6-Months-Pregnant Mom Jailed for Letting Kids Wait in Locked, Air-Conditioned Car a Few Minutes

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Okay, quick facts, since we are all familiar with scenarios like this already. According to reporter Glen Luke Flannagan in The State, a newspaper in South Carolina:

A Lexington County woman who police say left two children alone in a vehicle Friday afternoon told law enforcement that the truck was running, locked and air conditioned.

The sheriff’s department declined to specify what danger the children were in during the Friday incident when asked by The State on Tuesday.

Um…maybe because they were not IN any real world danger?

But when the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department charged Maria Rivas-Velazques, 34, with two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child, the deputy cited the heat index – 91 degrees at the time of the incident – in the arrest warrants. The warrants say that placed the children “in a reasonable risk of harm” that could affect their health and safety.

Rivas-Velazquez told the deputy that her two children, a 5-year-old girl and 23-month-old boy, were in the air conditioned truck for three to five minutes while she went into Lowe’s on Augusta Road near West Columbia. That’s according to the sheriff’s department incident report.

Let’s insist that when cops say that a child is in harm’s way they PROVE it. Because there is ZERO PROOF that a child in an air-conditioned car for a few minutes is at risk of anything other than boredom. If kids or the rest of us died after a few minutes in an un-moving, air-conditioned car, we’d all be dead the first time we came to a railroad crossing and a freight train was passing.

The man who called police about the children flagged down the deputy and pointed out the truck, the incident report says. He told the deputy that from the time he spotted the vehicle to the time the mother exited Lowe’s, the children were in the vehicle about 10 to 15 minutes. He told the deputy that the girl was jumping from the front of the vehicle to the back, playing, and that the younger child was strapped into a car seat.

I know some people will say, “The girl could have put the car into gear!” While this is unlikely (and perhaps impossible, depending on the vehicle), let’s just say we all agreed that, for some reason, this WAS a bad decision on the mom’s part.

Is it criminal?

The mom was thrown in JAIL for a night.

She is six months pregnant.

Though it is certainly doubtful she will receive the maximum sentence, if some judge decided to, she could go to prison for 10 years. 

She is being treated like Public Enemy #1 for running an errand that was somewhere between 3 and — at the very, very most — 15 minutes.

In a follow up article about the South Carolina case, Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said that:

…his deputies might issue a warning or press a criminal charge depending on specific circumstances. Catching a parent stepping out of a vehicle, on the verge of leaving a kid, is one thing – but if someone has abandoned a child, even for a short time, that’s another matter.

Does it really appear to anyone that the mom ABANDONED her kids?  The dictionary says to abandon is “to forsake utterly; desert.”

“If we have to go into the store to find them, or have to extract the child, they have to answer for that,” Foster said.
Extract? Such drama! These were kids in car whose mom came right back, not kids who were thrown down a well.  
So let’s think about the big picture.

Thursday night I interviewed Rebecca Traister about her bestseller, “All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation.” It was an event at Hunter College. One of the points I found most fascinating in her book was that once the Industrial Revolution started making housekeeping just a smidgen easier for women, suddenly advice manuals started popping up to make it harder again. Writes Traister:

Everyday tasks were made more time-consuming and taxing, so as to better fill the days of women who might otherwise grow restive and attempt to leave the house. As Godey’s Lady’s Book helpfully informed readers, “There is more to be learned about pouring out tea and coffee than most young ladies are willing to believe.”

And now apparently there’s more to be learned about running a quick errand.

In an earlier era — the one most of us grew up in — moms were allowed to let their kids wait in the car a few minutes. But now, for reasons that seem suspiciously unfounded (considering that more children die in parking lots than they do in parked cars, and about 10 times more die in car accidents, yet we don’t arrest parents for driving their kids or for taking them across the parking lot), suddenly no mom can let her kid wait in the car. A quick chore has become a time-suck.

This obsession with taking kids out of the car on every single errand is not officially “anti-women.” It just happens to allow the cops to arrest moms (and sometimes, yes, dads) for making a rational decision that allows them to get more done.

We are criminalizing convenience.

The lengths we’ll go to turn normal, decent parents into monsters is quite stunning. But, as I learned from Traister’s book, also not at all new. – L.

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Maria Rivas-Velazques was thrown in jail, 6 months pregnant, for letting her kids wait in an air conditioned car a few minutes. Our country has gone INSANE.

Six months’ pregnant Maria Rivas-Velazques was thrown in jail for letting her kids wait in an air conditioned car a few minutes. That certainly made the whole family a lot safer! 

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61 Responses to 6-Months-Pregnant Mom Jailed for Letting Kids Wait in Locked, Air-Conditioned Car a Few Minutes

  1. Jessica June 25, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    Again, not surprisingly, this is a mom who is an ethnic minority. I have no idea whether she’s American-born or anything, but what I DO know is that when police see Latino or Black children (or sometimes, poor White children), they make a whole lot more assumptions about ther parents than when they see a child who looks like mine.

