Elizabeth Vargas, 20/20, Me, and Kids-in-Cars Hysteria

Here’s the ABC 20/20 segment on kids in cars that aired Saturday night. Kudos to host Elizabeth tizyiiiefd
Vargas
and producers James Wang and Sarah_Hoberman for doing what I consider a truly fair job, and not resorting to the usual fearmongering. – L


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227 Responses to Elizabeth Vargas, 20/20, Me, and Kids-in-Cars Hysteria

  1. Warren August 12, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    Reading any comment section on this topic is unreal.

    They are fanatics and extremists. These people that go on and on about NO NEVER………..are one step away from being suicide bombers.

    I have directed them to check the FBI stats on crime, and they come back basically calling the FBI liars to make themselves look good.

    And if I read one more person bring up Adam Walsh again, Im gonna puke.

  2. Wait? August 12, 2014 at 4:55 am #

    And can we stop confusing babies and toddlers with small children please?

  3. BL August 12, 2014 at 5:06 am #

    So what that last woman is saying is: it’s OK if children die in wrecks or are run over, as long as they’re being adult-supervised at the time.

  4. Jen August 12, 2014 at 6:46 am #

    Thank you, Lenore, for continuing to advocation for reasonable, rational parenting and the fact that even questionable parenting decisions are rarely criminal.

    This was a nice piece, though I would have liked to see 20/20 point out how ridiculous the safety zealots sound and drive the point home. We need to stop criminalizing actions that “could have resulted in tragedy.”

  5. ChicagoDad August 12, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    Some very funny comments on the video here:
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/hot-debate-leave-child-car/story?id=24869147

  6. MichaelF August 12, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    The sarcasm on that link is incredible ChicagoDad! Love it!

    This is one of those emotional issues that you cannot have a rational discussion with most people about. Glad to see there is some effort to be rational about it, like the 20/20 piece but in general most people are just going to let their heads explode before listening to another viewpoint.

  7. E August 12, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    Lenore — thanks for sharing that. It’s wonderful to see this presented in this manner and thanks to Kim Brooks for being brave in the face of all this.

    I did have to laugh…in the footage they used, they show a car driving in a parking lot. Both the car on camera and the car from which it was shot, were going the WRONG way down a lot with angled parking spaces. Something that surely contributes to parking lot mishaps, lol.

  8. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Regardless of the lack of danger…to Kim Brooks or anyone for that matter…you shouldn’t have left your child in the car. And there are two undeniable reasons for this.

    1) You have to know that this is the social convention by now. Even if you disagree with it. Under no circumstance does our society allow this now. If a person sees this it is more likely than not that an incident will occur. If you do not know that not leaving a child in a car is the standard now it does make you look to be…out of touch might be the nicest way to phrase it. The cultural rule about not leaving a child in a car is common knowledge and so is the reaction that will occur if you do. To break that rule is to invite the reaction.

    2) The reaction is ultimately the result of not knowing the entirety of the situation. If an adult, be it a police officer or regular joe, finds a child in a car they do not know how long that child has been there and what the state of the child is. As a result they will act “as if.” Because, no matter how slight the chance of danger, and it is virtually non existent, prevention of the worst outcome is their goal. Even if you do not agree that the worst possible outcome is likely, prevention of the worst possible outcome is the goal of police etc. Because you have broken the social convention their reaction is inevitable on a long enough timeline. It is inevitable because on a long enough timeline the worst possible outcome is also inevitable.

    Regardless of the lack safety issue leaving your child in the car is stupid, it invites the negative reaction for no other reason than stupidity and laziness. Kim Brooks should have taken her child out of the car, if she didn’t know that someone might call the cops (even if to do is itself stupid) then I really have to think she can’t make the call when it actually matters because point 1 and point 2…

  9. LRH August 12, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Dirk WHO CARES what the society’s convention is now? I am the parent, not society, it is MY child and MY decision alone how to parent MY child. Any ideology or laws that disagree with this should be destroyed, and disobeyed in the meantime.

