Have you seen ‘Shooting Dogs’ (also known as ‘Beyond the Gates’), the film about the 1994 Rwandan genocide? There’s a harrowing scene with a Tutsi mother and her young baby, hiding in long grasses from Hutu militia. The soldiers, armed with machetes and on a killing spree, are disbanding when they are halted by the wail of a baby. The woman urgently tries to hush her infant, who is too tiny to have any comprehension of the mortal danger his crying places him and his mother in.

The film is based on a true story, though I do not know whether this specific event actually took place or was merely included as a metaphor we can all relate to. Suffice to say, the scene plays out the horrifying reality of the militia’s regime. They were pitiless, and it was a truly disturbing portrayal of brutality.

I watched the film some years ago and it has never left me. My heart was in my mouth during that scene, and I was willing the woman to do the only thing I could imagine may have saved her and her child: I always wondered why she didn’t put her breast to her son’s mouth – surely it would have saved them?

Alas, moments later, it was too late: they were both gone.

We are all too aware of the inhumanity in the world around us; the repugnant acts of depravity such as that I describe above. Thank goodness we don’t, in general, have to contend with such wickedness in our country.

As a nation, by and large we are compassionate; considerate; caring. The very idea of this level of violence, particularly towards babies and young children, is appalling. We are uniformly sickened and bewildered that there are fellow humans among us who are able to carry out these senseless atrocities.

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So how shocked would you be if I suggested that on a daily basis, I and many others just like me, are made to feel a small degree of that fear for our offspring? That you, potentially, are the cause of it? That though the intention may not be there, the threat is?

When I get in my car to take my baby girl swimming, or go shopping, or to the doctors, I do not expect to contend with selfish/inconsiderate/plain idiotic drivers; drivers who put their own, and – more importantly – my daughter’s safety at risk. Yet this is the reality for parents all over the country, day in, day out.

Have You Thought About Killing a Baby Today?
Consider your stopping distance.

Be uncomfortably honest with yourself (if not me) for just a moment – are you guilty of a lack of patience on the roads? Moreover, do you get frustrated with slow drivers and deliberately tailgate? No? Could it be, perhaps, that if the car ahead of you performed an emergency stop you may inadvertently be too close to avoid a collision?

And if any of the above are applicable to you – do those cars sometimes have a sticker in their rear window to inform you there’s a small child mere meters from the potentially lethal weapon piece of machinery you’re operating?

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The disparity between the situation which unfolds in the film and tailgating is vast, granted. But bear with me…

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Have you ever stopped to consider that you are, essentially, terrorising the parent of that child? Because it’s entirely natural that when our baby’s life is in jeopardy – however unlikely the danger – we feel intimidated and threatened; because however unlikely, you are, in fact, putting an innocent’s life at risk. And we feel that the person responsible is merciless and contemptible; we feel terrorised.

But that’s nothing compared to how you will feel should an accident occur while you’re driving too close to us.

Should the worst happen, you will have to live with yourself and the ghastly reality of what you have taken from us. You will have to live with the knowledge that you deprived a child from fulfilling their potential and leaving their mark on the world.

So, once again – have you thought about killing a baby today? Please do, before it’s too late.

It’s very unlike me to write something so morbid. But if it results in just one person being more considerate of other road users, then I’ve succeeded and it’s been a worthwhile exercise.

Please drive aware.

Have You Thought About Killing a Baby Today?
Please don’t drive so close.

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Newborns and babies

An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is an experienced breastfeeding advocate, and expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.

31 Comments

  1. Justsayingmum Reply

    Title!!! Was wary to start reading but excellent post and with my eldest daughter coming up to driving age it’s truly terrifying … Huff will love this one!

    • Kate Reply

      I really wondered about the title. But it seems to be doing the trick in getting people to read. I had already decided to put this on Huff! ?

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment.

  2. Mommy's Little Princesses Reply

    This post really had me on edge reading it and the more I continued to read it I found out exactly where you were going with it. And it’s true there are so very many thoughtless and dangerous drivers out there who never stop to think about the damage there action can cause. Well this post can be considered pretty full on I think that it’s exactly what is needed as it makes you stop and think, which is a good thing. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.xx

    • Kate Reply

      Thanks so much for commenting. If my writing has that effect then I’m doing something right! X

  3. While I totally agree with this post I kind of wish I hadn’t read it, I have a driving phobia which I am trying to overcome right now as I have two disabled children and am a single parent so not driving is just stupid! My biggest fear is that I will put myself or others at risk. I have the money sitting here waiting to book lessons but I can’t summon up the strength.
    I hope more people read this blog and drive safer which may in turn make it easier for me lol #KCACOLS

    • Kate Reply

      Oh dear, I’m sorry! But I think it’s so important and I also hope others read this and take it on board.

      Good luck with learning to drive, and thanks for commenting. X

  4. Becky @ Educating Roversi Reply

    Wow, that’s a title that grabs your attention! Excellently written and so very true. I hope people take note.

  5. Well said hun! I hate the fear I feel now when driving with my baby – the fear we’ll encounter some idiot driver! Really powerful post thanks for sharing #bigpinklink

    • Kate Reply

      Tell me about it. I’ve turned into such a cautious driver since having Pixie. And much calmer – it takes a lot to ruffle my feathers these days!

  6. People are so impatient on the roads now. I’ve been driving for 20 years and being a parent does make me more cautious especially with the boys in the back. However, the amount of bad driving, people overtaking dangerously or tailgating just to get somewhere a few seconds earlier is getting worse.

    I always joke to myself that there’d better be a woman giving birth on the back seat of that car to make the driver be so wreckless and want to drive so fast! (that quells my irritation – it’s easy when you’re in a bad mood to pay it forward and terrorise the next driver to make yourself feel better, never a good move!).

    • Kate Reply

      I know, it’s just awful. I wish there were a way to monitor and prevent such dangerous driving. It’s amazing there are not more accidents on the roads really.

  7. Powerful stuff. I am an extremely nervous driver – I have never felt comfortable behind the wheel and am cautious as a result. I dislike driving with the children even more. It is probably because of people who do the kinds of things you mention too though. Beautifully written and raises an issue we should all think about. #KCACOLS

    • Kate Reply

      Thank you for your compliment. I hope it may help raise a little awareness, sadly it seems the only people who have read it so far are those who agree with me!

  8. Allyson Greene Reply

    So well done! As someone who almost died in a car accident, I am acutely aware of how others drive. My hubby is terrible about how he drives, been that way since he took a second job delivering for a while, and I am constantly on him! I will be showing him your post, maybe you can get through when I can’t! #KCACOLS

    • Kate Reply

      Wow, I’m sorry to hear that. Well, that will be some accolade if what I’ve written changes your husband’s mind! Good luck, let me know how it goes!

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