    Does she have a GoFundMe or anything? She will have legal bills and I’d love to help her pay them.

  2. Paul June 25, 2016 at 7:51 am #

    From the followup article by Flanagan:

    “When should concerned citizens get involved? Dhunjishah said it’s crucial to be vigilant – even when a vehicle seems to be air conditioned.

    “People should call 911 immediately and follow whatever 911 says,” Dhunjishah said.

    Ah, turning citizens into informants against their fellow citizens. How very Cultural Revolution.

  3. Paul June 25, 2016 at 8:07 am #

    Here’s the article I referenced above.

    http://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article85548222.html

  4. elizabeth June 25, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    Do these people think that a five year old is incapable of unlocking the car? Child safety locks were invented on the notion that a small child could easily unlock and open the door while the car was moving! Seriously, this is stupid. And arent there laws in place that PREVENT law enforcement from throwing a pregnant lady in jail? She did nothing wrong! Leave good, honest people who seem less than perfect alone!

  5. Joan June 25, 2016 at 11:42 am #

    On a 90+ degree day, if it were just a toddler strapped in a seat and not an active five year old as well,, I might have called the police. It’s impossible to tell from the outside if the AC is running, and babies strapped into the backseat are the most likely category for having been forgotten rather than intentionally left. A child stuck in a car in that kind of heat can suffer damage or death in a surprisingly short time. BUT, if the police came and determined that the kid was fine, the parent knew he was there and planned for his comfort, that should be the end of it. Jail time is insane.

  6. Sue June 25, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    Meanwhile, real criminals are on the lose. Honestly, the kids were probably more comfortable in the AIR CONDITUONED car.

  7. Jessica June 25, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    I agree, Joan– a child (a baby; the younger child was under 2) in a car on a day when the weather is in the 90s can be in danger pretty quickly. The problem here is with the police: police culture at the moment dictates that everyone is a criminal, and officers should handcuff people rather than determining what is actually going on.

    I think it’s fine that a bystander called the police. The police should have arrived, checked to see that the children were okay, and maybe given the mother a lecture. Arresting her is absolutely insane.

  8. Sue June 25, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    *conditioned

  9. elizabeth June 25, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    “All cars MUST have special locks for kids because the child could open the door while the car is moving.”

    “Oh nos! The poor little girl/boy (same age as child the locks were made for) is locked in the car alone! We must help him/her because they are obviously incapable of unlocking and opening the door!”

    Do they really think that whether or not the car is in motion affects if a child is capable of opening the door? Yeesh.

  10. JKP June 25, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    From the linked article:
    “South Carolina law does not have a statute dealing with children left unattended in vehicles, according to Michelle Dhunjishah, director of the Children’s Law Center at the University of South Carolina. In situations such as the incident on Friday, officers have to use discretion to determine if a child is in danger. ”

    So basically, the officers failed to use discretion, and there was no law she was technically violating (by leaving the car running or the keys in the ignition as some other states have laws forbidding). Because the officers *thought* the kids could possibly be in danger because of the heat (even though the car was air conditioned, and she wasn’t gone long enough for it to be a danger even if the air conditioner failed), she was arrested because of what the cops *thought*, and NOT the actual reality of the situation, which is that the kids were probably at higher risk crossing the parking lot than being left in the car.

  11. James Pollock June 25, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    “Do they really think that whether or not the car is in motion affects if a child is capable of opening the door? Yeesh.”

    No, they think that whether or not the ignition switch is in the ON position affects if a child is capable of opening the door. However, child-safety locks are only present on the back doors of 4-door vehicles, and the article here keeps describing the vehicle as a “truck”. So… unclear if child-safety locks are even present. If they were, they were engaged, though.

  12. JKP June 25, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

    From the linked followup article:
    ““I can’t condone leaving kids unattended in a hot car – even with air conditioning running,” Cobb-Hunter said. “I have to say that for the record. The other piece of this, to me, suggests we need to look at childcare and the lack thereof. What it suggests to me is, perhaps, this mother had no options for childcare.”

    First off, the car is still labeled as a “hot car” – “even with the air conditioning running.” Because temperature is of course dependent on a parent also being in the car for the air conditioning to count as making it a “cool car.” Also, when the car starts off cold, it doesn’t immediately become hot the second you exit even if you do turn the A/C off. In fact, when returning to my car after short errands like the one described in the article, I frequently find that the lingering cool from the previously running air conditioner makes the car still cooler than the outside temperature on my return. And I often wait in the car myself when I’m with someone else running errands, and am still comfortable on their return. And it’s easily over 90 degrees here right now. But a car doesn’t go from 68 to over 90 in just a 10 minute errand.

