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Why the Madeleine critics make me mad

(337 Posts)
mumofteens Sat 18-Aug-07 16:30:48

It makes me mad to still be hearing pompous, judgemental, illogical people criticising the parents of Madeleine about their decision to eat nearby while the children were in the room, and even going so far as to say that social services should be involved.

Here's why. If you have ever been to a Mark Warner resort you will know that there is (or used to be) a baby sitting service available whereby a nanny walks around the floors of the hotel while you dine in the restaurant somewhere else in the hotel. We have used this ourselves. Now, if someone was determined to abduct a child, they could walk into the hotel and take a child from the unlocked room while the nanny is walking on other floors, or is inside a room comforting a crying child. Like most hotels, people come and go without reception turning a hair. Security is usually incredibly lax in hotels and no-one knows who is staying there, who has come in just for a meal or drink and who is a friend of guests. Equally, someone could let themselves in/out of a downstairs window or back entrance if they did not want to walk past reception.

Are the critics suggesting that all the parents who have used such services should have their children taken away by social services?

Ditto with the baby listening services that people use in hotels when reception listen in for crying babies. A person of criminal intent could let themselves into the room, (assuming it had been left unlocked due to a fear of fire) and abduct a child.

You could be asleep in you house and someone could break in and take a baby/child while you were asleep. You could be sitting in the garden while you child was asleep in the house and the same thing could happen. Equally, in my experience, schools and hospitals are often extraordinarily lax about security with people coming and going. One of my daughters had to spend quite a bit of time in hospital and the staff were incredibly laissez-faire about security with hoards of people traipsing in and out of the ward day and night. Someone could easily have taken my child while I nipped off to the loo.

You could watch your child 24 hours a day and something bad could happen - a wierdo could grab them and hurt them etc. Someone was attacked in the park by a wierdo recently - if that had been a child, would the parents have been deemed neligent for allowing their children to walk (with them) in the park?

The point is - if someone is determined to snatch a baby/child, or do something horrible they will find a way to do it.

In terms of risk assessment, the most dangerous place for your child to be is near the road. Yet we all happily put our children in cars every day. Every single week children are killed in cars on the roads, driven by law-abiding, caring parents.

There is also a danger associated with babysitters. We used one for a stage who came highly recommended (she was a nanny at the creche at the prestigious Harbour Club in Chelsea). In fact, she was a criminal with a huge history of stealing. Another friend used one who again came with glowing references but who was in fact a serious drug-addict. I would rather have my children on their own in the house than locked up in a house with a drug addict/criminal.

There is also a danger of putting a child in a creche. One of mine was once badly attacked by another child and could have lost her eye. This would not have happened if she had not been in the creche.

See what I mean? There are risks associated with every single thing we do/don't do. In the context of the big bad world, the possibility of accidents and the reality that not all people looking after children are necessarily very responsible (and that other children can cause accidents), having the children sleeping nearby on their own might have seemed like the lesser of a number of evils.

Having said all that, I do not want to scare people. I do not think that there are bogeymen around every corner. We give our children quite a bit of freedom and do not worry. The main thing I worry about is road accidents as statistically this is by far the most dangerous place to be.

kitsandbits Sat 18-Aug-07 16:33:40

Havent even read your post,

but this has been done to death! Really!

ScoobyDooooo Sat 18-Aug-07 16:37:46

I have read your post & i totally agree with you but i don't know what the answers are

SueW Sat 18-Aug-07 16:58:06

I wonder if Mark Warner have changed their baby listening practice in the light of recent events.

The risk thing is difficult. I wouldn't have done what the McCann's did wrt to hotel room but I do allow my 10yo to go horse riding every week which is a high risk sport. She was in A&E last week as a result.

According to this article most accidents occur in the home so clearly it's safer to be out than in!!

noddyholder Sat 18-Aug-07 17:25:24

People are entitled to their opinions.They left three very small children alone in a room in a strange environment with the door unlocked.That is negligent to some people and parents having their own time for others.

divastrop Sat 18-Aug-07 17:46:35

i am starting to suspect that some people are coming on this site to post things about this case just to keep people discussing it

pagwatch Sat 18-Aug-07 18:12:33

Only looked here as my brain really has gone on hols and iwas momentarily flummoxed about who exactly was having a pop at my daughter.

So tiny in the scheme of things but I wonder how long before her name ceases to have that "ah, just like ...." quality.
I always felt sorry for people who called their child things like Jordan before it gets steamrollered by one of those people who are only know by their first name. And this name has sad overtones rather than good old fashioned naffness.

LittleBellatrixLeBoot Sat 18-Aug-07 18:14:01

Madeleine is not a naff name, how can you say such a thing.

MaryAnnSingleton Sat 18-Aug-07 18:26:36

it's a lovely name but now associated with this sad case

UCM Sat 18-Aug-07 18:27:56

Think pagwatch has a daughter called Madeleine so wasn't saying it's naff as such??

pagwatch Sat 18-Aug-07 18:28:42

I don't think it is a naff name or wouldn't have called my daughter Madeleine !
sorry for confusion. really do have some idits head on today

Reallytired Sat 18-Aug-07 19:33:36

"There is also a danger of putting a child in a creche. One of mine was once badly attacked by another child and could have lost her eye. This would not have happened if she had not been in the creche. "

I think the suggestion that a three year old is safer on their own in a house than in a creche is silly to put it mildly.

I was told that the home is one of the most dangerous places. Young children can die from burns, falling down stairs, drowning in the bath, choking on vomit, electrocution. Abroad the risks are often higher because safety standards vary in different countries.

