Misdemeanor for Letting 10 Year Old Wait in Car with her Baby Sister

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Why does anyone think that a 10 year old can’t manage a short wait in a car, along with her baby sister? If it’s hot, a 10 year old can open the door. If there’s a problem, a 10 year old can call for help by phone or yelling. If the baby is anything other than fine (unlikely), a 10 year old is equipped with brains and arms to help. And yet, the Fairfield bakiarfbet
Citizen Online reports

A Bloomfield Drive woman was issued a misdemeanor summons Sunday after she allegedly left two children alone in a car.

Jennifer Pavelus, 30, was charged with leaving a child under 12 unsupervised.

A witness called police around 3:51 p.m. Sunday after spotting a 1-year-old in a car, with its engine and air conditioning running, in the parking lot of T.J. Maxx on Tunxis Hill Cutoff. According to the report, there was also a 10-year-old in the car.

As if the 10 year old is an afterthought. Anyway, the police also reported that the children seemed fine. But who cares? Let’s ruin another mom’s day — or life, depending on whether her job or job prospects preclude anyone who ever had a “child abuse or neglect” charge against them.

The mom told the police she’d run into the store to get a bag. Now she has a court date next week.

How wonderful the police are protecting us from laughably safe situations. Maybe next week they can ticket a family who’s having a picnic. After all, someone COULD slip on a pickle. Time to whip out that ticket pad.

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M'am, I'm issuing you a summons for trusting your 10 year old and the laws of probability.

M’am, I’m issuing you a summons for trusting your 10 year old and the laws of probability.

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81 Responses to Misdemeanor for Letting 10 Year Old Wait in Car with her Baby Sister

  1. Steve June 25, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    “How wonderful the police are protecting us from laughably safe situations. Maybe next week they can ticket a family who’s having a picnic. After all, someone COULD slip on a pickle. Time to whip out that ticket pad.”

    Something is seriously wrong with the Police for not dismissing these silly reporting incidents. When will the police step up and ticket the busybodies reporting safe situations? The more time they give to non-crimes, the more they can justify funding larger police forces because they just can’t handle the “work load.”

    Lenore, perhaps you should begin a list and “honor” specific police departments for their bravery in wasting taxpayer money by sighting SAFE situations as somehow criminal.

  2. Rina Lederman June 25, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    LOVE the caption.
    HATE the cop.

    Remember when cops used to be meant for protecting us? ah the good old days.

  3. Dan June 25, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    Usually these cases are about police and CPS making up rules as they go along, but in this case there’s (apparently) an actual specific law being enforced – “leaving a child under 12 unsupervised”.

    If you live in Connecticut, contact your representatives and demand they repeal this law!

  4. Papilio June 25, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    And if you stay in the car with the little ones and send your oldest inside to run the errand, are they gonna whine about that too?
    What the * do they want??

  5. Bob Magee June 25, 2015 at 11:37 am #

    CT law calls for action when child is in “substantial danger”

    Fairfield, the town where this occured, is hardly a bastion of crime.

  6. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    This is another one of those where I don’t agree with the outcome, but I could see how you could get there. A ten year-old in a parked car? Fine. But a 10-year-old in a running car? Maybe not so much. Especially if A) the child doesn’t know how to confidently turn off the motor, B) the backseat doors won’t open if the engine is running, and C) mom was gone for a significant period. But mostly if mom were confrontational upon returning to find a cop either watching or questioning her kids.

  7. Reziac June 25, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    Egads. I managed to wait in the car, in charge of or even holding my baby sister, when I was FIVE. And no one thought it was unusual, let alone the end of the world. Mind you, this was in 1960, before media hype made everything a crime.

  8. Richard June 25, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    OMG. Has anyone ever seen the capabilities of 10-year-olds. They race horses, run farm equipment, race all sorts of vehicles, use computers and smartphones better than many adults. They sing, dance perform and do amazing athletics. They SCUBA dive, rock climb and use power tools. At least if they are allowed to do all these things instead of being “protected” until they are 18 and then thrown into the world (or not) ill-prepared to take care of themselves let alone anyone else.

  9. Reziac June 25, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    As to running vs not-running and the hazards imposed by today’s safety interlocks, teach your kids how to work ’em and ensure that they can do so on demand (ie. under the minor stress of a parent’s regard). Don’t just assume they’ve observed how things work and will remember when they need to.

    And do so as soon as your kids can physically do it.

    If you’re afraid your kids will then go joyriding, you have different problems.

  10. Katie June 25, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    Thomas, I have to sort of agree with you here. Having my trustworthy daughter, 7, alone in a running car makes me nervous. Because even though she generally makes great decisions, accidents happen. What if she climbs into the front to change the radio station and knocks the car into gear? I guess a parking brake would eliminate that risk. However, I totally would have sent the 10 year old in for the errand! Kids love doing grown up stuff like that! We just have an irrational fear when it comes to cars in this country.

    I have a child with cognitive disability. He is not able to get out of his carseat. I have left him in a running car (if its too hot to just leave the windows down) to run in to my daughter’s school, etc. I’m always a little worried someone is going to see him and call the cops, but I don’t want to live in fear. My question to them would be, “What are you afraid could possibly happen?”

  11. Liz June 25, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    So, here in CT you can leave any age of child alone at home, left up to the parent’s discretion. But you can’t leave a child under 12 in a car, because “danger!” Way to make no sense, Connecticut.

  12. Katie June 25, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    *I mean James, not Thomas! I don’t know where I got Thomas from!

  13. Taed June 25, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Just to address the comment “the backseat doors won’t open if the engine is running,” I’d like to add a bit of detail about that. Back doors on cars in the US for about the last 20 years or so have an optional mechanical “child safety lock” which will disable the interior handle of the door. If enabled, the interior door handle on each door (the mechanism is separate for each door) are _always_ disabled, regardless of the state of the engine or of motion. I am unsure if this is a required mechanism, or just a common one. As far as I know, that is always disabled by default and must be mechanically enabled. There’s nothing said about whether it was enabled in this case. And regardless, even if disabled, a 10-year-old is fully capable of opening the front door, and in fact, may have been sitting in the front seat (it is not stated one way or the other) which would not have such a disabling mechanism.