    Secondly, this idea that parents have to have childcare anytime they go to the grocery store or put gas in the car is ridiculous. Parents do sleep at night and take their eyes off their children for a full 8 hours. Some children have been kidnapped from their beds at night while their parents slept. Is society now going to demand that parents have childcare while they sleep at night, so their children never have an unsupervised moment?

    “In 2015, a 4-year-old was found in a neighbor’s unattended, unlocked car. He was South Carolina’s first and only hyperthermia death for the year. This year, no children have died from hyperthermia in South Carolina.”

    So 0 deaths this year and 1 death last year, which couldn’t have been prevented by forbidding parents leaving kids in cars, because this child climbed into the neighbor’s car without the parents knowing. It seems like this isn’t a problem that needs to be addressed in the first place, just a rare tragedy.

  13. C. S. P. Schofield June 25, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

    So, we, as a people, take a resposibility we didn’t have before (for the children of people who foolishly leave them in dangeros environments) AND assume a responsibility for families broken up by busybodies.

    Gee, thanks. Like I didn’t have enough responsibilities.

    If a child dies because mommy left it in amcar-pben, this is a tragdy. But if a family is broken up and children molestd in foster homes because some buttinski decided to call 911, that is on me, as a citizen.

    We need to istitute some method of discouraging buttinskis.

    Tarring and feathering comes to mind. Hanging is probably excessive.

    For a first offense.

  14. Momma June 25, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

    This is worthy of a fine, but not arrest. Here is a better reason not to leave your kids in a car with the engine running – cars can get stolen like this. Happened to my grown sister in college, the car she was sleeping in while her friend ran inside the apartment was stolen – with my sister in it. She was slapped around but thank God not raped. While hot cars are getting all the attention there are plenty of reasons not to leave a child alone in a running vehicle.

  15. Buffy June 25, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

    @Momma, very VERY few car thieves want to add kidnapping to their list of felonies.

  16. SKL June 25, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

    We’re punishing convenience, but more than that.

    We’re punishing women for being willing to take on a challenge. You know, the balance challenge that nobody really gets right all the time.

    So many people’s response tends to be, “if it’s hard to take your kids everywhere with you, you shouldn’t have had kids” (or you should have had fewer or you should have been married first or whatever.) Only people who have an extremely cushy life should have kids. Except that even those people find parenting challenging at times. Probably nobody should have kids.

    I agree that child care options are often part of the problem, but even given more options, something that isn’t dangerous isn’t wrong.

  17. Monica Ulloa June 25, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

    I don’t know how the law works there but where I live you’re not allowed to leave children that age unattended at all…locked car, locked house, nothing. They’re not old enough to respond appropriately to emergencies, hence the endangerment. In a situation such as this a mother would rarely get actual jail time but I don’t object to her spending the night in jail. I think that, with the number of pedophiles that are out there today, leaving your babies like that is just plain stupid. It’s not a 7-11…this is a Lowe’s…there’s zero visibility. Even with visibility, if someone came after her kids, the best she would be able to do is give a description of the assailant…there’s no way she would reach them in time to stop anything. This was just plain lazy. Also, the article doesn’t say how this lazy, stupid woman behaved when the officer arrived. Maybe he was just going to give her a ticket…maybe her stupid mouth made it worse. I know I sound mean but I would just like to go on record here as saying that I, myself am a Hispanic woman with two children so I do know a little about how hard it can be. In my opinion, this woman should quit having children if she already has so many that she can’t reasonably care for them AND run her errands at the same time. Great. She left the air on. The car should be nice and comfortable then for whomever steals her children to sell them on the black market or worse. I hope cold protective services looks into this as well.

  18. pentamom June 25, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

    ” Because temperature is of course dependent on a parent also being in the car for the air conditioning to count as making it a “cool car.”

    That sentence wins the comment thread. LOL!

  19. Sara June 25, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    I was kidnapped, raped, and shot after being left in a car with the keys in it, a/c running, music on, etc while my mother ran in simply to pay for the gas that she had just pumped.

    I won’t comment on the right vs wrong of this mother, but to say that kids are not in harms way while being left alone in a running car is pure ignorance.

    This happened at rush hour, on the corner of one of the bisiest streets in the city, with multiple people around. Please don’t be naive.

  20. James Pollock June 25, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

    “very VERY few car thieves want to add kidnapping to their list of felonies.”

    It may or may not actually be kidnapping to steal an (occupied) car.
    For example, the federal kidnapping statute (18 USC 1201) would not apply to a car thief who accidentally stole a car with a child still in it, and qualified for federal jurisdiction.

