Distracted Mom Forgets Baby in Shopping Cart, Cops Press Charges


An Arizona mom of four accidentally left her baby in his carseat in her shopping cart after she left the supermarket. The tot was spotted almost immediately by an off-duty cop and taken next door to a Supercuts where he remained, watched over by the locals, for 40 mins — which is the time it took for the mom, Cherish Peterson, to get home, realize her mistake, and rush back.

The KPHO/KTVK ihnbyrfyzy
correspondent reports tha
t, “Fortunately, the baby boy is uninjured and doing fine.”

Fortunately? Like, “Phew! Somehow the boy wasn’t mangled”? The kid was in a carseat in a stationary cart!  What’s the “fortunately” doing there?

It’s creating danger where there was none.

It’s the way the media and much of America automatically respond any time a child is unsupervised. The underlying assumption is that any moment spent outside a parent’s purview is a moment that the child could quite likely suffer grievous harm.  It’s the reason a panel of three judges convicted a New Jersey mom of “child abuse” for letting her toddler wait in the car for 5-10 minutes on a temperate day. Those judges said a “parade of horribles” could have rained down on her child — kidnapping, freezing, boiling, everything but locusts — so she was guilty for not acting to prevent all that danger.

All that exceedingly unlikely danger that the judges dreamed up.

Now look at the story in today’s Boston Globe magazine, “When Did Parents Get  are Parents So Scared?” The author interviews me talking about our child-danger obsessed culture, but ends by quoting John Walsh, the man whose son Adam was abducted and murdered more than 30 years ago. This is a common practice when reporters interview me: the “other side” they pair me with is a grief-stricken parent, making it seem as if we represent equal likely outcomes: A child growing up safe and sound, or being raped and murdered by a stranger.

The Globe piece ends with Walsh saying, “Children are a gift, and there are people who hunt them.” Like deer season. He then tells the writer to  prepare her kids for that possibility. “Give them the tools to make them safe, and maybe you’ll be one of those lucky ones.”

In other words: Maybe, just maybe, there’s an off-chance your child will live.

That’s the reason this story of the child in the shopping cart commanded over three minutes of airtime on the news. In any other era it might have been, if anything, a feel-good story of a ditzy mom helped by a kindly bystander, or one of those funniest home video moments. Instead, the mom is weeping on camera and confessing her sins as if she’s facing the electric chair.

The police are pressing child endangerment charges. But I’m hopeful that if this case ends up in court, the mom’s lawyer will refer to the NJ Supreme Court decision — 7 to 0 — just two weeks ago, that declared: Being an imperfect parent or having an imperfect day does not make a parent a criminal.

Leaving her kid in the cart is not something this mom did intentionally and she has no intention of doing it again. A screw-up isn’t unheard of. It isn’t abuse. It isn’t something to be judged. It isn’t news. And it most certainly isn’t a crime.

Maybe, just maybe, the court will understand this.

.azfamily.com 3TV | Phoenix Breaking News, Weather, Sport


This mom did not ABANDON her kid, she spaced out and hurried back to get him. (KPHO TV).

Let the parent who has never spaced out and done something dumb cast the first stone.  (KPHO/KTVK TV).


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108 Responses to Distracted Mom Forgets Baby in Shopping Cart, Cops Press Charges

  1. Suzanne August 30, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    For what it’s worth, I have a lot of friends and relatives in AZ, so my Facebook feed has been full of this. (I kept coming here, waiting for Lenore to comment!). While there are a ton of very mean people out there (I’ve never done this, so clearly she’s the devil!), all my friends and family are posting with #IstandwithCherish.

    I’m glad to see that happening.

  2. Roz August 30, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    My dad accidentally left me at home in my car seat all ready to go, went to the shops and my mum found me when she got home 10 mins later (asleep). My mum did not divorce my dad, ring the police! She checked I was okay, lightly scolded my dad and then for the next thirty years laughed about it.

    My mother in law left my sister in law in a buggy outside a shop and walked home. No one had even intercepted the baby who was exactly where she left her.

    Both sets of parents are respectable, professional people, not prone to abusing their kids.
    If in my family this has happened twice, it seems like a fairly harmless (if alarming) accident.
    Crazy what thirty years of paranoia can do.

    Roz, UK

  3. Kim August 30, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

    There are several episodes of the Dragnet radio version in which babies are left in strollers OUTSIDE the store while moms shop. There’s another radio show in which there’s a shooting outside a dance hall, and the police reluctantly let the people out of the hall to check on the multitudes of babies left in cars while the parents drank and danced. Different world! I’ve been scolded for letting my kids play in my fenced backyard.

  4. Michelle August 30, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    Every time I get in or out of my car, I have a moment of panic thinking I might have forgotten the baby. I’d love to live without that moment, but I know all too well that anyone can make that mistake. When my now almost 12yo was a baby, my husband and I BOTH forgot him in the back of the car when we went into a shop. It was one of those rare times that we got to go shopping without (most of) the kids, and we’d been enjoying the quiet for probably 5 minutes in the store before I remembered the baby. He was fine, not even upset, but I was a wreck!

    Anyone can make a mistake. The rest of us should be more forgiving when someone does.

  5. Steve August 30, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    Lenore, why not post some stories where parents are WITH their kids and could not or did not protect them, and terrible things happened. We need a bunch of those stories so that fearmongers can understand the truth.

    Here are 2 examples:



  6. Rachel August 30, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

    This is absolutely ridiculous. People used to INTENTIONALLY leave their infants outside grocery stores so they could get fresh air. There is a question about it in a Dr. Spock book I have. In Scandinavian countries it is common to leave your babies outside the store while you shop, or restaurant while you eat. In Finland (I think its Finland) ALL babies take naps outside, unsupervised, even when its freezing cold. Babies used to spend most of their day outside, only being brought in for feedings, baths, bedtime, etc. What the heck has happened to us????

  7. Julie C August 30, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    I have a friend who left her baby in his car seat on the floor of the family room while she went to get her older kid in the car. Drove the older one to school and then on to the baby’s doctor appointment. Showed up at the doctor’s and realized she’d left the baby at home! He was fine.

    I know of someone else who, after arriving home late from a weekend in the mountains, forgot that daylight savings time had kicked in (or out, can’t recall) and dropped her 1st grader off at school the next morning. Thought she’d had timed it perfectly as there were no cars or kids swarming all over the place. Turned out she’d dropped him off an hour early. She found that out when the school secretary got there and found her son huddled next to the office door and called to tell her her son was fine!

    It happens!

  8. Aimee August 30, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    Once, while at the library with 6 kids, I left my newborn on a bean bag in the corner. I had nursed her, she was sleeping, and I put her down for a minute to find a book for my 3yo. Of course then the 9yo needed something and the 7yo twins needed something and the friend of the 3yo needed something and I had to get all these kids’ books checked out, get one of them to the potty, and out to the car and buckled. At lunch time. On a rainy day.

    So after doing all that, I was buckling myself into the car and looked in the mirror to see the rear-facing carseat. I gasped. It was empty. I left the kids in the car (*horrors!*) and ran back inside. The librarian looked up from the desk, “Forget something?” I walked over to the corner where the baby was still asleep, nestled in the bean bag. I picked her up and turned to walk out. The librarian laughed and said, “Eh…we’d have called you when she woke up.”