  14. Jenny Islander June 25, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    @Papilio: Basically they want everyone in America who has children to have the money for an endless array of supervised extracurriculars, plus a nanny, plus armed guards because everyone knows that the world is pullulating with bogeymen who are out to sully and destroy our precious children. Except that people who can afford all that get picked at for not personally caring for their children 24/7.

  15. Taed June 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    With regards to “I managed to wait in the car, in charge of … my baby sister, when I was FIVE. And no one thought it was unusual… Mind you, this was in 1960, before media hype made everything a crime.”

    Interestingly enough, 1960 was also 8 years before cars in the US were required to be manufactured with seat belts. My mom tells me that they left the hospital and every day just put me in my bassinet basket on the back set — no car seat, no seat belt, no one holding me or the basket, etc. That’s the way things were then in the US. I’m sure that’s how things are in at least half the world currently.

  16. Gil Sharon June 25, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    Usually I agree with your stance, but look at this item from today’s news: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international/Girl-Saves-Sister-in-Redlands-Attempted-Kidnapping-at-7-Eleven-Gas-Station-309650671.html where the situation is almost identical. Yes, the older sister saved the infant from harm, but (devil’s advocate) they would never have been in this situation if not left alone.

  17. Jill June 25, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    Who are these people who go peering into cars, looking to see if there are unattended children inside? There could be a moose in a car parkked next to me and I probably wouldn’t notice because I mind my own business.

  18. bob magee June 25, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

    @Gil Sharon

    Simple solution – keep car locked and engine off.

    He was a car thief – not interested in kids.

    No reason I need to be subjected to ridiculous and arbitrary laws because someone failed to use common sense.

  19. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    “What if she climbs into the front to change the radio station and knocks the car into gear?”
    This sounds like “what if” thinking, but my brother did this, once, (actually, putting a parked car into neutral) and the car rolled down the driveway, across the street, and into a ditch.

    “I guess a parking brake would eliminate that risk.”
    Most vehicles are quite capable of powered movement when the parking brake is engaged.

    “However, I totally would have sent the 10 year old in for the errand! Kids love doing grown up stuff like that! We just have an irrational fear when it comes to cars in this country.”
    This would work if it involved paying cash. If she needed to write a check (remember writing checks in stores?), or use a credit card, not so easy. I wouldn’t send a 10-year-old into a store with my debit card and passcode, but some do.

  20. bmj2k June 25, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    According to the letter of the law, this is justified. But is this really the intent of the law? Common sense says no. The application of the law, which should be equal for all, should also be fair and just. Blind justice does not mean blindly handing out punishment, it means that all defendants should be treated equally. And justice also depends on situations and circumstances. Judging this case on the circumstance and situation, this is a very unfair application of the law, and unequal.

  21. Joy Noll June 25, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    I must disagree on this one. I’ve never understood what’s so important that you leave young children in a car alone. I live in AZ, & we have infants/children DIE from being left in cars for X amount of minutes or even forgotten for hours due to the heat. Obviously, it was hot or the A/C wouldn’t have been running, nor the car. Anything can happen inside of a running vehicle! Yes, back in the 60’s, no one had seatbelts, AND the percentage of deaths due to car accidents was much higher than it is now. I was NOT a helicopter parent, although my Daughter is & i hate it. I NEVER left my child alone in the car for any reason. Parents have gotten lazy in this area.

  22. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    “Simple solution – keep car locked and engine off.
    He was a car thief – not interested in kids.
    No reason I need to be subjected to ridiculous and arbitrary laws because someone failed to use common sense.”

    It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
    If you leave the engine off and the doors locked, you risk baking your kids, because the AC only runs if the engine is running. If you leave the engine on, you risk drawing attention to the vehicle, and people notice that your kids are alone in there.

    It’s like Global Thermonuclear War… the only winning move is not to play.

  23. Jeff June 25, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    “And if you stay in the car with the little ones and send your oldest inside to run the errand, are they gonna whine about that too?
    What the * do they want??”

    They want parents to put their children in the statistically drastically riskier situation of taking them across the parking lot twice. Why? Because nothing bad happens with parents around, right?

  24. Loretta June 25, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    OMG — As a middle schooler and older, I sat in the car with my toddler brothers and sister all the time while mother went into the grocery store. And we were out there a lot longer than just a few minutes and in Memphis heat (or cold) – without the engine running. Didn’t matter anyway, because none of our cars ever had air conditioning. We parked in the shade which was far from the doors or windows of the store – heaven forbid!! (That’s sarcasm for those of you who need the explanation). Before the younger ones were born, when I was very young, my older brother and I were out there. We had great fun trying to fool mom by turning on the windshield wipers or turning up the radio or something so that when she started the car, she’d have a surprise. She would play along. All of us had great fun waiting in the car. We played and watched other people. Those are very fond memories – just sitting and waiting in the car.

  25. Tony June 25, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    In this case I have to side with those who point out that the car was running. The danger of the car being put into gear by accident or experiment skews the risk/benefit ratio. Granted I don’t know this particular child but as a general rule I think this is a bad idea. If it is so hot or cold that the child will be in danger in the time it takes to get back then you should not leave them.

  26. Richard June 25, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    @Joy: “Anything can happen inside of a running vehicle!”

    True. Of course, lots of accidents can happen walking across a parking lot. Abductions, even. And what if you turn to talk to the cashier and you’re not watching your 10yo and they’re not even seat-belted?

    This kid is 10. Not 5, 10. Kids that age used to be expected to function at an “adult-minus” level, not a “toddler-plus” one.