  21. elizabeth tobinson June 25, 2016 at 11:02 pm #

    for the most part the little girl should have been strapped down as well. the Mom considered all factors, tugging a baby a tottler, and being 6 months pregnant is a lot of work for 5 minutes.
    so leave them comfortable (air) safe (locked car)
    and hurry. Why was this man watching this woman’s car for 5 to 15 minutes. to watch the kids perhaps because he understood the woman’s situation.NOT!!!

  22. Buffy June 26, 2016 at 12:18 am #

    Thank goodness you were here, James, to correct my obviously idiotic and poorly researched comment.

  23. James Pollock June 26, 2016 at 1:09 am #

    “Thank goodness you were here, James, to correct my obviously idiotic and poorly researched comment.”

    Sure thing. Glad to help. I mean, if we capable people didn’t look out for the obvious idiots with poor research skills, it’d be chaos!

  24. Mike June 26, 2016 at 1:18 am #

    The fact that it is air conditioned car is irrelevant and making this a hate the police issue is just irresponsible. Any parent in their right mind shouldnt leave their kids that young by themselves in a parking lot even for a minute. The police or anyone shouldnt have to guess whether the children are safe or hydrated enough in the locked car. There is no such thing as convenience when it comes to children safety. Raise some free range chicken for convenience.

  25. EL June 26, 2016 at 1:56 am #

    Too bad she isn’t a Stanford swimmer.

  26. Angie June 26, 2016 at 1:56 am #

    Sara soon sorry for what happened to you…but no child should be left alone for no amount of time…everyone knows better this world is dangerous & yes thank goodness nothing happened to her children but what if someone had broken the window stole her truck with her children then what? Whose fault would it have been what would the charges be? Think about it it really could’ve ended in a worse scenario :/

  27. Mandy June 26, 2016 at 1:57 am #

    The Parents of the Year are out in full force on this comment thread. The number of pedophiles running around today! No such thing as convenience when it comes to children’s safety! I NEVER take my eyes off my children, not even when I’m sleeping! Do you also never put your children in the car, which is statistically far more dangerous than the pedophiles you seem to think are lurking around every corner?

    No one’s saying this was the single wisest decision a parents has ever made, but in reality, the kids were more likely to have been hurt on the drive to Lowe’s than they were from waiting in the car for a couple minutes. And if you really want to play worst-first, imagine the horrors that could have befallen them had their mother actually taken them into the store. Something could have fallen on their heads! They could have tried to play with tools! Anything can happen if they aren’t being observed for every single nanosecond!

  28. common sense June 26, 2016 at 6:02 am #

    monica..good for you that your so perfect and just know if she had yes sired no sired the officer he would
    ‘only
    ‘ give her a ticket. given the hysteria that law enforcement fosters on the subjet of never leave a child alone, she’s lucky he didn’t taze her. the people who are saying the car could shut off, it doesn’t mean that the second the car shuts off the temp. immediately shoots up to whatever. to those saying someone could have broken a window and stolen the car…do you think anyone in the lot would have wondered and questioned why that person was breaking the window? parenting is not a contest on how hard you can make it on yourself.. it’s about turning out capable sane adults, you don’t get a prize for giving up you’re life totally. and I call b.s. on all the parents who say they never take their eyes off their kids or leave them alone. how would you cook, clean, use the toilet, shower, sleep, make the other kids, talk to your friends?
    all these laws about not leaving a child for even a second will not prevent a stressed parent from accidently forgetting their child in the are. accidently. their punishment is forever knowing what they did. as for these laws keeping kids from being left in cars while parents drink or gamble, that’s different and should be punished. but why ,oh why, do we have to have no common sense and assume parents have no common sense when it comes to paying for gas, dropping off a brother or sister at school or even taking a shopping cart back to the corral.

  29. andy June 26, 2016 at 8:39 am #

    @Mike Nice try, but no. “You should x” is just an unexplained demand not an argument. There is absolutely such a thing as trade-off between minuscule risk and convenience. Police absolutely should have to distinguish between dangerous situations and safe ones.

    You and people like you take personal offence on parents doing things easier way no matter how actually safe it is are not good enough reason to complicate parents lives nor to overreact at everything.

  30. Puzzled June 26, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    >what if someone had broken the window stole her truck with her children then what? Whose fault would it have >been what would the charges be?

    I know this one: it would be the fault of the person who broke the window and stole the truck. The charges would probably be theft, maybe kidnapping.

    >Think about it it really could’ve ended in a worse scenario :/

    Yesterday, I drove to the store. What if I had crashed on the way? What if I had hit a pedestrian? What if someone was choking in the store and I couldn’t effectively clear their airway, and someone else might have stepped up and been able to help if I wasn’t there trying? What if my shopping cart had gotten away from me, hit a car and left a dent, angering the owner of the car so much they felt the need to drink before driving home, and they got into an accident? That about it, really – it couldn’t ended up in a worse scenario.