4000 people a year die in their homes as the result of accidents and 2.7 million people end up in A and E.

The McCanns know that they were extremely stupid leaving three small children unattended. They do not need to be told or have the fact rubbed in. They have lost their daughter.

Adductions are extremely rare, but Madeline could have easily let herself out the flat and drowned in a nearby swimming pool.

mumofteens Sun 19-Aug-07 09:03:42

I am not saying a creche is necessarily safer - you have twisted my argument around to suit your own agenda which is to "blame" the parents for what happened.

I have suggested that there are risks associated with ANY course of action. The issues raised by this case relate to child safety, a subject close to every parent's heart, hence its ongoing interest which is why people keep talking about it.

I do not agree that the parents were "extremely stupid". What about the parents whose children are killed on the roads each year (3,472 children killed each year on the roads in the UK). Are they also "extremely stupid" for allowing their children to be on the roads?

The point I am making is that EVERY course of action has a risk associated with it - even a creche or a nanny.

escape Sun 19-Aug-07 09:06:52

""EVERY course of action has a risk associated with it ""

TRUE. next.

totaleclipse Sun 19-Aug-07 09:11:09

Whether what the parents did was right or wrong, they did not deserve to have thier daughter taken from them, I just hope she is returned soon and thier heartache stops.

LittleBellatrixLeBoot Sun 19-Aug-07 14:50:08

I think the McCann critics make me mad because they are contributing to an atmosphere of total hostility to parents and parenting in this country.

If you look on any website, overhear any casual conversation, there is a callous, ignorant, judgemental attitude to all aspects of parenting. Be it from the ignorance about the mechanics and desirability of breastfeeding, to tantruming toddlers in supermarkets, to pester power, to marauding teenagers.

Never have parents been so harshly judged, so lacking in solidarity and support from the rest of the community, and so isolated from each other. There is so much focus on the hard work of it, and so little on the joy of it. It is so, so depressing and so unhealthy. I HATE it.

Thank You.

Gobbledigook Sun 19-Aug-07 14:56:01

The difference, for me, is between avoidable and unavoidable risk, or reasonable and unreasonable risk.

It's pretty difficult not to go out and use the road, whether on foot or in the car - it's just something you have to do to get through life isn't it?

Leaving your children in a hotel room while you go out for dinner is, imo, avoidable and unreasonable.

They certainly don't deserve for this to have happened to them, they didn't ask for it, it's not their fault. It's just a risk they really didn't need to take.

ELF1981 Sun 19-Aug-07 15:04:41

I would not use a MW service or leave my child on her own while I ate nearby.
A family holiday is just that, a holiday taken as a family.
I am going away with my two sisters, their partners, my parents, my DH and DD. We will either eat in, take turns to stay at home with her while others eat, or take us with her.

Yes, there are risks in every day life, but this is the way I look at it:

If I am in the car, I am driving to the speed limit or below, taking into account the conditions of the day and the road, totally focused and driving safely, if some tosser side swipes me, or runs into me and me / my daughter is hurt, it's a horrible situation but I would know I did everything in my power to be safe and it was a tragic accident.

If I leave her in the house, by herself, nobody around even if I am only a short distance away, and she was taken/ hurt in any way, it would be MY fault because I was not there to protect her.

I am in no way saying the McCann's deserve what happened to them, but I can understand why there is such a lot of critism of them. Which in no way undermines my hope that their daughter will be returned alive and well.

noddyholder Sun 19-Aug-07 15:05:58

Leaving three children under 4 asleep in a hotel apartment alone with an unlocked door out of sight and out of sound facing a road and with a swimming pool outside?While you go out with friends after they have been in a creche til 6 and you have had the whole day to do your own thing?Is there any parent who thinks this is ok?Or am I a bit strange?

Bubble99 Sun 19-Aug-07 15:07:41

What gdg said.

Aimsmum Sun 19-Aug-07 15:08:24

Message withdrawn

LittleBellatrixLeBoot Sun 19-Aug-07 15:10:59

No quite often GdG, people take their children in cars when they could quite easily walk or use public transport. They choose to take that avoidable risk, because driving rather than walking appears to have become the default mode of transport among so many people under 50. They pretend to themselves that they have to drive, but they don't, it's a lifestyle choice. They're quite happy to risk their children's lives unnecessarily. But we don't berate them and criticise them for unnecessarily putting their children's lives at risks because a) on the whole, it's a risk we take ourselves and we'd have to re-think our own lifestyle (I don't have a Mark Warner lifestyle so can criticise the McCann's without having to look at myself) and b) we have decided that it is an acceptable risk to drive everywhere unnecessarily. But why should it be any more acceptable than leaving your kids alone? Just because we've arbitrarily decided so?

ELF1981 Sun 19-Aug-07 15:11:16

TBH this will be done to death while the papers insist of having reports on the front page when nothing has happened. Went to my mums today and they had yesterday's mirror with the headlines of "we have told the twins" and a page full of how they told the twins and what they said. Thursday iirc when I looked online at some news reports, about three papers had them as the headlines.

ELF1981 Sun 19-Aug-07 15:12:18

LittleBella - you could quite easily get knocked down crossing the road to the bus, so IMO the same as driving a car really.

Bubble99 Sun 19-Aug-07 15:16:48

LBLB. I don't see how you can compare the risks of driving a car with children in it, to - leaving three small children alone, out of sight and earshot, in an unlocked apartment, next to a main road and swimming pool.

I really don't.

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