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Baby Locked in Safe: the Truth Behind the Headline 

Resist the urge to jump to conclusions

baby locked in safe news story

I was in the dentist chair when I heard about the baby locked inside a safe at a Niagara Falls hotel. Like most people, I gasped. My jaw clenched even tighter (I was in the dentist chair, after all) and my stomach dropped out.

What kind of parents would do such a thing? 

Turns out, the incident that horrified the masses was an accident - a hide and seek game between siblings gone awry. The older child didn't know how to open the safe once the infant got trapped inside. 

Parents immediately called upon hotel staff at the Howard Johnson for help. The child stayed conscious and communicated with her parents throughout the ordeal. 

Following an interview, the Canadian authorities absolved the Brooklyn, N.Y., parents of criminality in this case. Lapses in attention can happen to the best of us, in the blink of an eye. I know this, because a toddler I once babysat got her chubby thighs wedged between the bars of a baby gate.  

It all happened in a nanosecond. My breath caught. Panic. Sick panic. 

I wasn't some neglectful, awful person. Still, my skin crawled. If anyone had walked in at that moment, they'd come to said conclusion in a heartbeat. 

Fortunately I managed to wriggle her legs free, and we both learned an important lesson that day. 

Are there lessons to be gleaned in this case? Of course. Like maybe hotel safes shouldn't be accessible to young children. Like maybe parents keep a close eye on your kids even in self-contained hotel rooms...  

But by far the overriding lesson: resist the urge to automatically think the worst of parents, when the truth behind the headline is seldom as morbid or malicious as it seems.

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