  31. Jay June 26, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    Just last week I took my “grandson” who is 11 to two doctors’ appointments out of town. The first appointment we had to drive an hour and it lasted 30 minutes. We then had to drive another hour and it lasted for 3 1/2 hours. During both appointments he didn’t want to go in with me so I left him in the car with the air conditioning running. During the second appointment he turned the car off because it got to cold. I told him were I was going and he had my cell number if he needed to get a hold of me. There were no problems and when I came out he was still playing his video game. No one called the police. I did this with both of my daughters starting at about age 5 and only if they didn’t want to go in with me. Most of the time the oldest wanted to stay out and read, the youngest always wanted to go in with me. Today the oldest is very conservative when it comes to shopping and the youngest loves to shop and buy things. I don’t know if this has anything to do with how they spend money, but if it does it is just another reason to let them stay in the car. By the way I am glad I still live in a state were people have a little bit of common sense.

  32. Nicole R. June 26, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    I think they are many instances where a child would, physically, be just fine in the car, but I really don’t understand why people still do it in the exact culture we’re living in right now.

    Even when no danger from heat is present, the “danger” from busybodies is, in my opinion, real. – When my son was young, I used to drag him into the store with me not because I thought it was at all likely that he would die of heatstroke if I didn’t, but to spare him the emotional stress of a criminal or CPS investigation of his mother. The inconvenience of taking him in was small in the face of that much larger inconvenience (because even if I was sure to be found innocent, the whole process would be a huge stressor!) I likened it to getting him vaccines, which he also didn’t like, to prevent diseases that would be much worse.

    I agree that the laws and culture should be changed! I just see it as one of those rules that it makes more sense to follow UNTIL you can get it changed, rather than outright defy and accept the consequences.

  33. Papilio June 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    Of course a five-year-old jumping up and down is a clear sign she’s about to die from heatstroke.

    “more children die in parking lots than they do in parked cars” But if the police/CPS/whatever force a mom to take this risk with their kids and it goes wrong, of course THEN it would be an accident that was nobody’s fault…….

    “buttinski” Can we leave the Polish out of this?

  34. Theresa June 26, 2016 at 5:08 pm #

    It is possible to tell that the car is on. So you could guess that the AC might be on. So why not use your head to check.

  35. sigh June 26, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    “I agree that the laws and culture should be changed! I just see it as one of those rules that it makes more sense to follow UNTIL you can get it changed, rather than outright defy and accept the consequences.”

    This mother apparently BROKE NO LAW.

    This is a case of a police officer’s entirely subjective interpretation of “imminent harm.”

    That’s the problem. One person’s “imminent danger” is another person’s “unlikely worst-case scenario.”

    Were the kids actually harmed? No. This is where it is outrageous that we’ve got mothers being hauled into jail when their kids are fine and healthy.

    Statistically:

    IT’S SAFER TO BE IN A PARKED CAR THAN IT IS TO BE IN A MOVING CAR.

    IT’S SAFER TO BE IN A PARKED CAR FOR A FEW MINUTES THAN IT IS TO WALK ACROSS A PARKING LOT.

    NO CHILD DIED LAST YEAR IN A PARKED CAR WHO WAS THERE WITH THEIR PARENTS’ KNOWLEDGE.

    As soon as a child gets into a car, the child is, I guess, in “imminent danger of harm.” So why not pass a law that says you can’t drive your child anywhere? Arresting parents who leave their kids in a car while they run an errand is not protecting any child from harm. It’s creating harm where there WAS NO HARM.

    I am beyond frustrated with this. It’s hard to be rational in an irrational culture.

  36. James Pollock June 26, 2016 at 6:05 pm #

    “It is possible to tell that the car is on. So you could guess that the AC might be on.”

    Amazingly, they still make cars which do not have AC. So the fact that the car is running does not tell you that AC is, too. (I agree it’s a good guess… why else leave children in a running car? But not at all certain.

  37. SanityAnyone? June 26, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

    In this scenario, I believe that an active child in a running car is an accident waiting to happen. If Mom were standing outside the car chatting to a neighbor while watching the kids I wouldn’t worry. She was gone. What I am struggling with is the correct response. In the case where no damage was done, why not warn/educate at least once or twice before making life-altering charges?

    Yes, it certainly happened to my sister and I throughout our childhood, and we had enough fear and sense not to touch the controls. You can’t expect kids to reliably resist their curiosity, especially when it comes to cool adult things like trying to drive a car, and especially when it is so easy to get hurt or hurt bystanders.