    These things HAPPEN! My kids LOVE to laugh about it!

  9. karin cassidy August 30, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    I had a friend that got left behind at a gas station in Cal. Parents & the five other kids realized their mistake & went back, got her just fine. Of course it was the 70’s no cell phones, no beepers, kids didn’t have any tracking devices. My gosh how did we ever make it to adulthood!!

  10. Papilio August 30, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

    “Give them the tools to make them safe, and maybe you’ll be one of those lucky ones.”

    He must be DEVASTATED every time he manages not to win the lottery!

  11. lollipoplover August 30, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

    “A screw-up isn’t unheard of. It isn’t abuse. It isn’t something to be judged. It isn’t news. And it most certainly isn’t a crime.”

    My mother screwed up many times . I was the youngest of 10 and we had to do roll call when we got in the car so she could know she had everyone. She once left my sister(4) at a rest stop on the NJ Turnpike. We forgot her for a few hours. Many times my sister (2 at the time) would wander away while we lined up for outdoor showers at the shore and go and pick flowers, naked, and was picked up by police and returned happily. Another sister (1) wandered away to visit the new family that just moved down the street. The mom returned her too and they became lifelong friends.

    Newborns are exhausting. Having 4 kids to care for is very hard work, especially with lack of sleep. I feel nothing but empathy for this mom and her mistake. I could have easily made it myself.
    Stop judging, be helpful, and act as a community to help a mom who has her hands full.

  12. Stephanie August 30, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

    Shortly after my mom and Step-dad moved in together, my mom asked him to take me to school one morning. I was in 1st grade. So she drove off to her college class and he got me ready for school and dropped me off. I marched up the stairs into the building and he went off to work. When I got inside I was VERY excited because I was the first one there! I was never the first one there! I got to play with all the toys. About 2 hours later, my first grade teacher (a relative of a family friend, small town) showed up to pick up some papers from her desk. IT WAS A SNOW DAY! The school custodian was her brother and so she loaded me up in his truck and they drove me to my dad’s house. My poor mother had heard the school closing on the radio but was stuck in the snow 15 miles from home. No cell phones in 1984. I obviously lived to tell the tale. We’ve told that story about 100 times over the years, it’s a funny anecdote that my step-dad actually worked into his toast at my wedding. Stuff happens, this insanity needs to stop.

  13. Donald August 30, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

    The evidence is overwhelming that the world is getting crazy.

    It’s absurd to believe that people should not be allowed to make a mistake. It’s obvious that she didn’t intentionally abandon her baby. This public frenzy is the bigger enemy and this is what I’m exploring on my blog. (how the human brain can get out of control)

    Here is my latest page http://www.onmysoapboxx.com/practice

    The invisible gorilla http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/videos.html shows how even a loving mother can be so distracted to do such a thing. However society is hell bent on creating as many distractions as possible.

  14. Beth August 30, 2015 at 7:40 pm #

    When my daughter was an infant, she was a terrific sleeper. Half the time I didn’t know she was around….one evening, my husband got home from work ( I was still on maternity leave), we talked, and decided to hit Pizza Hut for dinner. Got in the car, drove down the block, until I said “STOP! WE HAVE A BABY!!”

    Fortunately (whew), she was uninjured and fine when we burst into her bedroom.

  15. Anna August 30, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

    My parents almost forgot to bring my brother along to his own baptism. He was all dressed and buckled into his infant seat, waiting to be put in the car, and my parents were distracted by getting the other four of us dressed, shod, out to the car, and strapped in. As I recall (though memory is unreliable and it is a family legend, perhaps embroidered) my dad had actually started the car and pulled out of the driveway before realizing they’d left him in the front hallway of the house. I’m sure every parent has done it at least once, or almost done it, anyway.

  16. Rachel August 30, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

    I remember panicking once thinking I had left my baby in the post office…it took me several seconds of wracking my exhausted mom-brain to figure out what on earth I had carried INTO the post office (um, the packages I shipped), because I knew I carried something in, but not out, yet somehow the baby was in the car. It was very confusing. Yup–left her sleeping in the car. At least I didn’t try to ship her. When there are other kids and a new baby and a tired mom running on autopilot, this happens a lot. Too bad the policeman didn’t just enjoy doing one of the better parts of his job.

  17. ChicagoDad August 30, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

    When my youngest was born we had 3 kids under age 5. Sleep deprivation was the norm for several months. I was so tired, that i would constantly lose my keys & phone. I even put my wallet in the fridge once.

    When i did sleep i had nightmares of me setting the baby bucket down in a parking lot while i buckled the older kids in, and then driving off, forgetting the baby. Fortunately, it remained just a nightmare. This could have been me. It could have been just about anyone.

  18. Donald August 30, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

    This is all about anxiety. It’s worry about worry about more worry.

    Many people are either

    worried about their own parenting
    worried how other parent will judge them
    wanting revenge

    At the same time the government is worried about getting sued or flogged in the news for failing to act. This is why she was charged.

    This is my first cartoon. I made it to print as a 4″ x 6″ photograph. You can download and save it on a usb and print it on a photo kiosk at Kmart


  19. Warren August 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

    We are missing the obvious. Had the kids been allowed to wait in an air conditioned car this never would have happened.

  20. Emily Morris August 31, 2015 at 4:25 am #

    Anna, we left my sister at the church after her Baptism! Everyone went to the little party except for the girl of the hour. Still laugh about that.

  21. Michelle August 31, 2015 at 7:57 am #

    “When my youngest was born we had 3 kids under age 5. Sleep deprivation was the norm for several months. I was so tired, that i would constantly lose my keys & phone. I even put my wallet in the fridge once.”

    Off topic, but it really concerns me that our society considers it normal for parents of small children to be sleep deprived. It may be common, but it’s not normal, and most humans throughout history did not live that way.

    I have 8 kids, mostly very close in age, and a couple of them were difficult babies. They all “slept through the night” from birth through the miracle of cosleeping. If you aren’t comfortable with that, there are baby beds that attach to your bed so you can slide baby into her own space.

    I know that some people really prefer cribs and nurseries, but I just wish more new parents even realized that sleep is an option.

  22. Vicki August 31, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    Before kids, I probably would’ve said she deserves to be charged with something. After kids, I now realize how easy it is to do something like this! I saw this on Fox News and the anchor started to say what if the baby had been kidnapped, blah blah blah. I thought: what if the mother and other children had been in a car accident on the way home and killed or injured (more likely than a kidnapping)…this baby would’ve been safe because his was accidentally left behind!

  23. CrazyCatLady August 31, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    Michelle, you are blessed to have kids that slept through the night. I will suggest that maybe they would have even without cosleeping. I was 18 when my sister was born, when my mom came home from the hospital, she slept through the night too, in her crib.

