Child endangerment or innocent mistake?

December 12, 2017 Parenting & Kids

In a case out of Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, today, a mother was in court and plead not guilty to charges that she endangered her 9 year old child, when she put the child on the roof of her vehicle to hold down a small plastic wading pool.

The mother, Amber  Schmunk, 29 who lives in Grafton, WI, appeared in circuit court before the Hon. Sandy Williams for her arraignment on felony charges of second-degree recklessly endangering safety. If convicted, she could receive a maximum 5 year prison term.

According to the criminal complaint, on September 9 of this year, the mother had gone to pick  up a plastic wading pool. Thinking that the pool was too big to fit inside her van, she placed in the roof of her vehicle and placed her son up there too, to hold it down in place, for what was to have been a short ride to her sister’s house. Another motorist spotted the mother driving the street with the child on top of her van and reported it to local law enforcement. Two police cars stopped the mother a few minutes later after she had dropped the pool off at her sister’s.

Ms. Schmunk told law enforcement that her father had let her do things similar when she was 9 years old. She further stated that  she had her son strapped down and secured on top of the pool and the roof ride only lasted some 20 to 30 seconds before she moved her son back inside the vehicle and wedged the pool inside the van as well. The motorist who spotted Schmunk told police she had followed her for a block before the mother stopped her van and took her child off the roof of the vehicle.  Her next appearance in court will be on January 16, 2018.

So, do you think there was anything wrong with her placing the child on top of her van and driving for a block or two? Does the mother need to be criminally charged? Of course, everyone is grateful that nothing happened and the child is o.k. However, what would have happened if the child would have flown off the roof of the vehicle and been seriously hurt. Would then people argue that this was innocent and she’s a good mother and doesn’t deserve to go to prison for five years?