    “Society” didn’t create my child, they don’t cloth my child, they don’t discipline my child, they’re not the ones cleaning the mess when my child throws up all over the seat, they’re not the ones responsible for getting them to school, they’re not the ones toiling at a job to pay for their daycare and Barney hug-a-bears or whatever. I am. The minute they start doing all of that, then and only then will I give two turds what they think. They can otherwise accept my invitation to climb inside a supersized barbecue grill and turn on the gas just before they flick their cigarette lighters.

    LRH

  10. Jill August 12, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    Beautifully done, Lenore! You were a refreshing breath of sanity, as always.

  11. BL August 12, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    @Dirk
    “You have to know that this is the social convention by now. Even if you disagree with it. Under no circumstance does our society allow this now”

    Implication: we cannot trust any person or institution in any respect to any degree.

    Possible exception: people you’ve known personally your entire life.

  12. ChicagoDad August 12, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    Is it OK to leave your sleeping preschooler in the car, parked in the garage, while you unload groceries from the trunk? If the garage is OK, what about the driveway, or the curb in front of your house?

    If your 1st grader has the flu or pneumonia and it is cold and rainy outside, is it OK to leave them in the car in the school parking lot while you run the preschooler inside? Is it OK to leave the sick 1st grader in the car at the pharmacy while you pick up antibiotics? Is it OK if it were a sick preschooler? Is it OK to do the same thing if your kid is maybe only pretending to be sick? Is the answer “maybe” or “it depends”? Should a parent go to jail for making these kinds of decisions? No.

    I have a big problem with giving in to hysteria and unhealthy social norms, especially in cases where it actually keeps people from making better decisions for their families and kids. Kids need good naps. Sick kids should be protected from the elements, not exposed to them. And so on. Zero tolerance attitudes have zero tolerance for ambiguity, particulars and nuance.

  13. E August 12, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    @Dirk — huh?


    Kim Brooks should have taken her child out of the car, if she didn’t know that someone might call the cops (even if to do is itself stupid) then I really have to think she can’t make the call when it actually matters because point 1 and point 2…

    How can someone predict a “stupid” (to quote you) and never experienced before reaction to something that was not unsafe to begin with. So you are saying her ability to “make the call” on a parenting decision is compromised because she didn’t anticipate someone else’s paranoia and rush to judgement?

    That’s some warped logic…because it can be applied to ANY situation where your kids are unsupervised. Do I let my kids go…this far…for this long…or do I need to figure in that some “stupid” reaction is going to involve the police.

    The person in that story that came off in the worst light was the women with Vargas advocating for kids/car (or whatever the org was)…when Vargas pointed out it wasn’t in the top 10 risks for kids, she had no comeback.

  14. pentamom August 12, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    It’s just mind-boggling — none of these kids who died of the heat from being left in the car were there as a result of a *conscious decision.* If there were any sanity to these people’s thinking, they would be saying, “Don’t ever, EVER, forget to take your child out of the car!” Which of course would be nonsensical, because everybody knows they shouldn’t forget things and nobody plans to do it. So they have to say, “Never, ever, deliberately leave your kid alone in a car for a few minutes, because kids have died because their parents forgot they were there for hours!”

    Things that happen as a result of forgetting and things that happen as a result of a conscious decision are completely different.

  15. Heather August 12, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    I have to say Lenore, that this is the best video of you I have seen yet. So often the newscaster comes along as confrontational and when that happens you tend to get excited and over emphasize which turns off some viewers. This was extremely well-done and your execution of the data was professional and reasonable. BRAVO

  16. Warren August 12, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Dirk,
    Once you start living by social convention, parenting by popular or unpopular opinion, it is game over.

    You know what the next social convention/trend is going to be? Busybody’s like the three ladies in the clip confronting the mom, are going to be physically assaulted for their interference. It has already happened, and we will see a rise in these confrontations turning violent. It is going to get out of hand and fast.

    These so called good samaritans have started to cross over into vigilantes and lynch mobs.
    I have no doubt there are people out there just chomping at the bit, if not actively seeking out, to find a kid in the car, so they can call 911, smash the window, and get their 15 mins of fame.

  17. Donna August 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    Dirk – So “social convention” should dictate how we raise our children and we should make no attempt to change “social convention” and should just go with the flow against our own desires and belief of what is right? We should all just be okay to abdicate our role as parents to “societal convention?”

