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Ice cream heaven; back-over deaths

Published:Sunday | April 15, 2012 | 12:00 AM

I had a $30 ice cream cone, and for a few minutes was back in my childhood. I was visiting an acquaintance in the lower Maxfield Avenue area and was tempted into buying the smallest ice cream cone available at the little, colourfully painted 12' x 11' corner shop named Latty's Place beside the Welcome to Sunlight Street concrete sign. I really don't have a very sweet tooth (like my departed mother), but felt like indulging.

This cone consisted of a half scoop of cookies 'n' cream in a pineapple-flavoured cone. I savoured every lick for as long as I could, gently pushing down the ice cream with my tongue over and over. Finally, but yet too soon, I devoured the remains after eating through the bottom of the cone and sucking the remaining drops.

First of all, I never knew one could actually get an ice cream cone for that low a price; and second, I wasn't aware of the multitude of flavoured cones now available. I had always been used to eating a one-flavour-fit-all Beacon cone.

But that's how the children in the lower/ghetto areas get their little piece of heaven every week or two.

And that's how small entrepreneurs strive and attempt to survive in those areas, employing one or two assistants. Most also sell Tastee patties, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.

The lady who served me says she buys her cream and flavoured cones from Kremi (Caribbean Cream Limited).

Those a little better off get their kicks (licks) from Devon House I Scream, Häagen-Dazs, Crazy Jim, Nestlé, Smith & Stewart Distributors, and such the like for $120-$200 for a one-scoop cone.

One way or the other, support your favourite ice cream parlour or corner shop. Take your kids, wife, partner, or just enjoy a piece of heaven by your lonesome self. Be a kid once again.

Tragic Back-over Deaths

It is something that every parent dreads. It is reversing over a loved child. Yet it happens every now and then in Jamaica.

Some years ago, I recall enquiring about a property in the Sandhurst Crescent area that seemed to have been abandoned to ruinate. I was told that the owner had backed over his child years ago and had left the house almost immediately, virtually leaving everything behind as he couldn't bear to continue living in Jamaica, much less in that house.

Most of us can relate to having a heavy, sinking feeling, a panic attack, when reversing and wondering, Where is little Margaret or Mercedes or Johnny?

Brian Haas of The (Nashville) Tennessean of March 2, 2012, writes:

"An estimated four US families each week bury a loved one - often a child - who was backed over by a vehicle and killed. Safety advocates say such tragedies can largely be prevented by imposing new car-safety rules that were expected to be implemented this week, but postponed. Those rules would have mandated that every new car and truck under 10,000 pounds built after September 2014 include a rear-view camera system. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates those changes would save 95 to 112 lives every year and prevent more than 7,000 injuries..

"Janette Fennell, president and founder of the Kansas City-based, says vehicles, particularly modern SUVs, have woeful rear visibility. In one experiment, her group was able to fit 62 children behind an SUV without the driver being able to see any of them."

Jamaican Situation

Senior Superintendent of Police Radcliffe Lewis, head of the police Traffic Division, told me: "Back-over deaths fall under the wider heading of death by misadventure in Jamaica and average one per year, with injuries numbering probably 30 times more."

My suspicion is that the latter statistic is probably understated because of most injuries being considered minor or owing to the sheer embarrassing nature of the accident. But remember: Every close shave could have resulted in death.

SSP Lewis pointed to the tragic case of a daughter of that famous Jamaican cricketer/broadcaster whose unfortunate death is fresh in our minds. I get that awful sinking feeling just thinking about it. My heart still feels it for her parents.

Safety Tips for Parents

The following is taken largely from 'Preventing Back-overs in America's Driveways', published by the NHTSA in the US.

While cameras for reversing are the long-term answer, for the majority of us who don't have this modern marvel, safety experts advise employing the following strategies to help reduce the risk of a back-over tragedy occurring:

Ensure your children are properly supervised at all times, especially wherever motor vehicles might be present.

Teach children not to play in, under, or around vehicles - ever.

Always assume children could be present and carefully check the street, driveway, and area around your vehicle before backing out.

Avoid making your driveway a 'playground'. If you do allow children in this area, make sure that it's only when there are no vehicles present. To further protect children who may be outside playing, separate the driveway from the roadway with a physical barrier to prevent any cars from entering.

To prevent curious children from ever putting a vehicle in gear, never leave vehicles running, and keep all vehicles, even those in driveways and garages, locked up tight.

When backing up, always know where all children are and have them stay in your full view and well away from your vehicle.

Look behind you as you back out S-L-O-W-L-Y, with your windows rolled down to listen for children who may have dashed behind your vehicle suddenly. Be prepared to stop!

If you're driving an SUV or truck, remember that the blind spot behind your vehicle can be especially large. Use extreme care whenever you back up.

Take your time in reversing, observe the above rules, and don't let tragedy overcome you. It's worth a few more seconds of your time.

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