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Child sitting on parachute: "Don't shoot me up too high, okay?"

Monday, March 8, 2010

Toddler Carjacking: News at 10:00

One Sweet Ride

You’ve all seen the red and yellow Little Tikes Cozy Coupes. You may notice when you pass some daycare centers that there is a whole fleet of these vehicles on the playground. The Little Tikes Cozy Coupe is the must-have vehicle of the toddler set, and without enough to go around, things tend to get ugly.

I remember working at a daycare center that had only one of the coveted coupes. It was a great facility, and the teachers were vigilant when it came to keeping an eye on all areas of the playground. However, just as in real life, you can’t always react quickly enough to stop a crime in progress.

One morning our little group of children (ranging from about 18 months to 2 years of age) was enjoying some fresh air when the heinous crime unfolded in slow motion before my very eyes.

One little man was going about his business in the coupe. He stopped briefly, and the moment he did, some other little man came and muscled him right out of his car. The perp opened the little yellow door, grabbed the driver by the jacket, and pulled him out of the vehicle. He then promptly got in, slammed the door, and drove away as quickly as his little Fred Flintstone feet would go.

The driver lay stunned on the ground. The diminutive innocent bystanders, who had stopped to watch the crime go down, resumed their activities.

Fortunately, the perp was promptly apprehended, and the vehicle was returned to its rightful (albeit temporarily rightful) owner. I am pleased to report that the driver suffered no injuries.

I have also seen children try to “tip” another child out of a Little Tikes Coupe. It’s like that scene from the original Superman movie, during which mini-Superman lifts a car by its rear bumper. The tipping method is not as effective in removing the occupant however, and by the time the aggressor is able to get the car off of the ground an inch or so, the law is on site to intervene.

What to do about this alarming trend in toddler crime? Does the Cozy Coupe need a panic button? Door locks? Solutions, anyone?