    My kids all coslept with me, and while it helped, I still did not get my required sleep the first few weeks with each while we worked on positions, latch and such. Newborns do not nurse on me in the same way they do when older, so it did mean I had to wake up and adjust and such. Probably due to breast size, nipple positions. Anyhow, I remember coming home from the 1 week check up that I insisted I could do on my own because the older two kids were sick and I didn’t want to drag them along with my mother. I stopped at a green light, then started to go when it turned red. Only went a few feet but it really scared me and I didn’t drive for a few more weeks after that. And scheduled appointments for after nap time.

  24. Cynthia812 August 31, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    When I was a baby, my mom and grandma left me with my dad and grandpa while they went shopping. my dad and grandpa were working on a project and needed to go to the hardware store. They didn’t even realize they had left me until they got back. I was still asleep in the crib. I have backed out of the garage before realizing the baby was in his carseat in the house. I have left the baby asleep in the car in the garage (fortunately at night so it wasn’t hot) for almost an hour before I remembered I had taken him with me. Things like this happen.

  25. MichaelF August 31, 2015 at 9:55 am #

    Funny how that Globe story goes along on a well balanced tangent to show that things are safer/not as risky as the media portrays it, then ends with the predator line from the local cop and John Walsh.

    David Anderegg has it correct with frequency overestimation, or as I would call it in my line of work “risk assessment”. You can assess the risks, of course you can assess them incorrectly, but that can happen at any place and any time. That’s why its called Risk.

  26. Neil M August 31, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    This to me feels like an extension of the modern idea that all of childhood misbehavior is a matter for the police. Schoolyard fights that in previous eras would have resulted in detention and chalkboard-washing now culminate in a trip to the police station and a criminal record.

    Although I think it’s disturbing that this woman forgot for more than 40 minutes that she even had a baby, I think we need to be careful about how we use prosecution. The question I find myself asking is, “What’s our goal?” Are we looking to strip this woman of her parental rights? To send her to jail? To place the child in foster care? If the answer to those questions is “yes”, then prosecution is the way to go. If we’re just looking to ascertain that she’s capable of raising a child, then I think we need to do something other than filing criminal charges.

  27. Kimberly August 31, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    I think a lot more newborns and infants sleep through the night than people are willing to admit. My daughter slept in a bassinet next to my bed for the first week, but we moved her into her own room when it became apparent that, after her 11pm feeding, she was dead to the world until about 7 or 8 the next morning. When my son was born, he also started off in the bassinet next to the bed, but he was just like his sister.

    When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was working at a Montessori school, so I had a lot of mothers telling me all the “bad” things I would get to experience — morning sickness, sleepless nights, etc. Anyone who has ever been pregnant knows what I’m talking about. When I returned to work and these same mom’s would come up, asking me how motherhood was treating me. It was like they were looking forward to the “I told you so” moment. The fact that I had “easy” babies seemed to bar me from the mom club. It’s amazing how snide women can get and I just learned to nod my head and say “uh-huh”.

  28. Kimberly August 31, 2015 at 12:25 pm #


    No where in any of the articles I’ve read regarding this case did she, or anyone else, claim that the mother “forget she even had a child”.

    This is the biggest problem people have when they read articles about situations like this. They don’t actually READ what is being written. My son has the same problem when he reads out loud. It’s like his brain determines what a sentence says before he gets to it, so then he adds or removes words that completely changes the sentence’s meaning. I have to constantly remind him to slow down and actually read the words that are printed.

    When we are sitting in judgment of other people, condemning their actions (even online), we should take the time to actually comprehend what is actually happening.

  29. Muriel Strand, P.E. August 31, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    a ratio of one adult to 4 kids might not be the best one for kids.
    you hear a lot these days from rightwingers pushing the wonders of the nuclear family, but you never hear them talk about the disappeared – the aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.
    am i missing something?

  30. Julie August 31, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    NeilM – She didn’t forget her child for 40 minutes…it was 20 minutes. And that make sense and is reasonable. For example, just about anywhere I go shopping, it takes about 15-20 minutes to get there. So if I didn’t realize the child was with me until I got home to unload everyone, it would take me 30-40 minutes total to get home, realize the mistake, and return to the scene immediately.

    For folks who live in suburbia, this may sound crazy when everything is “down at the corner.” But when you live in a rural community, 20 minutes of travel time is the norm.

  31. lollipoplover August 31, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

    “I know that some people really prefer cribs and nurseries, but I just wish more new parents even realized that sleep is an option.”

    I also had 3 in under 5 years. We were blessed with great sleepers with #1 and #3 but #2 was downright awful. I tried cosleeping. She was just a night owl (still is). It didn’t matter where she was, she woke up ALL the time (talking, totally awake) and I eventually quit my full-time job (which involved extensive travel) because I was so sleep deprived and had an incident where I almost drove off the road into a river (thank heavens for guard rails) after pulling a long night up with the baby.

    I’ve experienced good parenting sleep with 2 babies- and agree it is an option, but many parents deal with not only baby issues, but the viruses and health issues of all of their children that make sleep so precious for parents of youngsters. Some babies require a lot of attention at random times. She would call out from her crib the names of everyone in the family, Mom, Dad, Brother, pets, and keep calling until someone came in to see her and would go back and use our proper names when she didn’t get a response. Co-sleeping just meant she was in closer proximity to wake us up. She is 12 now, and still is the latest one up in our household (and loooves to sleep in) and knows how to close the house up at night.
    I gain a strange sense of satisfaction waking her up so early for middle school. It’s like revenge for what she put us through!

  32. Fiddler'sWife August 31, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    Yeah! Been there! Did that!!

    But think of this: ARIZONA! The cop (played by Holly Hunter) and the convict (played by Nicholas Cage) do the worst thing anyone can imagine! They kidnapped a kid! Because they loved him! And they went shopping for disposable diapers for the baby they loved!

    And then they over-did it! They forgot the baby! In the carseat! Right there in ARIZONA! And the infant’s name was ARIZONA.

    And that movie became something of a cult classic among teenagers, who are now parents and grandparents.

    Maybe that’s why all the comments are so positive! We were early conditioned to recognize this behavior as normal, in the sense of, “It could happen to anyone”.

    So, I am saying to my friends, “Do you remember that scene in RAISING ARIZONA? Where they put the baby’s carseat on the top of the car? And then…?

    I don’t suppose we could get a comment from the Coen Brothers?

  33. Gina August 31, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    No..disagree vehemently. A child in the sun for 40 minutes in Phoenix could definitely die. No charges maybe, but this is NOT a “no biggie” situation.
    Rachel: The air is not ‘fresh’ when it’s 112 degrees. Sorry!

  34. Alex August 31, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    This reminds me of the time I went to visit my sister and her family in Alaska, and while on our way from Anchorage to Talkeetna, my nephew and I accidentally got left behind at a convenience store. Sure, he was in his late teens and I was in my twenties, and neither of us had to worry about child predators…

    But Alaska *does* have bears.

  35. Cali70 August 31, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    It happens my daughter is 21 now.. but I did the exact same thing when she was 3…I I forgot her at a Walmart in a shopping cart… loaded the car got on the freeway.. looked back to see an empty car seat..went back to Walmart.. and she was still in the shopping cart at the register where i forgot her.. the cashier said I knew you would be back…never did again though…

  36. Warren August 31, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    And you know the baby was in direct sunlight, how? How do you know it wasn’t shaded under the over hang most stores and plazas have? Get off your high horse. It is no biggie.