  27. ChicagoDad June 25, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    Here’s a story from last year by our favorite writer/civil rights activist:
    http://reason.com/blog/2014/09/08/paramedics-examine-child-who-waited-in-c

    The law in Illinois says “No child that is six years of age or younger may be left in a car for longer than ten minutes” out of the parent’s line of sight. But in Orland Park, they’ll arrest you for 5 minutes.

    To the Illinois free range parents, stay away from Orland Park, they frequently arrest parents for letting kids wait in the car for less than 10 minutes. I see news stories about it every few months.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=orland+park+mom+arrested+child+car

  28. spankym June 25, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    I wonder is she and the kids had white skin and were in a BMW this would have happened?

    https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.carrasquillo.33

  29. David DeLugas June 25, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    Lenore, unless the children were at substantial risk of harm, there is NO crime and the officer was out of line in issuing the citation. The Connecticut Statute states: Sec. 53-21a. Leaving child unsupervised in place of public accommodation or motor vehicle. (a) Any parent, guardian or person having custody or control, or providing supervision, of any child under the age of twelve years who knowingly leaves such child unsupervised in a place of public accommodation or a motor vehicle for a period of time that presents a substantial risk to the child’s health or safety, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

    That means the length of time and under circumstances that “presents a substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or safety” are required before a crime has been committed. I have used the Connecticut Statute as a model of what other states and cities should adopt, BECAUSE it requires the circumstances (period of time, substantial risk).

    We are defending Courtney Tabor, the Fayetteville, Georgia, mother against the criminal charges against her when her children were in her vehicle (AC on, car running) while she smoked a cigarette not far away, but glanced away looking at her cell phone, she was charged with leaving her children out of view (although admittedly NOT harmed or in danger of harm). This occurred in 2014 and the charges remain pending, our motion to dismiss (in which I cited the CT statute as Constitutional) remains pending!

    This mother never should have been charged if her child and the older child (for whom she is responsible), both under 12, were not there for a period of time under circumstances presenting a SUBSTANTIAL risk to their health or safety. If she contacts you, we’d gladly talk and try to help and, possibly, get directly involved. As we grow with your support and that of your readers, we will be in the position to jump in more and more!! This 501(c)(3) exists to push back against such absurd situations (including the Mietivs in Maryland and Julie Giles, the mother charged because her notes from home were insufficient to excuse her honor student from school)!

    https://www.parentsusa.org/cases/

  30. Barry Lederman June 25, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    Regarding Julie Giles, the mother charged because her notes from home were insufficient to excuse her honor student from school. I’ll bet the school district is going after her only cuz funding is tied to attendance.

  31. Buffy June 25, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    Wow, we actually got a good amount of comments in before the “heat police” came along. Not everywhere is AZ. Not everywhere has AZ heat. Parents should not have to appy AZ conditions to their own decision-making; they should take into account the maturity of the child, their trust of the child, how long the errand will take, and the weather conditions IN THEIR IMMEDIATE AREA.

    Kids don’t die in cars, hot or not, because of a 3-minute errand.

  32. Eric S June 25, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    What I’ve noticed the older generation cops don’t seem to be doing these ignorant things. It’s the younger generation of cops. The ones that are under 30. They grew up primarily in the age when paranoia and digital media started kicking in. So they are of that mentality. Worse if they have that sanctimonious attitude as well. The older cops, the veterans, are the ones that will likely just shrug it off, and tell the parent, “just make sure to be more diligent, because there are people out there like that”.

  33. Donald June 25, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    ‘to protect and to serve’ has become’ to ‘bully and harass’

  34. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

    “Wow, we actually got a good amount of comments in before the “heat police” came along. Not everywhere is AZ. Not everywhere has AZ heat.”
    It doesn’t TAKE AZ heat. It can get hot enough in a car to kill a small mammal in a fairly short period of time, even north of the 45th parallel.

    It’s not relevant here (AC on) but other issues are (unattended children in a running car). Almost definitely not a real problem for a 10-year-old, but only “almost”.

    “Kids don’t die in cars, hot or not, because of a 3-minute errand.”
    If I cared enough, I bet I could find an example. This wouldn’t prove anything (as noted previously, you can also find examples of families run over crossing the parking lot.)

    I’d strongly suspect that this was more than a 3-minute errand, unless she literally parked next to a cop and then went into the store.

  35. MichaelF June 25, 2015 at 4:23 pm #


    “Wow, we actually got a good amount of comments in before the “heat police” came along. Not everywhere is AZ. Not everywhere has AZ heat.”
    It doesn’t TAKE AZ heat. It can get hot enough in a car to kill a small mammal in a fairly short period of time, even north of the 45th parallel.

    True, but the way its presented in these cases its like no matter where you live originally heat death is only occurring in states that ring the Gulf Coast. As if your car and you are mysteriously transported hundreds of miles away in an instant. Not true at all, and while a car can heat up its all relative to such changeable conditions they are not generic enough to argue.

    I agree with the basic premise here though, the state and the police are coming in as the dreaded “Nanny State” without a flexible framework to deal with the varieties of children and parenting that exist. Not every child is the same, nor is every parent.

  36. Steve June 25, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

    Okay. I posted this a couple days ago. Lenore originally posted their story in 2012.

    But for those of you who don’t know who the Abernathy Boys are, read this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Abernathy_and_Temple_Abernathy

    “In 1909 the boys rode by horseback from Frederick, Oklahoma, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and back. Louis was 9, and Temple was 5.

    “When the boys completed their Santa Fe journey, they began planning a cross-country horseback ride to New York City, again by themselves, to meet Theodore Roosevelt when he returned from his trip to Africa and Europe. They made that trip in 1910. They were greeted as celebrities, and rode their horses in a ticker-tape parade just behind the car carrying Roosevelt. While in New York, the boys purchased a small Brush Motor Car, which they drove, again by themselves, back to Oklahoma, shipping their horses home by train.”

    And that was wasn’t their longest trip by themselves.

    In 1911, they rode their horses by themselves from New York to San Francisco in 62 days.

