The times do change, as an episode of Emergency! that aired today shows us. This one had a brief scene where the paramedics were hailed from a parking lot as they were returning to the station. It seemed a small child was non-responsive in the backseat of a locked car that had its windows rolled up tight. One of the women who had gathered around the car said that the child was like that an hour before when she had arrived and now she was concerned. That's when she saw the paramedics driving by.
John and Roy pondered the situation for a few moments and then John got a coat hanger and eventually managed to unlock the passenger door. The bystanders all wandered off as it turns out the toddler was just fast asleep. Then the mother showed up, and get this, she ripped on the paramedics for breaking into her car and they just sheepishly took it. They left the scene before the police, whom they did summon via radio earlier, even arrive. End of story.
Wow. No way that scene gets written like that today. The writer would get laughed right out of television. Maybe even sent for psychological evaluation. And that mom? That mom would find herself cuffed and in a squad car on her way to be booked faster than the first syllable of outrage could escape her lips.
Not about 40 years ago though, and you know what? That's true. The scenario that reran today seems a little extreme, but I have early memories, like age four or five and on, of one or the other of my parents leaving us little kids rolling around the backseat or "way back" of the station wagon while they went into some store to shop.
(Haha...I bet somebody reads this and wonders why we weren't at least strapped into our car seats. Bwahahahaha! We didn't even wear seat belts back in the 1960s except for the very rare times we might sit up in the front seat.)
Anyway, things have definitely changed. I can't remember the last time I've seen small kids by themselves in a car, though I guess the occasional incident still makes the news every once in a while. It has probably gone a bit too much to the other extreme, but largely this is one of those changes that's for the better. I never want to read another story of some infant dying in a locked car.