The father who left his infant in the car at the El Cerrito Bart station last week will not be charged with a crime. Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Harold Jewett said Monday, "It was readily apparent from the beginning: It was a tragic accident, and the only real issue was that the father made a terrible mistake -- one he will undoubtedly carry with him for the rest of his life. There was no benefit we can see to issuing a prosecution."

An article in the Chronicle on Sunday mentions Janette Fennell, a former San Francisco resident who tracks child car deaths for her Kansas nonprofit group, Kids and Cars. Fennell says such infant deaths started occurring in the early '90s, when laws were passed requiring that infants be placed in the backseats of cars, facing the rear, as a way to prevent airbag injuries. Fennell explains that "exhaustion, work stress, routine change, or a different commute" are all factors in such cases.

An eye-opening article in the Washington Post in March also highlighted Fennel and how for years she has been lobbying for a law requiring back-seat sensors in new cars that would sound an alarm if a child's weight remained in the seat after the ignition is turned off. The law almost became part of The 2008 Cameron Gulbransen Kids' Transportation Safety Act, but sponsors withdrew it, fearing they couldn't get it past a powerful auto manufacturers' lobby.