    Think about what the Abernathy boys did as you contemplate the danger of allowing a 10 year old to sit in a car for a few minutes.

  37. pentamom June 25, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

    “What if she climbs into the front to change the radio station and knocks the car into gear?”

    That falls under “freak accident” — what if I’m home alone and accidentally trip, rip an electric fixture out of the wall, and start a fire while lying there unconscious? It’s not something to structure plans around, because it’s too hard to do accidentally.

    I think automatic cars these days have a lockout whereby the shifter won’t move out of park without a foot on the brake, anyhow. And very few family vehicles have standard transmissions.

    The solution for “this would only work if you were paying cash” would be to pay cash. Again, not a reason to do or not do something.

  38. lollipoplover June 25, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

    “I NEVER left my child alone in the car for any reason. Parents have gotten lazy in this area.”

    Actually, more children are killed OUTSIDE the car in parking lots than INSIDE the car sitting. So you exposed your child to a higher degree of danger by your lack of knowledge.
    I don’t know any children killed inside hot cars. I do know 3 children who were struck by cars in parking lots and one killed by a snow plow at night. Cars do kill. Moving ones.

    I’ve never understood this “NEVER leave children in cars” irrational, absolute, never-use-common-sense mentality. When did cars turn into easy bake death chambers?
    I personally think it’s lazy to think in parenting absolutes devoid of common sense and variables. I also don’t judge others who make choices (like leaving kids in a car for a few minutes) that aren’t actually dangerous.

    And what magically happens to teenagers in Connecticut at age 13 that makes them somehow more competent that a 10,11, 12 year-old?
    What’s so hard about sitting in a car that requires an age limit?

    My 12 year-old babysat today for 5 hours for three boys aged 3,6,and 7(they played sports the whole time). The 9 year-old biked herself to and from swim practice and then got a ride to the park to play with friends the rest of the day (driven by the 17 year-old sister). My oldest is 14 and has 4 jobs this summer- caddy, golf ball sales, wood projects, and detailing cars. These kids are busier than I am and responsible, capable kids.
    AND I LEAVE THEM IN THE CAR ALL THE TIME.
    But in Connecticut, 2 of them waiting in a car would get me a misdemeanor?
    Nonsense.
    Back it up with facts and moving cars kill small children. Not the parked ones.

  39. pentamom June 25, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

    “It doesn’t TAKE AZ heat. It can get hot enough in a car to kill a small mammal in a fairly short period of time, even north of the 45th parallel.”

    That would depend on where the heat started at, and what the weather conditions were, would it not? Even south of the 45th parallel, it doesn’t heat up enough in a short period of time to kill any endothermic life form if it’s 50 degrees and raining. Let’s assume that people can judge weather conditions and not speak as though OH NOES CHILD IN CAR DEATH DEATH DEATH!!!!!!

  40. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

    ” Not true at all, and while a car can heat up its all relative to such changeable conditions they are not generic enough to argue.”

    It isn’t just around the Gulf Coast, or just in the Southern states. There was a well-publicized case in Oregon, and yes, in Connecticut. (and, of course, while the primary worry is kids, other small animals left in cars can also suffer.)

    The point being that the risk is higher than people think it is. Actually, the risk of all sorts of death and injury related to cars is higher than people think it is.

  41. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    ““What if she climbs into the front to change the radio station and knocks the car into gear?”
    That falls under “freak accident”

    As I noted previously, my brother managed the trick, back when he was probably around 6. He’s much more responsible now. To me, anyway, that moves it from “freak accident” to just “accident”.

    “I think automatic cars these days have a lockout whereby the shifter won’t move out of park without a foot on the brake, anyhow.”
    Yes, and another interlock that prevents you from removing the key if the car isn’t in park, and another, that won’t engage the starter if the transmission isn’t in park. Wonder why they did this…

    “The solution for “this would only work if you were paying cash” would be to pay cash. Again, not a reason to do or not do something.”
    Which is great, if you happen to have the cash. Most people carry less cash, now that you can swipe a debit card for just about everything. You can even use a debit card in newer vending machines.

  42. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

    “Actually, more children are killed OUTSIDE the car in parking lots than INSIDE the car sitting. So you exposed your child to a higher degree of danger by your lack of knowledge.”

    This conclusion doesn’t logically follow from the premise. Danger isn’t random

    “I don’t know any children killed inside hot cars.”
    Not surprising. The total is in double digits out of a country whose total population is over 300 million. Most of the children killed by being left in a hot car are small infants.

    So, the problem (such as it is) comes from A) people who forget the child is in the car, who park and go to work, and B) people who don’t recognize the signs of heatstroke in small infants (that is, they don’t realize that while they are fine, the infant might not be, even though they’re in the same car at the same temperature.).

    “I do know 3 children who were struck by cars in parking lots and one killed by a snow plow at night. Cars do kill. Moving ones.”

    My daughter went to school with a young man who was run over while walking on the sidewalk in a residential area by a woman who had a seizure. I don’t know any struck in parking lots.

  43. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    “That would depend on where the heat started at, and what the weather conditions were, would it not?”
    Yeah. Which is why you don’t hear so much about this sort of thing during the wintertime, but concern about it really picks up in the summer.

    “Let’s assume that people can judge weather conditions and not speak as though OH NOES CHILD IN CAR DEATH DEATH DEATH!!!!!!”

    I agree, let’s ALL make fun of the people speaking as though “OH NOES CHILD IN CAR DEATH DEATH DEATH”. But “say, you know the risk goes up this time of year” and “you can get harmful results at lower temperatures than most people realize” are not “OH NOES CHILD IN CAR DEATH DEATH DEATH”.

    Seeing as THIS case involved kids in a car that was running, with the AC on (spoiled kids of today. We didn’t even HAVE AC in any of the cars my parents had when I was little.) I’d say it was probably “say, why is that car running even though there’s no driver” rather than “OH NOES CHILD IN CAR” that drew attention to it.