  38. zzmel June 27, 2016 at 2:41 am #

    I don’t know what the law is in South Carolina pertaining to this situation. While looking upon the reality of what’s happening and whether the children were safe or not, I can’t really say. OK, the older girl was jumping around in the truck. Of course we can state this. If, perhaps the girl got hurt playing in the truck, then the situation would be different and the mother would have to answer for it. I feel that there would be no way that she could have put the transmission in gear.as it doesn’t move while in park. That is a safety feature. Maybe in older vehicles, it could be different. Yes, the engine was running and the air conditioner was running. Now, if the truck stalled out, then that would be a different matter. It would not take long for the temperature to rise which can put the children in danger. There are many ifs here; we are looking at the overall situation. Unfortunately, it starts where some passer by sees or thinks the children are in danger and flags down the police. Here is where the line is drawn and possible criminal charges can be filed by the district attorney. Then she needs a good defense attorney who will do everything regarding her innocence. We have to take several factors in hand. Hopefully she can afford an attorney who can fight for her. If one from the State is assigned to her, you hope he or she knows what they are doing regarding her case. Then, if she were found guilty then you hope you have a judge who is easy on the sentencing. I truly hope she just gets a warning and let it be. I can’t comment anymore on this.

  39. Warren June 27, 2016 at 3:22 am #

    For all those that fear a running truck can be put in gear by a small child. …… join the 21st century. It cannot be done

    As for fear of the truck stalling. …. just because your vehicle is not properly maintained and runs like crap, don’t assume others are as stupid as you. Any day I can go out start any of the trucks and they would run as long as I keep fuel in the tank. In winter it is common for them to run from the time they are started in the morning until they get parked at night.

    As for being able to tell if the ac is on? A quick look at the dash and controls will tell the tale.

    This whole if you see something say something should also include if you don’t know keep your yap shut.

  40. Warren June 27, 2016 at 3:30 am #

    Oh and Sara just by the way you come across you are setting off my BS detector.

  41. Margot June 27, 2016 at 7:47 am #

    Interesting! While I think jail time is excessive, i don’t think I would have made the choice to leave an under two year old in the supervison of a five year old. That’s a lot of responsibility (and not much experience) if something goes wrong. And I’m not talking the statistically unlikley chance of a paedophile happening past. More the possibility of setting off the handbrake or something far more pedestrian. Sure, if you’re just at the petrol station and the car is in view, or only out of view for a short time, that’s fine. But I think the likelihood that she was inside a shop (Lowes – what is that?) for only 3 minutes is fairly small. Great moments in parenting – not! An actual criminal? Not really that either.

  42. ChicagoDad June 27, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    Sorry, but not sorry. I don’t care if there were a terrible hail storm and she needed to run into Lowe’s to get her children industrial-strength hail-proof umbrellas. It wouldn’t matter if a gang of dare-devils were drag racing flaming motorcycles in the parking lot and she needed to help an elderly, disabled war widow cross safely into the store. Even if her kids had a highly contagious form of Ebola and for some reason the only cure was at the Lowe’s customer service counter, it’s not “OK”.

    Even though no law was broken, I demand that everyone raise their kids according to the inscrutable standards that I invented in my mind 20 minutes ago. If they don’t meet my bizarre standards, they must be held accountable by authorities for something, publicly shamed, and threatened to have their children taken. That is the only way they will learn that what they did was WRONG !

    /sarc

  43. Emily June 27, 2016 at 8:11 am #

    I see several fallacies going on here at once:

    1. MYTH: Leaving kids in the car for a quick errand (run into the store and buy one thing, pay for gas, return a library book, take a younger sibling to the bathroom, whatever) is the same as forgetting them in the car for several hours while you go to work/school/something else that takes several hours.

    FACT: Nobody goes to the store with the intention of spending all day in there. Most people who leave their kids in the car for a quick errand, know that they’re in there, and deliberately get in and out as fast as they can. If something takes longer than usual, like, say, a longer-than-average line at the store, the kids in the car may get bored, but they’re still not in grave danger. I know, because back in the 80’s and 90’s, I was one of those kids.

    2. MYTH: A child left in the car is automatically traumatized/neglected/abused/has bad parents.

    FACT: A lot of kids would rather stay in the car, especially given the entertainment options available these days–they see watching a movie on the on-board DVD player, or playing a game on the iPad or smartphone, to be a more attractive option than standing in line at the bank, or being dragged through Wal-Mart, with all its tantalizing displays of toys and candy at kids’ eye level, and being told “no” at every turn.

    3. MYTH: A child left in the car, in any weather, for any length of time, without an adult, will automatically overheat (or freeze in the winter).

    FACT: Someone mentioned this upthread, but if this were true, kids would die at railroad crossings. Also, for the “overheat” scenario, an adult in the car would actually make it hotter, given the added body mass.