  37. Emily Morris August 31, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    So I’m quoting I felt was a fairly awesome line from my local station’s thread on the topic (Which is largely “give the poor woman a break and let me share with you my crazy story”).

    ” ‘Parent makes mistake, nobody harmed’, seems like that headline plays out daily”

    Very true.

  38. Havva August 31, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

    @Neil M,
    It isn’t remotely accurate, never mind fair, to characterize this as “this woman forgot for more than 40 minutes that she even had a baby”. First of all, about 1/2 the time was spend driving back to get the baby. So at most she forgot for 10 minutes. But I highly doubt she forgot “she even had a baby” even for 10 minutes. Some people have quiet babies that aren’t constantly announcing their presence at 120 decibels. I wasn’t so bless, but my daughter now at 4 can get really, really quiet for long stretches. And since she is exceedingly small and still rear facing, I’m getting a taste of what it must be like to have a quiet baby. Since it is a fairly normal state, I don’t worry if I haven’t heard anything for 10, 20, …60 minutes from her. I sometimes assume she has fallen asleep, but I am often wrong about that. There are quite a few times when, from the front seat, her reading a book, and her not present at all are indistinguishable conditions. If the baby seat was situated behind the driver’s seat, I could certainly see a mom thinking about logistics involving the baby such as feeding, and putting away the load of diapers, or what toy might entertain the baby while she cooks dinner etc. Basically lost in thoughts involving the baby without realizing the normally quite little one wasn’t actually present. I’ve also noticed what @Kimberly has said, lots of people rush to judgment and don’t actually read the words in front of them. On CNN’s version of this story I saw a commenters saying you “have to” return the cart and there is “no way” you don’t see the baby in the cart when you return it. Despite the fact that the CNN article specifically stated the mother didn’t return the cart.

  39. Contact INFO August 31, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    Hey, All,

    Some contact information for the Gilbert Police Department. I couldn’t find any email addresses!

    Non-emergency #: 480-503-6500

    Mail: Gilbert Police Dept.
    75 E. Civic Center Drive
    Gilbert, AZ 85296

  40. Kimberly August 31, 2015 at 2:19 pm #


    Once again, I reiterate my comment that people should actually READ what is written instead of creating their own dialogue to fit what they THINK the facts are.

    It has been quite clearly stated in every single article that the baby was almost immediately noticed by an off-duty police officer. So no, the child did not spend 40 minutes in the sun.

  41. Kimberly August 31, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

    I find it interesting that people are so ready to jump on the condemnation bandwagon in an effort to show why a simple lapse in judgment is so bad because it is just so easy to be a perfect parent. Yet, if we were truly honest with ourselves, there is at least one decision that EVERY parent has made that, if made public on the internet, would lead to the very same vitriol this poor mother is experiencing. Every person, parent, dog-owner, aunt, uncle, family friend, etc., has their own view of what it takes to be a perfect parent and there is not a single parent out there that fits neatly within other people’s “perfect parent” boxes. Hell, I doubt there is a single parent out there that has NEVER second guessed their own decisions in regards to their children. If you can doubt yourself, yet still be a great parent, why can’t someone else?

  42. Barb August 31, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    I happen to live where this happened and while I don’t believe the mom should be punished for her mistake I think the fortunately the baby is fine fits in this case because it took her 40 mins to get back to the store and it was well over 100 degrees outside that day. If someone had not noticed the baby quickly he could have suffered from heat.

  43. Kate August 31, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    And on the subject of sleep deprivation, it is amazing how rough it is. My oldest was a good sleeper, followed all the milestones for sleep as if she read the book. My second is currently 16 months. She doesn’t sleep. She won’t fall asleep til after 10. She is not a good napper and she still wakes in the night.
    It takes such a mental and physical toll. I can understand this situation completely.

  44. Warren August 31, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    So from now on when Mom gets home from work, and Dad looks at her “Where’s John/Jill, you were going to pick him/her up after work at soccer?”, who do we charge with a crime? Mom for forgetting or Dad for not calling to remind her?

  45. EricS August 31, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

    I have mixed views when it comes to this. Most stories we hear about are parents KNOWINGLY leaving their kid(s) in the car, because they are going in and out of a store. Which is completely understandable, and I don’t find wrong (as long as they took necessary steps to make sure their child will be okay in the duration of the time they are left alone). In this case though, there is no detail as to why she forgot her baby. And this is where I sit on the fence. If she was having a crazy day, and trying to accomplish a bunch of errands within a certain period of time, then yes. Understandable. It happens, I’m sure, to many.

    BUT…and I’ve seen this happen, as well as hearing about it, mothers who are distracted…wait for it…by their MOBILES. Too busy FB’ing, Instagraming, Selfing, texting, etc… THIS is something I cannot excuse. This isn’t your innocent and excusable “distraction”. This is just down right, imo, irresponsible. And at 27 years old, I can see this being A reason for her “distraction”. I’m not passing judgement on her. I don’t know the reason. I don’t think anyone will ever know the reason, unless they pull up her phone records and see if she was on her mobile during the time she left her kid.

    IF that was the case, I truly hope that she learned and extremely valuable and mandatory lesson. Unless it’s a matter of life and death, stay off your mobile. Especially when driving in the car with children. Yes, I see this a lot when I’m driving or riding my bike. Your need for “Likes” and recognition on social media, is NEVER more important than the well being of your children. If you have your kids with you, stay off the mobile, unless it’s taking pics of them, that you can LATER (at the comfort of your own home) post to social media. Or you absolutely need to make a call or text.

  46. Buffy August 31, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    Hey Barb, if you live where this happened you know how hot it gets, and you know that people aren’t dropping dead all over the place from the heat. Gosh, I bet some people in your area and other hot climates don’t have air conditioning, and they aren’t all dropping dead. So why would this baby?

  47. EricS August 31, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    @Gina: The baby WASN’T left outside for 40min. It took the mother 40min to realize and return for her baby. According to the story, an off-duty police officer spotted the baby shortly after the mother had left, and brought the baby into the hair salon. Just want to make sure you have the story right. Don’t want to be spreading non-accurate accounts. 😉

  48. Curious August 31, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    Boston has that psychologist-columnist freaking them all out. Other regions are more stable.

  49. Catherine R August 31, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    In a tell all session with a group of very committed, sendible mothers, the following were confessed.
    One mother put her baby’s infant carrier on the top of her car and started to drive off.
    One mother didn’t remember to secure her child’s car seat for a 8 hour drive.
    One mother found her child in a construction site after she popped next door for a cup of sugar during nap time, and the toddler climbed out of her crib.
    One mother drove home and forgot to pick her son up from Boy Scouts.
    All of these were serious lapses in memory and really were not funny. The point is that out of the 1,000,000 of acts of maternal care needed to raise a child, some will be screwed up. It’s human nature not a crime to have memory lapses. It’s a statistical certainty.
    Everyone of the children involved survived to adulthood and they are all doing just fine. Their mothers are enjoying a well earned break before grandmotherhood starts up.
    P.s. I’m the one who forgot to secure the car seat.