  44. Donald June 25, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

    This incident only scratches the surface of a much bigger problem.

    It’s true that something bad can happen to a 10 year old in a car. However in order to be able to make an intelligence decision BOTH sides need to be assessed. When this doesn’t happen we lose more than the rights of parents. We alter the evolution of intelligence. (or lack of)

    The dangers of overprotection is one of those things than nickel and dime you to death. We see hundreds of thousands of college students today that don’t know how to handle adversity. The stress/depression/anxiety that results from this can be life threatening! However it’s difficult to connect this to not allowing 10 year olds to wait in cars and many people can’t comprehend the connection until the suicide rate sky rockets much further than it is now.

    At the bottom of my blog, I have an animated gif. A handful of sand can represent a 10 year old being unable to wait in a car. The shrinking island becoming too small to sustain life can represent the maturity that must be developed in order to withstand adversity.

    http://www.onmysoapboxx.com/false-info

  45. Donald June 25, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    “However it’s difficult to connect this to not allowing 10 year olds to wait in cars and many people can’t comprehend the connection until the suicide rate sky rockets much further than it is now.”

    Even if they understand the connection, they can refuse to believe it. This is the same as a tobacco company stating, “There is no evidence that links smoking to cancer.”

    Worst first thinking can project a very powerful image so intense that nothing else can be seen.

  46. BL June 25, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

    ” We didn’t even HAVE AC in any of the cars my parents had when I was little.”

    We did. It was called four-seventy air conditioning.

    Four windows open, seventy miles per hour.

    🙂

  47. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    “We did. It was called four-seventy air conditioning.”

    I travelled from Seattle to Yellowstone and back, in the height of summer, in a 15 passenger van that had “child safe” windows so you could only open the bottom about an inch-and-a-half. Eastern Washington is hot and dry, and the greenhouse effect works whether you can open the windows or not.

  48. Warren June 25, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

    James,

    Unless the vehicle is ancient, a child cannot accidently knock it out of park. The are two mechanical safeguards preventing it.

    Stick to IT work, because you no nothing of automotive mechanics. As for the rear doors, even locked by child locks, they can still be opened from outside. And doors are not connected to the engine, some are to the tranny, and will lock when the vehicle is put into gear.

    Thanks for playing and failing.

  49. Warren June 25, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    James

    Stay away from mechanical situations. They weren’t child safe windows on the van. LOL!!!!!! They were restricted to prevent the window from being ripped from the van at speed, or shattering at speed. Nice try though.

  50. sexhysteria June 26, 2015 at 1:04 am #

    The terrorists have won. Americans are now so afraid that we are attacking each other.

  51. Aaron June 26, 2015 at 1:53 am #

    I keep reading about parents who do normal, perfectly safe, sometimes necessary and beneficial, things with their kids, and getting prosecuted for them. Are you considering turning these news flashes into action alerts? Is there some organized protest that we can engage in through your website?

  52. SanityAnyone? June 26, 2015 at 2:00 am #

    In this case, my personal comfort level is that a warning would be OK and enough. That perfectly capable 10 year old is also perfectly capable of putting a running car in motion, though not easily.

    I am not a fan of making a law about this, but would err on the side of taking the keys with me. The response was excessive and damaging.

  53. bmommyx2 June 26, 2015 at 3:15 am #

    I’m glad at least the law in California is more reasonable

    Leaving Children or Pets Unattended in a Car

    It is illegal to leave a child 6 years old or younger unattended in a motor vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years old when:

    There are conditions that present a significant risk to the child’s health or safety. Example: Leaving a child in a closed car on a very hot day.
    The vehicle’s engine is running, the keys are in the ignition, or both. Children can start or move the car causing injuries and/or deaths to themselves or others. An opportunist may (and many have) seize the moment to jump in and drive your car away, child still strapped in.
    Violators may be fined and required to attend a community education program. If the child is injured, requires emergency medical services, or dies, then the penalties become more severe.
    Also remember that pets also deserve the same care and should not be left unattended in a vehicle on a hot day.

    If you see an endangered child or pet, call 911 and stay by the vehicle.

  54. James Pollock June 26, 2015 at 3:40 am #

    “Unless the vehicle is ancient, a child cannot accidently knock it out of park. The are two mechanical safeguards preventing it.”

    Really? I had no idea…
    http://www.freerangekids.com/misdemeanor-for-letting-10-year-old-wait-in-car-with-her-baby-sister/#comment-373616

    ” As for the rear doors, even locked by child locks, they can still be opened from outside.”
    Gee, if the child is already outside the car, why would they NEED to open the doors?

    (I’ve driven a truck for a really long time, now… the last vehicle I owned that had rear doors was a 1989 Oldsmobile.

  55. James Pollock June 26, 2015 at 3:47 am #

    “I am not a fan of making a law about this, but would err on the side of taking the keys with me.”

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Taking the keys is the old answer, which gets you in trouble if the sun is shining and its more than about 70 degrees out. Leaving the keys keeps the AC running, but creates the very small risk of the child putting the car in motion… and while a 10-year-old can probably deal with “say, it’s getting hot in here”, I’d posit that very few would have the presence of mind to find the brake pedal if they needed to.

    It’s Kobiaashi Maru all over again.

  56. James Pollock June 26, 2015 at 3:49 am #

    “I’m glad at least the law in California is more reasonable
    Leaving Children or Pets Unattended in a Car
    It is illegal to leave a child 6 years old or younger unattended in a motor vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years old when:
    There are conditions that present a significant risk to the child’s health or safety. Example: Leaving a child in a closed car on a very hot day.
    The vehicle’s engine is running, the keys are in the ignition, or both.”

    She would have been guilty under California’s law, too. She left a child under six, supervised by a child under 12, in a vehicle with the engine running.

  57. baby-paramedic June 26, 2015 at 6:15 am #

    Some cars can have the air conditioning running without the key in the ignition.
    But, we cannot know all these little ins and outs from media reports, things that may make it more or less okay in our own judgements on whether this behaviour was acceptable or not.

