they could help look for the child. When Clouser returned to the scene, police were already investigating the found car seat and baby. Catalina Clouser explained and admitted the series of events, and was arrested for aggravated DUI and child abuse. She was transported in custody to a Phoenix jail.

Another mom was involved in an absent-minded scare Thursday, May 31, 2012, when she was talking with a group of women on the sidewalk and failed to notice that her stroller with child inside began rolling downhill (Or she might have been too far from it to catch it). The baby boy was not injured after a man driving a garbage truck stopped his truck, and jumped out to help another woman stop the stroller. See CleanScapes garbage truck driver Jeff Blackburn explain the incident on ABC News.

On-board garbage truck camera captures runaway stroller with child, and rescue.

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  1. Julie:

    It sounds like you believe that people shouldn’t get bad grades, or that there should be no losers in soccer — that everybody should be placed on a level playing field. That’s a fairly common belief… that everyone should be leveled to an equal place. Nobody’s feelings should be hurt. No reward for merit and no harsh criticism for failure. The Bird Brain column is a play on words — the Cardinal is a bird. The women weren’t directly called a bird brain — they got nominated to the bird brain column. Besides, it’s actually probably an insult to birds, because most birds — compared to these two women — probably have better survival instincts for their young, on a gray matter-per-ounce scale. The Cardinal gets a little rough sometimes because the underlying theme is about safety as a priority. Hopefully you’ll get used to it, and you’ll learn something, too.

    There are two lessons to learn from this report, and all of us should have the freedom and courage to communicate advice about harm’s way …

    1. Don’t drive impaired and don’t care for children while impaired.

    2. Don’t put ANYONE or ANYTHING VALUABLE in harms way because that cargo could be misplaced or forgotten in that potentially unsafe place. ABSOLUTELY don’t put someone helpless in a potentially harmful location.

    a. Don’t put a car seat with a child onboard on the roof of a car.
    b. Don’t leave a stroller unattended on a hill — even if turned sideways or with a brake applied.

    More than 20 years ago, a woman — just for a minute — tied the leash for her pet dog on a passenger side door handle to her car. She wasn’t drunk or impaired, but she forgot that her dog was tied to the passenger side of her car and she drove away. She was driving eastbound on Miner Street and approaching Dryden, when a group of people caught up to her and yelled for her to stop. The dog was able to run with the car for awhile, but eventually it was just dragged along with the moving car. When she realized what she had done, that woman was so distraught. The screaming, the anguish … It was horrible. And people felt terrible for that woman AND the dog, of course. The dog was unconscious, and Good Samaritans helped get the dog to a vet.

    Today, car door handles are designed so that nothing can be tied to the handle, and they are recessed so they can’t catch on something. Some people call these designs ‘idiotproof.’ The door handles used to have a closed circuit and a push button that freed the latch. So many safety factors are built into the products that we use — factors that prevent horrible things from happening to people or animals. But there is still a great responsibility for people to avoid placing themselves or valuable cargo in risky situations. We all can have bird brain moments … it’s called Human Error in the Human Factors, Ergonomics, and Safety Engineering fields. We should all look out for each other, to learn about safety issues and promote safety. The first step involves recognizing human error for what it is.

    — The Cardinal

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