  50. Agent0013 August 31, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    Is she is being charged with child endangerment, then shouldn’t the cop be charged with kidnapping?

  51. Jenny Islander August 31, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    @Michelle: The less waking up Mom has to do in the night, the better! Putting babies in their own rooms doesn’t build character or teach anybody anything except that not getting enough sleep sucks. Co-sleeping, sidecars, and/or semi-sleeping breastfeeding in bed for the win.

    That said, some babies can’t stand being around people when they sleep, some crawl around on their parents while asleep, and a few are just plain loud. (GRUNT! Mumble-mumble, nyaaaah, achoo.) And not everybody has functioning built-in bottles of convenience. This too shall pass, moms and dads. Hang in there.

  52. Kimberly August 31, 2015 at 4:43 pm #


    The police officer that found the child did nothing wrong. He found a child that had been left in a shopping cart and moved it to a safer area, where (presumably) the police were called. On face value, no actions that had been taken so far are in any way inappropriate.

    Even after this story originally broke, the local police spokesperson stated that the mother wouldn’t face charges. The DA, however, changed their mind — presumably due to public outrage.

    Shit happens. If I found a small child, or infant, wandering around or obviously left behind, I shouldn’t be afraid to contact the authorities to report the lost child. Where the problem begins is with local DA’s and Child Protective Services determining that the the parent has committed a crime.

  53. Catherine R August 31, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    Off topic but illustrates point. I was driving very slowly along a very quiet country lane. A beautiful dog, just like mine was running behind. I admired His stamina, and thought that mine wasn’t that fit. It was mine. I took him for a walk and forgot to put him back in the car. He’d run about two miles. Bless him.

  54. robin lepa August 31, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

    Maybe it’s just me, YOU DO NOT FORGET YOUR BABY!!!!!

  55. traci August 31, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    People need to give this mom a break! I totally understand how this can happen because new moms have “new mom brain” from lack of sleep and she was also was distracted by her other kids. I also left my new baby in a car seat in the grocery store and started to walk away when people stopped me. I was utterly mortified and embarrassed. There wasn’t any harm done, thankfully the baby was found quickly. Believe me she’ll never do it again!

  56. Neil M August 31, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

    Kimberly, I didn’t think I was judging anyone, but YMMV. I think you’re just not taking “yes” for an answer.

  57. Rook August 31, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

    How the heck do you ever forget your kid!? I never forgot my kid when I was herding a bunch of toddlers and the other three weren’t even mine. I’m a pretty far cry from a “helicopter parent” but I’ve never forgotten him! The media lynch mob is ridiculous. As always. Stupid media. At most all this woman would need would be that one old woman that’s always present at your worst moments to give you THAT LOOK. Every mom knows that old woman and that look. You look down to you grocery list and that’s all the time your kid needs to make a dash to the pickle jar three feet away and smash it on the floor. Or in my case, my toddler let out a bloodcurdling scream because he was that excited to be on the Koolaid aisle.

  58. ChicagoDad August 31, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    So what is the thinking among people who believe that ordinary, decent parents cannot accidentally leave behind a child? Why do they believe it is somehow impossible for parents who love their kids to make this error? Do they think that Mom is an evil monster, and really did this on purpose? That she is coldly indifferent to the fate of her children, like a lizard would be towards its hatchlings? That she is so self-absorbed that she would overlook the safety of her own children?

    My armchair psychology reads it thusly: Having never really come to terms with their own limitations, these sanctimommies subconsciously recognize the potential for themselves to suffer a similar lapse. When they glimpse this potential within themselves, they recoil in horror, ashamed and angry that they could cause or suffer a similar predicament. Their anger is reinforced by a culture willing to blame mothers for everything that can go wrong in a child’s life, as well as the shared outrage among other parents who likewise have never tested and overcome their own limits. Or perhaps they don’t have firsthand experience witnessing the routine errors and failures that ordinary people suffer when under pressure. Either way, my armchair prescription would be for those with judgment and venom in their veins to go out and test themselves, push themselves as far as they can, and learn what they are really capable of.

  59. James Pollock August 31, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

    “Gosh, I bet some people in your area and other hot climates don’t have air conditioning, and they aren’t all dropping dead. So why would this baby?”

    Babies are less able to regulate their body temperatures than are larger children and adults, so they can have problems with heat in temperatures that larger children and adults are just fine in. Self-mobile children can also relocate to shade, while infants generally cannot. (of course, they’re also likely to make a lot of noise, and attract the attention of someone who can and will move them to a cooler place. Luck of the draw, mostly… is there someone else nearby? Will they actually do something, or be afraid of touching someone else’s kid, or just figure it’s someone else’s problem? Usually the child will win but not always.

    When people die in the heat, it’s because they’re less able to deal with it… they’re very young ,very old, or very ill.

  60. Mommala August 31, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

    I have 4 children myself, ages 20 months to 18 years. I still can’t fathom how people can forget their kids.
    That said, I don’t think this woman is a bad parent or deserves to have charges pressed on her. I’m sure she’ll beat herself up enough & never forget it.

  61. Beanie August 31, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    One time my mom took someone’s baby while shopping at Wal-Mart. She had taken her hands off her cart, then started walking with the cart again. She didn’t realize she had taken the wrong cart–with a baby in it!–until many aisles later, when she bent down to put in an item. She ran back through the store to where she had left her own cart, with her entire purse still sitting in it, and found the distraught mom and the store manager. Turns out that she sort of knew the store manager from her grandchildren’s school, which made it all the more embarrassing. I guess in this case both parties could have been charged–my mom with kidnapping, and the baby’s mom with neglect. It’s a great story for our family, and I wonder if that baby’s family tells the story too.

  62. abby August 31, 2015 at 10:43 pm #

    I can see leaving behind items you bought but never your child

  63. gail August 31, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

    To the mother. I once had 5 children with me shopping and left the baby under the counter in my local drug store. I had to run out with all of them, while I was in the drug store my 10 year old was next door picking up some thing at a small grocery store. He and I met in front of the store and put the kids in the car forgetting the baby. When I arrived home my pharmacist was calling on the phone to tell me I had forgotten something. It even then took me a minute to realize what I had done. My child thank goodness was safe as they knew me well, but it can happen. I am just glad this happened 35 years ago when rightest people could not make mean comments on the internet. Just go with what ever happens and try to leave it behind. Anyone can make a mistake and God bless you for having 4 children. You will get through this.

  64. Babs August 31, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

    Anyone who has ever been a mom KNOWS that we are not perfect! This clearly was unintentional. The mom went straight back when she realized what happened. My mom left me in a store in another country and it was hours before she realized I wasn’t in the back seat. Funny….in those days the police weren’t called. The store owners just took care of me until my mother came back HOURS later. Do we always have to think the worst about people? Is this what the media has done to us. Give her a break!!!

