Most people don’t think it would ever happen to them. Who could forget their own baby in the car?
One might picture a horribly neglectful and unloving parent. Brenda Nesselroad-Slaby forgot her toddler in the car, yet has been described by a friend as an incredibly caring person.
Her friend, Gwen Balasubramaniam, told ABC News, “She’s a very loving, giving devoted person.”
She was also an overwhelmed and distracted mother on Aug. 23, 2007.
Nesselroad-Slaby and her now ex-husband, Gary, had two daughters, Allison and Cecilia. Normally, Gary took 2-year-old Cecilia to the babysitter, but the routine was changed because Gary had a dentist appointment.
Nesselroad-Slaby, an assistant principal, would take Cecilia on what happened to be the first day back to school for teachers. With the sleeping Cecilia in the backseat, it was too early to drop her off with the babysitter so Nesselroad-Slaby ran into a store to get doughnuts for the teachers.
The frantic mom began thinking about all the tasks she had to get done at work. She forgot a major task unrelated to work, however.
The toddler suffered and ultimately died from heatstroke, as she was left in the car for eight hours. It was a hot August day reaching a high of 100 degrees outside.
The car possibly reached 140 degrees inside. A teacher and friend to Nesselroad-Slaby saw Cecilia in the car and ran to inform the mother unaware of her fatal mistake.
“I knew she was gone as soon as I picked her up, I knew. I remember I took her, and I ran through the parking lot with her, screaming her name,” Nesselroad-Slaby shared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
She handed her lifeless baby to a stranger who called for Nesselroad-Slaby.
Efforts to revive Cecilia were unsuccessful; she had already died.
In a police interview, according to ABC News, Nesselroad-Slaby said, “I was trying to be everything to everybody and I failed my daughter.”
Most parents cannot imagine forgetting their child in the car, but likely many can relate to the first part of this mother’s statement.
How often do you try to be everything to everybody? Let this be a “wake-up call to slow down,” as Oprah intended, when she featured this mother’s terrible experience.
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