    4. MYTH: A child left in the car will automatically be kidnapped.

    FACT: Most people who are looking to steal a car, just want to steal a car. They’re willing to risk a charge of “grand theft auto” (the crime, not the disgustingly violent and vulgar video game), but not kidnapping on top of that. Besides, in #2 and #3, kids are supposed to be traumatized about being left in the car, presumably because they’ve been warned about overheating and kidnappers. So, by that logic, a child actually being kidnapped (or even approached by a busybody who they fear COULD be a kidnapper) would yell and scream and shut down the kidnapping attempt pretty quickly.

    5. MYTH: The correct thing to do, upon seeing a child (or a dog) left in a car, whether they look traumatized or not, is to break the window and get them out, and then call the police.

    FACT: Sitting quietly in the car isn’t dangerous. Flying shards of broken glass are. Also, calling the police over trivial things is dangerous in the bigger sense, because it diverts their focus away from true crimes.

    6. MYTH: All unknown people are automatically bad.

    FACT: Most people in the parking lot are just there to park their cars, go inside the store (or whatever), complete their errands, and get on with their day. The biggest problem is the busybodies, who sic the police and child protection on good parents who just happened to have made a decision they didn’t agree with.

  44. James Pollock June 27, 2016 at 8:33 am #

    “Sitting quietly in the car isn’t dangerous. Flying shards of broken glass are.”

    MYTH: Car windows break into flying shards of broken glass.

    FACT: Car windows are made of laminated “safety glass” to prevent exactly this in the case of a car accident.

  45. Beth June 27, 2016 at 8:44 am #

    Another myth: In the unlikely event that the car “stalls out”, all occupants will immediately die a horrific death during the time it takes to run a quick errand. The car will retain no cooling effect whatsoever from the previously running air conditioning, and will immediately rise from 70 degrees to death degrees.

  46. Emily June 27, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    >>“Sitting quietly in the car isn’t dangerous. Flying shards of broken glass are.”

    MYTH: Car windows break into flying shards of broken glass.

    FACT: Car windows are made of laminated “safety glass” to prevent exactly this in the case of a car accident.<<

    Okay, James, which do you think is safer? Sitting quietly in a car, or sitting in a car with shards of SAFETY glass flying everywhere? Even if it isn't sharp like regular glass, I'd imagine that it could still break into tiny pieces, that could get in someone's eye. Also, which do you think is less traumatic? Sitting in a car with or without shards of safety glass flying everywhere, and a strange person freaking out about how it's "dangerous" to sit in a car without an adult, because "there are so many crazy people out there?"

  47. Terry June 27, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    On the way to a campground on Friday, I stopped at the grocery store because my kids (8 & 10 yr old boys) asked if I could grill fish for dinner over the campfire. It was 80 degrees, and they didn’t want to go in with me because they were reading. I was parked in the second spot from the door, and the parking lot was fairly busy. I put down the windows, turned the car off and told them I’d be back in 10 minutes. I was feeling like Mom of the Year (taking my boys camping! they were reading! they wanted fish for dinner!) until I came out of the store to find an older couple parked behind my car. They started screaming at me that I broke the law. I was really confused, thinking maybe they thought that the way our bikes were strapped to the bike rack was not secure enough…? They were yelling the whole time, that I left the car unlocked (which I did…sometimes kids need to get out and go the bathroom), the windows up (they weren’t) and the car running (it wasn’t). I calmly told them they were mistaken and my kids weren’t in any danger. The husband screamed at me that I was a liar and told me they took down my license plate and were going to call 911. I told him which campground the police could find me at if they needed to speak with me and I drove away. My son was very upset that I was going to be in trouble. Once we were on the road for a bit, he remembered that the woman had opened the door to ask them if they were okay before I had come out of the store. He told her, “Um, yeah. We’re fine.” I tried to explain that most people think that they are being helpful when they check to make sure someone else’s kids are okay. “But she asked if we were okay, and I told her we were.” Too bad the story couldn’t have ended there.

  48. EricS June 27, 2016 at 11:16 am #

    Just because one wears a badge, or they meant good, doesn’t meant they are smart about it. Or even fair. When people have something ingrained in their heads. It’s very hard to change that belief. Unless, you change the trends that people like to set these days. And yes, these paranoia mentality was a trend that became the norm. Because of stupidity. If it was as the mother said, I would sue the sheriff’s dept when the judge finds her not guilty. Set another trend. Make dumb people think before acting. After all, many of us here would not have called the cops in this situation. Only sanctimonious sheeples would.

  49. Jason June 27, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

    Myth: cars stay nice and cool long after the A/C has been shut off. They’re so well insulated, they remain well below the ambient temperature.

  50. Beth June 27, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

    @Jason, we’re not talking about leaving kids in a car for hours. We’re talking about quick, normal, everyday errands that our parents did thousands of times without requiring the kids come in with them.

    Please find us a link to even one child who died in a vehicle that was alone in that vehicle WITH the parent’s full knowledge.