  58. Donna June 26, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    This topic always makes me realize how god awful spoiled Americans are. In A. Samoa, where temperatures are the same as Georgia in August 365 days a year, parking lots are always full of people waiting in cars with the cars off and windows rolled down, sometimes for hours.

    Except in the wealthiest of families, it is unheard of to have more than one car. Often a single car is shared among extended family or even a couple families. And gas is expensive. You aren’t going to make 6 trips into town for 6 individual errands. You are going to haul 6 people around to each other’s errands. The people not directly involved in the transaction often wait in the car.

    Nobody is dying of heat stroke in cars. There are no warnings that cars equal death. Nobody is arrested for leaving anyone in the car. We really are able to withstand far more heat than we like to believe.

  59. SOA June 26, 2015 at 8:20 am #

    When I was this age my mother left me in the car all the time with the keys so I could run the heat or ac. I locked the doors and read a book. She even left me in there with the daycare kids she watched while she ran into the store for 15 20 minutes. In broad daylight in a nice neighborhood what really could happen. There were people coming in and out of the store. There was no danger.

    Now she would go to jail if she did that.

    This country has gotten really really weird about thinking kids are morons who can never be left alone.

  60. SOA June 26, 2015 at 8:29 am #

    oh and at 10 or younger I knew how to crank the car with the keys and knew how to shift from drive back to park if it got accidentally knocked out of gear and I knew how to work the door locks and ac and horn and heat. It was not hard. So there was no danger of me moving the car by accident or not knowing what I was doing. Plus I was one of those super responsible kids you could trust (they do exist) and I knew not to fuck with stuff and I didn’t. It really again is not that complex.

  61. JP Merzetti June 26, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    I’m beginning to wonder if this is the reason why darkly-tinted car windows have become so popular.
    Maybe one day there will be a serious upsurge in privacy car curtains, combined with windshield sunscreens.
    That reference about 1960……………….

    Since 1960, the amount of time an average kid spends in an average car has increased by…..(anyone want to guess?) Several quadrillion per cent?
    Kids now live their lives in cars.
    I’d say we need to get our butts in gear about that.
    Where we live, where we shop, where we school, and ten thousand other things we do never happen anymore without driving. Cars have won. People have become incidental.
    So adopting rules that take all this into consideration haven’t caught up with our common sense.

    Other than all that – it’s the same damned old thiing: parental discretion. A parent knows their own kid. Who at any given designated age is responsible enough for whatever……..and where does a perfect stranger become so knowledgeable to over-ride this?
    Our job as citizens is not to become Superhero Saviors of children we don’t know. On behalf of parents we don’t know. We are Other and Outsiders…….deemed to be reasonably respectful and fully capable of minding our own business – unless called for in extenuating circumstances…..to help out, where help is truly needed.

    Yes, I could go on and on too, about what the average bright 10 year-old is actually capable of handling. It is a long list. But in a society where 30 has become the “new” 20, I suppose 10 has become the “new” newborn.
    What is it? When some people see a kid……….they see a helpless thing. The information that reaches their eyes and sensibility somehow by-passes normal cognizance.
    They would recognize the humanity in an avatar more readily than a live competent person in front of their very eyes.
    And become aided and abetted in their stupidity by the entire ponderous and pompous Civil Law and Order Machine that rolls over on people like an elephant in bed with a bunch of ants.
    Mahem and havoc have become the nominal pastime in the land.
    (As if we all didn’t have better things to do!)

    Hell. I just keep getting this picture, from some far and distant memory from my past.
    A typical busybody grannie walking by a car. A bit of a nervous type. Notices what she does. Walks on over and tentatively taps on the window. “Are you all right in there?”
    The window rolls down, a little. A bit of conversation ensues. A lonely old soul has a delightful conversation with a delighful child. Coos as the baby. Mom returns. Smiles all around. The day proceeds………….

    Sounds practically like science fiction, doesn’t it?
    What’s right with that picture?
    But more to the point – what exactly is WRONG with it?

  62. Michael June 26, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    While the citation is ridiculous and I believe a 10 year old is perfectly capable of waiting in a car for a few minutes I do have to question the misleading headline to this story. This is, it seems, certainly NOT a 10 year old “with” her baby sitter but a 1 year old with a 10 year old baby sitter. I was expecting to read about a 10 year old with a 12-ish year old or something like that. Objecting to the former would be utterly insane but the actual facts in this case makes this in this particular jurisdiction technically an offense and the citation defensible. Too bad the cop did nut invoke common sense but rather stick to the book.

  63. Melanie June 26, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    @Michael
    The headline states 10 year old with her baby sister not babt sitter.

  64. Beth June 26, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

    “Nobody is dying of heat stroke in cars. There are no warnings that cars equal death. Nobody is arrested for leaving anyone in the car. We really are able to withstand far more heat than we like to believe.”

    And apparently no warnings that the minute leave someone in the car with the windows DOWN, sensible in warm weather, a kidnapper will immediately swoop in, reach through the window, and abduct whoever is in there!!

  65. anonymous mom June 26, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    @Gil Sharon, it’s very misleading of the headline to call that a “kidnap attempt.” It was a car theft. That actually does sometimes happen. And, it happens around here whether mom is in the car or not. We get stories a few times a year about a carjacker or car thief taking off with a car with a baby in the back. The baby has, in every case I’m aware of, been found safe.

    People want your car more than they want your kids. But these situations can happen when a parent is in the car–that’s the case in most of the carjacking situations–so if you are truly terrified of there being any possibility of a car thief driving off with your child, you should never take them out in the car.

  66. Michael June 26, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    @Melanie Yep, you are absolutely right. My bad entirely and worst of it is, I must have read it wrong at least three times! My apologies on that count. Must have been a case where the brain fills in what it thinks should say in stead of what it actually says. Thanks for setting me straight.