  65. Betsy September 1, 2015 at 1:37 am #

    My 4 year old hid under a table while I cleaned up after a church activity. For some reason he thought I’d left him. When I found him–cheeks tear stained and eyes puffy, I took him in my arms and told him I’d never ever leave him. The next weekend I drove (by myself) with 5 children to California. We made a quick stop for gas. Said 4 year old disobeyed me and got out of the car to go to the bathroom without telling anyone. I jumped back in the car and drove down the road, and then did what I always did–role call. When I got to said 4 year old, the older kids replied, “He’s not here.” I thought they were pulling a joke on me, so I kept driving. When they finally convinced me he really wasn’t in the car, I turned around and raced back to the gas station. The kind man there had already put him in his car to come look for my big ugly suburban.
    That 4 year old is now 30 and a great father and has not been scarred for life. If that had happened now, I’d probably be facing the same charges as Cherish. Let’s show a little grace folks. If all parents were under a microscope, we’d all fall short of “society’s” definition of a good parent. (Oh, and this isn’t the first time this precocious 4 year old wandered off.)

  66. sexhysteria September 1, 2015 at 3:33 am #

    A parade of horribles: local, state, and federal government intervention.

  67. Sarah September 1, 2015 at 4:10 am #

    There’s a Wapo article from years back that explains how one forgets a baby in a car. It’s a long read but well worth it.


  68. Buffy September 1, 2015 at 6:59 am #

    Oh, thank goodness the santimommies (and sancti-anti-cell phoner) have shown up.

    Did any of you read any of our posted stories about how kids can be unintentionally forgotten? Do you really think those parents don’t love or care about their kids? Actually, yes, you probably do.

  69. Elin September 1, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    Someone commented on Scandinavian countries and leaving your child outdoors. I am from Sweden and I really want to add some nuance to this as it is often thrown around either as a bad or good example on American websites.

    It is true that most parents here would leave their sleeping baby on their patio, balcony, in the yard of their house quite freely and not see any problem with this. It is definitely true that children are outside almost at any temperature even when they are babies. However, the idea that people leave their children outside stores left and right isn’t really true. I have never ever heard of anyone leaving a child outside a grocery store which can easily allow you to roll the pram/stroller in and I would say that most people would not leave their child outside any store unless they have an opportunity to keep close watch at them. When it happens it is usually outside small stores with steps that are hard to get a pram into or in cafes that might have a patio outside where the pram can be left and most of the time if you would do so, the parent/s would sit just inside looking out the window to see if the child is awake or not. There are regional differences in all Scandinavian countries with regards to this and of course differences between people but I have tried to go with what most people would agree with. Those living in a smaller town are probably going to be more at ease with leaving their child outside.

    I think the story in the article would cause quite some stir here as well although I don’t think most people would want this mother prosecuted but probably that she was in fact checked by the social services to rule out the reason being drug use or neglect. If everything was fine I think most people would have wanted her to be left alone.

  70. MomOf8 September 1, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    It really could happen to any distracted mom with a bunch of little kids. Those who condemn her more than likely don’t bring their kids shopping. Or don’t have kids. My heart goes out to her.

  71. Beth Keezhig September 1, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    My younger sister was left everywhere: k- mart, garage sale, even Disney world. She survived. She’s extremely independant and a great navigator, so maybe it even benefited her lol

  72. MichaelF September 1, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    “Even after this story originally broke, the local police spokesperson stated that the mother wouldn’t face charges. The DA, however, changed their mind — presumably due to public outrage.”

    Great, let the shunning begin!!

    Since when does the public begin to determine who gets charged? Are we living on Survivor now?

  73. lollipoplover September 1, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    Welcome “I WOULD NEVER….” Sanctimommy Society. Welcome.

    May you never experience the judgmental pointy fingers of others for your perfect human behavior.

  74. SKL September 1, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    I’ve heard many good moms admit they briefly forgot about their newest baby when juggling other responsibilities.

    Myself, I once rushed to help a friend who had a flat tire one night. Only after I was driving away did I remember that I had two babies sleeping in their cribs at home. Oops. I think I was probably sleep deprived, like most new moms.

    What has happened to make cops so ready to press charges for unintentional mistakes that didn’t hurt anyone? How does this help any of that woman’s kids?

  75. Havva September 1, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    Just another data point on the kids sleeping outside in the recent history of the US. In Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (or perhaps it was Hello, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle). There was a bully and the evidence of what a nasty little kid he was included a passing mention that he had overturned a baby carriage with a sleeping baby in it, outside the grocery store. The quick passing of this reference in the list of sins made it pretty clear that of course there were babies asleep in front of grocery stores.

  76. SKL September 1, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    She probably thought about putting her kid in the car seat, got distracted by something else, and then thought she had put him in the car seat. When you’re driving, you can’t see if there is a wee baby in a rear-facing car seat. Then you get home and go to take the baby out, and he’s not there, so you rush back. That doesn’t sound odd to me at all.

    Actually it’s kind of amazing this doesn’t happen more often.

  77. Emma September 1, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    hey retard! aka Lenore Skenazy

    you are an ignorant bitch. it’s Mr Walsh’s fault adam died and he’s bad for not wanting it to happen to someone else?

    you fucking cunt!

    maybe if fucking cunts like your fat mama were properly taken care of and fixed to prevent breeding other fucking cunts like YOU wouldn’t be here and Adam would be alive!

    but then again we HAVE to have fucking cunts like you around to lead this “free range” movement as if our kids were animals

    because free unhindered animals are easier to capture. Got to help your fellow pedos find their pray by making sure there’s pray to find huh?

  78. JulieC September 1, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    Emma sweetie – two things.

    1. It’s “prey” not “pray”. You can look it up. You did spell the c word correctly so good for you!
    2. Time to see the doctor about getting your meds adjusted.

  79. Warren September 1, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    Probably does happen more often, just with parent shaming, and social media shaming sprees, people don’t let it be known, that they did it.

    You know 30 yrs ago if you were to tell a group at work you did that they would get a good laugh. Today, you would be branded, drawn and quartered.

  80. Papilio September 1, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

    @Emma: “hey retard! aka Lenore Skenazy”

    Thank you for the explanation, I would not have guessed you were talking to Lenore. (Seriously!)

    “you are an ignorant bitch.”

    Are you sure? She doesn’t look very canine to me. Maybe you should check the source of your information.

    “it’s Mr Walsh’s fault adam died and he’s bad for not wanting it to happen to someone else?”

    I think you slightly misunderstood..

    “you fucking cunt!”

    Not sure what this line adds to your message, but aren’t you contradicting yourself here? Just a second ago she was a female dog, and now she’s become a vagina having intercourse. A canine vagina having intercourse perhaps? If not, you’re really losing me here.

    “maybe if fucking cunts like your fat mama”

    So her mother was a vagina having intercourse too? I guess it runs in the family. Btw I’ve seen a picture, but that lady sure wasn’t fat. Are you sure you have the right mama in mind?

    “were properly taken care of and fixed to prevent breeding”

    This sounds like we’re back to dogs. At least there’s some continuity in your comment – whew!

    “other fucking cunts”

    ALL those possibilities in the English language and you stick to vaginas having intercourse. Pathetic, Emma. You should really expand your vocabulary. At the very least you could have switched to ‘other anuses’ for some variation.

    “like YOU wouldn’t be here and Adam would be alive!”