  51. Emily June 27, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

    Hey, here’s another thought–does anyone else here have a sneaking suspicion that, the same people who complain about kids being left to wait in stores, are the same people who complain about kids exhibiting normal kid behaviour in stores? I mean, even if a child isn’t throwing a tantrum over a specific item, sometimes, their patience runs out before the day’s errands are finished. After all, even if it’s just a quick run into the variety mart for a bag of ice or something, that might be several stops into a day of errands, which can wear out even a school-aged child who’d be fine waiting in the car, if not for the busybodies.

  52. James Pollock June 27, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    “Okay, James, which do you think is safer? Sitting quietly in a car, or sitting in a car with shards of SAFETY glass flying everywhere?”

    The, um, point of laminated safety glass is that it doesn’t form shards at all. Automobile windows do not form shards. A broken automobile window is still one piece of (non-shard) glass.

    I’m sorry that your story calls for flying shards of automotive glass, but there is just no such thing. The risk of being harmed by flying shards of automotive glass is approximately the same as the risk of being impaled on a flying unicorn’s horn, and for the same reason.

    “I’d imagine that it could still break into tiny pieces, that could get in someone’s eye.”

    Nope.

    Also, which do you think is less traumatic? Sitting in a car with or without shards of safety glass flying everywhere, and a strange person freaking out about how it’s “dangerous” to sit in a car without an adult, because “there are so many crazy people out there?”

    Um, the less-traumatic answer is none of the above. The least traumatic experience would be missing everything that happens in the parking lot, because little Bobby and/or Susie is in the store with mom and/or dad.. At the other end, I suppose it would be most traumatic if mom and/or dad were forced to defend themselves with a firearm, and it turned out the other people were armed, as well.

    Wait… I take it back. The least traumatic would be if little Bobby and/or Susie didn’t exist, because contraception. There. final answer.

  53. Warren June 27, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

    James
    Stick to being a failed attorney. Because your automotive knowledge is even more pathetic.
    Only windshield and rear window glass perform in that manner. Not the side windows.
    Side windows will pebble and can cause serious injuries. Now go learn things.

  54. Emily June 28, 2016 at 8:27 am #

    >>James
    Stick to being a failed attorney. Because your automotive knowledge is even more pathetic.
    Only windshield and rear window glass perform in that manner. Not the side windows.
    Side windows will pebble and can cause serious injuries. Now go learn things.<<

    Yeah, Warren, that's what I thought too. I'm not a mechanic, but I've seen car windshields and rear windows just crack like a spider web, but the glass on side windows looks like just regular glass. If someone was going to smash a car window to free an "abandoned" child or animal, it'd be a side window, right near where the child or animal was sitting, so they could indeed be injured by the broken glass. That's a good message to get out there, I think–don't break windows, wait to see if the driver comes back if you're really concerned.

  55. pentamom June 28, 2016 at 10:15 am #

    “The least traumatic experience would be missing everything that happens in the parking lot, because little Bobby and/or Susie is in the store with mom and/or dad..”

    It’s rather convenient to assume nothing bad can happen to them that way. That’s the root of this whole problem — that nothing bad can happen due to the Mommy rays exuding from the parent, but all the bad things can happen due to the lack of them.

  56. Rebecca June 28, 2016 at 10:21 am #

    I remember a incident where a can full of daycare children went up in flames after the provider went into the gas station for a couple of minutes. Most of the children died. It only takes a couple of minutes to have your life turned upside down. This happened in sturgeon bay wi if you need to look it up.

  57. James Pollock June 28, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

    “”“The least traumatic experience would be missing everything that happens in the parking lot, because little Bobby and/or Susie is in the store with mom and/or dad..”

    It’s rather convenient to assume nothing bad can happen to them that way.”

    You seem to have left out a few steps, like how you got from “least traumatic” to “assum(ing) nothing bad can happen to them that way.”

  58. Beth June 28, 2016 at 9:49 pm #

    @Rebecca, I have done several google searches and nothing comes up about a van full of kids who died in a fire in a gas station parking lot, using relevant words. Maybe a link would be helpful?

    Here’s the question though, given that I don’t know the whole story. If the van was going to burst into flames, how would having the adult in the van with the kids have changed that? Does she have some kind of superpower that repels flames?

    BREAKING: Bad things happen every day. Adults cannot prevent all of them, no matter how close they stand to the children in their care.

  59. pentamom July 1, 2016 at 10:54 pm #

    Assuming that the least traumatic thing would be taking them in the store and therefore missing what goes on in the parking lot, assumes that nothing more traumatic happens in the store, than what might have happened in the parking lot.

    See how that works?

  60. Kathleen July 6, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

    I’m not so sure it was about the car as it is about supervision. A five year old is not adequate supervision for a 23 month old.