  67. Andre L. June 26, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

    A citation to appear in court for misdemeanor is not warranted.

    However, I’m a bit concerned about cars left on without a competent driver attending it. Kids are naturally curious and it doesn’t take that much to put a standard automatic transmission car in movement, even inadvertently.

    If the errand is quick, and the 10-year old is competent, leaving door unlocked, windows all down and car turned off is much safer, assuming the car is on a parking lot.

  68. Andre L. June 26, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

    To add to my previous post: kids are in much greater danger, in hot weather, of being locked inside a heated car instead of being abducted by strangers or what else. Numerous things can go wrong with a car left running on and doors/windows locked.

    For people saying humans can withstand heat, please, get yourselves informed: locked cars quickly heat up with direct sunlight, it doesn’t take long and temperatures can reach 140, 150 oF, which humans are not meant to withstand at all.

  69. Buffy June 26, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

    Hey Andre, maybe in making the decision to leave a 10-year-old in the car the parent takes into account that he KNOWS HIS OWN CHILD and whether or a not the kid has demonstrated that he will follow instructions such as “don’t touch that lever there”? And that the parent might also take into account the ACTUAL WEATHER at the place he is ACTUALLY AT?

    Sorry for the caps, but some people act as if leaving a kid in the car is a spur-of-the-moment thing that the parent has never given any thought to, ever. Why is it always assumed that parents make poor decisions and stranger’s decisions are always so much better?

  70. Margaret June 26, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    This is one of the rare times when I’m going to have to disagree with Lenore. Nothing was said about how long the mother left the kids in the car, but leaving the kids to shop TJ MAXX for a “bag,” by which I’m guessing she meant purse, doesn’t fly with me as an excuse unless she could see the car from the store and she was gone for no more than five minutes. Since she left the air conditioning on, I’m guessing she thought she was being a good mother but it’s a clue that she intended to be gone longer than five minutes.

    BUT…and this is the big one: Even aside from the safety issue of leaving the kids, I am absolutely against anyone leaving their car running for any reason at all, certainly not with kids in it. I get angry when I see some jerk pull up to the post office and get out leaving the car running. Turn the damn thing off! Stop polluting the air and wasting gas! It’s not that difficult to restart an engine after you finish your errand. I used to live in a town that, for very good and eco-sane reasons, banned all drive-throughs like banks and fast-food places. I’d like to see fast-food drive throughs banned everywhere.

  71. James Pollock June 26, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

    “Hey Andre, maybe in making the decision to leave a 10-year-old in the car the parent takes into account that he KNOWS HIS OWN CHILD and whether or a not the kid has demonstrated that he will follow instructions such as “don’t touch that lever there”? And that the parent might also take into account the ACTUAL WEATHER at the place he is ACTUALLY AT?”

    And maybe he didn’t.
    Seriously, we also assume that people who risk their OWN health, safety, and life know what they’re doing… but sometimes, they just do something stupid, overestimating their own abilities, underestimating the danger, or both. Somewhere out there is a guy who once had serious burns on his rear end because he and his buddies thought it would be find to shoot off a roman candle from his behind, and, because it’s not really stupid unless someone films it, it was recorded and uploaded to the Internet. Now, maybe, in making the decision to shoot fireworks out his behind, he carefully considered the risk, and the benefit, and determined that the reward justified the risk, and then proceeded. But maybe not.

    No, leaving a child in a running car and shooting fireworks out of your butt are not the same thing, and as far as I know have no other connection beyond both being things I wouldn’t do, because in both cases the rewards wouldn’t be worth the risk, in my calculation. If you have different calculations, you might even be right… or maybe just luckier, or maybe your kids were just more capable than mine. In any case, you don’t say any kind of suggestion that “parents make poor decisions” here.

    (New parents DO make poor decisions. Sleep deprivation does that). Relevant? Maybe, maybe not.

  72. That '70s Mom June 27, 2015 at 6:41 am #

    The news of these ridiculous arrests isn’t going to stop me from doing what I think is right. If anything, I feel more empowered to leave my kids in the car, let them ride their bikes in our neighborhood, and basically do all that things that I, as their parent, feel they’re ready to do. Go ahead, arrest me. I dare you! I can’t wait for my day in court!!!

    FYI – i live in Rhode Island where the law says that a child under the age of 12 shouldn’t be left alone in a car or public place…but there’s caveat: “for a period of time that presents a substantial risk to the child’s health or safety.” It’s mildly ambiguous, but just specific enough (thanks to that adjective “substantial”) that i think it gives wide latitude to leave your kids alone in the car.

  73. Donna June 27, 2015 at 8:30 am #

    Margaret, why exactly can a 10 year old not be left in a car out of sight for more than 5 minutes? I leave my almost 10 year old home alone for a whole lot more than 5 minutes while I run errands. My almost 10 year old plays in the park alone for more than 5 minutes. My almost 10 year old takes the dog on long walks through town by herself that last more than 5 minutes. I don’t see sitting in car as being more dangerous such that it is only allowed for 5 minutes.

    I agree about leaving the car on for purely environmental and waste of resources reasons (at least for a 10 year old; I do think it is more dangerous for a preschooler), but you seemed to be saying that a 10 year old shouldn’t sit in a far out of sight for more than 5 minutes at all.

  74. dancing on thin ice June 27, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    Connecticut is looking at getting even tougher on hot cars by not holding busy bodies wanting to play hero responsible if they break a window to free a child.
    Connecticut can get warm but it rarely hits 100 degrees here.

    If lawmakers feel they must do something, specify how long, what the temperature INSIDE the car is and if the kids are capable of getting relief if it is too hot such as open a window.
    Better yet, require waiting for a police officer with an infared thermometer to test. Cooks use them by pointing them at a pan.

    http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB06963&which_year=2015

  75. James Pollock June 27, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    “I agree about leaving the car on for purely environmental and waste of resources reasons (at least for a 10 year old; I do think it is more dangerous for a preschooler)”

    I think a good rule of thumb is that a car that is running should have a person who is licensed to operate it inside.