    Are you sure Adam was killed by a vagina having intercourse? Sounds kinda implausible to me. How would that even work? Can they walk? Would little boys already be interested enough in vaginas for those to be able to lure them off the street? So many questions, so few answers…

    “but then again we HAVE to have fucking cunts like you around to lead this “free range” movement”

    I knew you’d have one fact straight. Good girl!

    “as if our kids were animals because free unhindered animals are easier to capture.”

    I’m not so sure about that, Emma. I suspect wild animals are actually a lot harder to catch than pets that just sit there meowing at you to come feed them.

    “Got to help your fellow pedos”

    ‘Fellow’?! So now she’s a canine vagina having intercourse with/thinking of a puppy? You’re putting the weirdest images in my head. If I’ll need therapy, can I send you the bills?

    “find their pray by making sure there’s pray to find huh?”

    Is she sponsoring dog breeders or something?? Pet shops? Dog walkers? What? Do tell!

  81. lollipoplover September 1, 2015 at 6:22 pm #


    I am not a very religious person, but based on your ignorance and offensive language, I’m going to prey for you.

    Also, the use of the “R” word is never acceptable. Ever.
    The best response I’ve ever seen about this came from an ambassador for Special Olympics and it was for Ann Coulter, who used this word to describe the President. Here is the letter he wrote her. Perhaps you could learn some lessons and some class from this gentleman:

    “Dear Ann Coulter,

    Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

    I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

    I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.

    Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.

    Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.

    Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more.

    After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.

    I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.

    Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.

    No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.

    Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.

    A friend you haven’t made yet,
    John Franklin Stephens”

  82. Puzzled September 1, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

    I feel like I’m in a sit-com scene where a bunch of people are having a polite conversation in a bar, a person comes in ranting and raving loudly, then leaves, and the people turn to each other and say “what was that all about?”

    So, what was that all about?

  83. Papilio September 1, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    @Puzzled: For once you live up to your name! 😉

  84. Gina September 1, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

    Emma,,respectful discourse is welcome here. Name-calling and nastiness is not.



    It’s over 100 in the shade here on summer days.

    No high horse, I’m certainly not a perfect parent. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, some bad ones. BUT, I have never endangered my child’s life..I have 5 kids and now I nanny two toddlers. When they are with me they are the priority on my mind. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
    I have forgotten to pick up a 17-year-old at high school. I have slammed a car door on my 7-year-old’s finger (accidentally)….etc.
    In 31 years, I have never:
    Forgotten a baby was with me
    Forgotten to close and lock a pool gate
    Forgotten to buckle a child into a safety seat

    I don’t believe that there should be charges pressed, but I will NOT “Stand with Cherish”.

  85. Donna September 1, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

    Didn’t the British Prime Minister forget his child in a pub a couple years ago? Now we are prosecuting people for this?

  86. DirtyHooker September 1, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

    I forgot my 2-year-old in the car today, for about 7 seconds. I am under a fair amount of stress right now, and I was absorbed in other thoughts. I walked a few feet away from the car, then remembered and walked back.

    It probably would have been fine even if I hadn’t remembered almost immediately. I was in the store for fewer than 5 minutes. I’m glad I remembered mostly because I was afraid “Good Samaritans” were going to call the cops.

  87. ChicagoDad September 1, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

    Why would anyone choose to live in Arizona? I’ve been to Phoenix in the summer, hated it. I mean, if 10 minutes outside can apparently give an infant heat stroke, or kill them, and 5 minutes in a car without AC can apparently give a grade schooler heat stroke, or kill them, why wouldn’t you move? It sounds as inhospitable as the surface of Mars. Perhaps the negligent act is raising kids in Arizona.


  88. DirtyHooker September 1, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

    Emma, if you’re going to post that kind of rant, please make sure you:

    1) Learn how to use your caps key and period key in order to correctly capitalize the beginning of sentences and punctuate the end of sentences. This is especially important if you’re going to start by calling someone a retard.

    2) I hope it felt really good to vent your spleen like that, but it makes you irrelevant to anyone who can string sentences together.

    3) Your reliance on “fucking cunt” suggests that you don’t know any other insults. There are lots of fun, colorful ones. I’m partial to “bint.” Like: “Emma, you silly bint, stop posting barely literate comments on blogs and go take your meds.”

  89. Meg September 1, 2015 at 8:34 pm #


    She didn’t forget the baby in the car, though.
    She forgot the baby in the shopping cart-under the little overhang thing, where he was buckled into his seat.
    If you watch her video, she explains what happened. Essentially, she had a change in her routine, and had to load another child first, as he/she was trying to climb out.
    Her brain went on auto pilot, and she thought the baby was already in the car, as he normally would have been.

    This, to me, seems very different from a parent who knowingly leaves her child in a hot CAR and goes in a store to do errands.

    As to how anyone can forget his/her baby, I urge you to read the article linked to above. It’s rather well

    I’ve never forgotten a baby, but my younger son was once lost at a ski resort for about 20 of the longest minutes of my life. I’ve had to call poison control more times than I like to admit, and I’ve had to take one of my two children to the ER three times. It’s a good thing I wasn’t prosecuted based on what Could have happened.

    I am not nearly as free range as most of the posters on this site, and I am rather vehemently opposed to leaving children in cars. However, this story is so clearly the story of a caring mother who made a mistake that would have been laughed about in any other era.

    One of the really alarming things about it to me, is that it sounds like there wasn’t going to be any prosecution at all, until the court of Facebook weighed in. Heaven help us if that is now how we decide who should be prosecuted. I don’t know very many parents who would be found not guilty in the eyes of all the perfect parents who populate social media.

  90. Melanie September 1, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    I’m very much a free-range mom, and I don’t advocate criminally prosecuting parents for mistakes (or even for intentional decisions that others mistakenly interpret as mistakes!). However, I really don’t believe it is normal to completely forget your kid and leave them in a public place. That’s not a responsible parenting move, even if it was unintentional. So let’s not pretend like it is. I hope the cops drop the charges, but I also hope this mom learns from that mistake and/or receives some additional support.

  91. Warren September 1, 2015 at 9:50 pm #


    Don’t care what the temp can get to in the shade. Your original rant said in the sun.

    Next, I will call you out as the liar you are. You say that your kids are your number one priority at all times? Then slamming the car door on your child’s fingers was intentional? Even if it was a mistake, just like this lady, you should be charged with abuse and endangerment.

    You’re a joke. Your mistake did cause harm, when you slammed the door on the fingers. Yet, no harm was caused in this lady’s case. But you feel you have the right and are superior enough to judge. I will let you in on a little secret…………….you are nowhere near as perfect as you like to present yourself. Get off your high horse.

  92. hineata September 2, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

    Wow, just ridiculous. I have forgotten one baby after leaving her on the floor of the van..luckily in our driveway. All of my friends have similar stories….one even left a child behind at a supermarket and drove 100km down the road before having to return for him, though that was a case where 7 children were spread between 2 cars. Gosh, even Jesus managed to get left behind.

    These should just be funny stories to tell the kids when they are older. What a crazy culture we’re becoming.