  76. James Pollock June 28, 2015 at 12:05 am #

    “Connecticut is looking at getting even tougher on hot cars by not holding busy bodies wanting to play hero responsible if they break a window to free a child.”

    Several states will allow intervention to remove a dog from a hot car, too.

    “Connecticut can get warm but it rarely hits 100 degrees here.”
    It doesn’t have to be that hot to be dangerously hot inside the car. The smaller an animal is (small dogs, cats, infants) are less able to regulate their temperate than are larger ones (large dogs, house apes, adults).

    “If lawmakers feel they must do something, specify how long, what the temperature INSIDE the car is and if the kids are capable of getting relief if it is too hot such as open a window.”
    How is someone just coming across the situation supposed to know how long the infants been in there, or what the temperature is inside the car?

    “Better yet, require waiting for a police officer with an infared thermometer to test.”
    I want you to imagine the newspaper coverage if somebody comes across an infant in a car seat in a car in the sun, the infant clearly in distress but alive. Now… the Samaritan must summon a law officer… but, no bars, or even no cell phone. The Samaritan spends some time looking for a phone, finally finds one, summons law enforcement, then stands around waiting for a deputy to arrive. The deputy finally arrives, delayed by other calls, by a shift-change, or just because the nearest deputy was a long way away. The deputy instantly assesses the situation, and smashes the window, but… too late, the infant has perished.
    (probability says this is extremely unlikely to ever occur. Murphy’s Law says it happens the first sunny weekend after your law goes into effect.)

    Actually, people don’t need a new law to be allowed to smash a window to effect a rescue, if a rescue is actually required, and if you’re the sort of person who would complain that the person who saved your child had to break a window to do it, I don’t have much sympathy for you. The folks who do it to save dogs might have to pay for the window, or might not.

  77. MaryPatShelby June 28, 2015 at 8:40 am #

    @James Pollock: You’re a troll who needs to knock it off.

    You breaking down every comment, sentence by sentence, to tell the commenter how very, very wrong they are, and whether or not you agree, is getting out of hand.

    It’s helpful, generally, if you don’t simply disbelieve other people when they tell you their experiences and their experiences, thoughts, and feelings differ from yours. Most, if not all, other people turn out to not be you.

  78. Puzzled June 28, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    The bill to protect those who break windows from criminal and civil liability was introduced in the now-ended session, so CT is no longer “trying to” do anything. More to the point, getting 2 or 3 sponsors for something doesn’t equate to the state trying to do something.

    For James – the reason I opposed that bill was not that I didn’t want windows broken in a real emergency. It was that putting some, small cost on the act, as we do at present, makes it more likely that people will break the window only in an emergency. If you think a child is dying, you are not going to let the cost of the window stop you, or even enter your mind, most likely. If you’re insincere, love drama, whatever, it might stop you.

  79. James Pollock June 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    “the reason I opposed that bill was not that I didn’t want windows broken in a real emergency.”

    It’s already legal to do it in “an emergency”, and, even if it wasn’t, It wouldn’t stop the sort of person who’d bust out someone’s window. You’d need a statute, however, if you wanted to extend the definition. This is usually, though not always, an effort to extend protection to those who act to set a dog free from a hot car.
    Changing the law to make it harder to escape liability for acting to preserve life (whether one is talking about children or pets) is one that has a possibility of producing the newspaper coverage I suggested above, and therefore will not be supported by any politician.

    “@James Pollock: You’re a troll who needs to knock it off. ”
    May I suggest to you that, if you do not find my words pleasing to the eye or gentle on the mind, that you simply exercise your priceless right not to read them?

  80. Puzzled June 28, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    Let me be more clear. My understanding of the current CT law is that you can face civil charges even if it is a true emergency, and that you can face (very minor) criminal charges if, in fact, you are wrong – or a drama queen. In other words, it matters what the situation turns out to be. Of course, you don’t want to convict people who were acting in good faith and truly believed it was an emergency, so moreso, it matters what other facts are present. So it is relevant if the child is 16, if it’s 50 degrees out, and so on. The proposed law would have said it’s good enough to simply believe it is an emergency, and made such things as the actual temperature and age irrelevant, and extended to civil liability. In my view, the status quo is the right approach, and I have no desire to increase liability. I do say, though, that you should be able to be charged, and sued, and have to assert your belief that there was an emergency as a defense, so that the judge (or, rarely, jury) can decide if it seems reasonable to think you believed that.

    My understanding can be wrong. I’m not a lawyer, but it’s based on conversations with state reps – none of whom were lawyers either.

  81. James Pollock June 28, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    “Let me be more clear. My understanding of the current CT law is that you can face civil charges even if it is a true emergency,”
    The defense of necessity would cover an emergency involving a human being. It would not apply in cases of emergency involving a dog. Animal activists have been trying to get this changed.

    “that you can face (very minor) criminal charges if (it’s not an emergency).
    Criminal charges would be inappropriate if the person breaking the window thought it was necessary… which would seem to cover most cases where the person is still there when the police arrive. Civil charges for property damage apply unless breaking the window is the only way to save somebody’s life. So, for example, if you have a child who could have rolled down the window, but didn’t, you’d pay, but if it was an infant in a car seat, you wouldn’t.

    I’m not a lawyer, either, but I do have a legal education, and I’m describing the common-law view… actual statute may be different.

    As a GENERAL rule, if a person needs assistance, you won’t be punished for giving it, unless A) the clearly state that they do not want your assistance, or B) you attempt to offer aid, and are negligent in doing so, causing further injurty. As is always the case with law, some restrictions apply, and anyone who thinks they might be affected should seek advice about their own specific case with an attorney licensed in their jurisdiction.

    AFAIK, the law with regard to removing a child from a car is clear-cut, and the real fuss is whether people who act to rescue animals should be protected from liability..