  93. Beth September 2, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    @Melanie, have you read ANY of the 20+ stories posted right here in the Free Range comment section about unintentionally forgotten kids? It happens. To loving parents, who don’t need “additional support” because of what you would call an irresponsible parenting move. I’m glad that you’re a perfect parent, but allow the rest of us a boneheaded move once in awhile without thinking that the cavalry needs to come in and save us.

  94. Gina September 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

    Papillo…I am laughing SO hard right now!!! Thank you. I keep picturing a disembodied vagina having intercourse!

    Warren…as usual, you have misread, misunderstood and misquoted me. I do NOT believe this woman should be charged with a crime. I

    I am NOT (and far from) a perfect parent. Have never said that I was…not even once. On any board during any discussion. Yes, we all make mistakes…my examples were to accept responsibility for those mistakes and believe me there are plenty more.

    BUT, if you live in the desert and you are caring for a preverbal child who cannot get out of any situation, you CANNOT forget that child is with you….you just can’t. Because if you do, that child could die. It’s really that simple. I reiterate…I do not believe this woman should be charged with a crime..But I damn well do judge a parent who forgets they have a baby with them in any situation. And I really believe that you and many others on this board do NOT truly understand the kind of heat we are talking about.
    It is DEADLY in a very short time.
    When I said my kids are my number one priority at all times, I should have been more specific. I meant when they are too young to take care of themselves. Obviously, my mind was distracted when I shut the door on my daughter’s finger., but she was 7, not 7 weeks. It’s different.

  95. Nicole September 2, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

    I want to say I don’t understand the point of judging here if you don’t want her persecuted or to have some repercussions. But then I remember what a fun past time it seems to be to judge others. For those who have never left their baby, or done anything that ever put their child at risk, good for you, although it’s hard to believe (as is mentioned all the time, driving in a car comes with a risk of death). What on earth does that have to do with this woman unless you think she is a bad parent who’s children are now in danger? Who’s baby is fine by the way. I think the fact the police found and kept the baby cool means our village is working. Not that the baby just barely narrowly escaped death.

    Gina – how can you say “you CANNOT forget that child is with you” – what if I said “you CANNOT slam your child’s fingers in a car” – but then you did. Clearly she can and did, as probably many others have, and her baby was ok. Your daughter’s finger could have become infected and she could have died. Possibly that baby was at a higher risk, but we are all at risk of something and accidents happen.

  96. Donna September 2, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

    Gina – People CAN and DO forget babies in all sorts of climates. We are not talking about an intentional act, like jogging, that you can simply choose not to do because it is hot. We are talking about a completely unintentional act over which there is absolutely no control. There is simply not some heat index at which forgetfulness, distraction and autopilot cease to exist. Good god, if I had a penny for everything that I really wanted to remember but still forgot, despite living in a miserably hot climate, I would be a millionaire. If I had a penny for every time I got distracted despite really needing to focus, I’d be up to a billion.

    I also think that maybe you should live someplace else. I know many people who live/have lived in Arizona and the California desert. None of them go as on and on about the heat as you do. None of them view their very existence as threatened by being outside for a few minutes.

  97. Buffy September 2, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

    If the heat is that deadly in AZ, why aren’t people dropping dead on the sidewalks?

    I’ve been in AZ in the summer, it IS freaking hot, but I didn’t die, nor did my husband. Nor did anyone I saw outside drop dead, and there were even children.

    Maybe there’s a different definition of deadly that I’m unaware of?

  98. lollipoplover September 2, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    @Buffy- Maybe CPS should just declare all of Arizona unfit for children. Unless children can be in a constant state of refrigeration, they WILL spontaneously combust in high temperatures like Arizona’s.

    I would NEVER raise a child in such a dangerous climate like Arizona.

  99. Warren September 2, 2015 at 9:29 pm #


    You really need to stop while you are behind. What has the desert got to do with anything? Tell you what, come up here to Ontario. Not even close to being a desert, but I will take 90 degrees in Arizona over 90 degrees up here, plus the humidity. The humidex is over a hundred on days like that. Or what about our winters. Minus 20 is nothing up here.

  100. Donna September 2, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    Warren, Not to defend Gina, but 90 degrees would be an almost unheard of cool summer day in Phoenix. 110 is more like it. It is not the instant death that Gina wants to make it, but it is definitely a level of hot beyond what you will ever experience in Canada until global warming gets a whole lot worse. Personally, I find Georgia weather more unbearable than anything Arizona deals out, but I don’t like the high humidity.

  101. SKL September 3, 2015 at 12:28 am #

    It’s a good thing nobody ever raised children in Arizona before air conditioning was invented. 😛

    I love the logic that you “can’t” *forget* something when the conditions make it dangerous. That is ridiculous. Unless you are a computer, you “can” forget regardless of conditions.

    And sometimes, though rarely, a child dies because a parent forgot something. In all sorts of conditions. The word “tragedy” is needed because we can’t eliminate accidental deaths.

  102. Puzzled September 3, 2015 at 12:47 am #

    I was in Phoenix in May. I found it unbearable, and that’s not even the summer. Getting into a car was always unpleasant, and even walking around outside got tiring much faster than I was used to. I do note that I survived. I think that a child in a shopping cart is safer in that weather than a child in a closed car, although neither is ideal. But then, no one is applauding the idea of forgetting a child at the store.

  103. SKL September 3, 2015 at 12:51 am #

    Exactly – nobody is saying the woman didn’t do anything wrong. Just that it was a human mistake, one many moms make in some form or other.

  104. Donna September 3, 2015 at 8:05 am #

    Children have been surviving in Arizona for many generations. This despite the fact that Arizonians are no more or less prone to forgetfulness than people from anywhere else. This is due to two things: (1) as uncomfortably hot as it can get, human beings do not actually spontaneously combust within minutes of being outside even in Arizona, and (2) the vast majority of people, when encountering an unattended baby in the heat, don’t just stand around and watch it bake, but instead do what this police officer did and move it to a more comfortable location.

    Now a baby forgotten at a rest stop on some desolate part I-10 where even the gas stations are 200 miles apart may be at some risk, but a baby forgotten outside a supermarket in a strip mall in Phoenix was never at any great risk of death. In fact, it would have taken a complete fluke – say a person having a stroke and crashing into the store at the very second the mother drove away and before someone found the baby – to cause death.

  105. James Pollock September 3, 2015 at 8:15 am #

    “It’s a good thing nobody ever raised children in Arizona before air conditioning was invented.”

    It wasn’t as hot before Global Warming.

  106. SKL September 3, 2015 at 8:28 am #

    James, really? Get over yourself.

  107. James Pollock September 3, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    “James, really? Get over yourself.”

    You’ll have to be a LOT more specific.

  108. Rachel September 12, 2015 at 3:45 am #

    Kind of off-topic, but a little on topic…

    My foster kids (6,8 and 10) are always irritated when we run lots of errands and ask if we all have to go in. I always say yes (or send the 10 year old in if I can park by the door) and one of them says, “Or we might get kidnapped.” To which I reply “No, not because you might get kidnapped, because you won’t get kidnapped. You would be perfectly safe in the car while I get a gallon of milk. But some nosy person might see you guys, and decide to be a busybody and call the police and then we would all be in trouble. Because SOME PEOPLE can’t mind their own business.”