    Where do you draw the line? Being religious is far more social convention than being an atheist. Do I have to pick a church to take my child to every weekend? How about homeschooling? Although becoming more common, it is still against social convention. Should it be illegal? Spanking? What decisions do I get to make about my child’s life and what decisions does society get to make about my child’s life?

  18. Braver Jill August 12, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    The thought voiced by Kim Brooks at the very end of the clip gave me chills – that it’s no longer enough to be a fearful parent, but that we should now worry that we’ll be judged for not being fearful enough. Such a scary thought!

  19. BL August 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    @Donna
    @Warren
    “Social convention” is a cop-out anyway. There are specific, identifiable people doing these things, or advocating them. They have names and addresses (including email). But even Kim Brooks, writing for herself, didn’t name her accuser. These people should be publicly named and made known. They should find out that not everyone is on their side.

  20. Reziac August 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    Dirk, your thinking is exactly why the situation has become so extreme… everyone goes along with it, and no one protests. Every social and political horror has started the same way.

    Pentamom makes an excellent point: far as we know, these “left in the car” deaths only happen when children are forgotten entirely (which we don’t =plan= to do), NOT when they are consciously left to wait in the car for a while.

  21. Christina August 12, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    @Dirk – “You have to know that this is the social convention by now. Even if you disagree with it. Under no circumstance does our society allow this now”.

    Isn’t this exactly the same sort of reasoning that kept women in restrictive garments, kept them deprived of educational opportunities, blamed women when they were sexually assaulted, etc? “Social convention” said slavery was ok. “Social convention” said child labor in factories was ok. Social convention can kiss my ***.

  22. SKL August 12, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    Pretty good job. I do wish they had included a statement to the effect that it is impossible for a child to die of heatstroke from being left in a car for 5 minutes.

  23. J- August 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    @ChicagoDad

    I took your advice and read the comments, or as many as I could before I my brain started to hemmorage.

    These people are INSANE! “Never leave your kid in a car ever for any reason.” Seriously? “There is no such thing as a good neighborhood.” Are you kidding me?

    According to these people if I but my baby in the car seat in my tuck in my driveway, and then run back into my house for the diaper bag or blanket, I don’t love my kid, don’t deserve to be a dad, and should go to jail.

    There are plenty of times that it’s totally reasonable, e.g, change baby on tailgate, put baby in car seat, walk 100 feet to trash can by store entrance to throw away diaper, walk back to car, drive away.

    We need to take a “no harm – no foul” policy for stuff like this. Ok, after 20 min in a hot car, if mom is still not back and the kids are getting distressed, I call that harm. But “not ever” is just too extreme.

    Seriously, the case of the mom interviewed scares me more than the phantom molester issue. I’m not worried that if I walk away from my truck with my baby in it, he’ll be snatched by goblins made into a soup, I mean a pedophile and disappear. I am worried that if I walk away from my truck with my baby in it that I’ll get the cops called on me.

  24. SKL August 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    On the “not fearful enough” – that was a great line. Recently two people posed questions on a parenting-oriented forum. 1. What is the minimum age you’d leave your child playing outside in the front yards; 2. Can I leave my young school-aged kids alone (as latch-key kids) for some hours while I work? The answers were more about “what police and CPS would do if they caught you” than anything else. In the case of #1 there were many who said they would let their kids do xyz if they didn’t have to worry about some neighbor not liking it and calling the cops. These are not lazy parents, just folks trying to give kids age-appropriate opportunities. (I know, I’m preaching to the choir here.)

  25. Mrs. H. August 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    Excellent piece, well done, Ms. Skenazy! I agree that the part about being accused of being not fearful enough was right on and beautifully stated.

    My own child-in-car scary story:

    Last month one day I parked in front of the liquor store in a strip mall, and I was directly in front of the door, which is right next to the check-out counter. My six-year-old, who knows how to unbuckle the seat belt and get out of the car, wanted to wait for me in the car. It was about 70 degrees out. So I opened the windows and told my daughter, “if I don’t come back right away and it’s getting too hot in the car, get out and wait over there in the shade.” She said okay.

    I proceeded into the liquor store and spent about 8-10 minutes on my selection and transaction. Just as the cashier was handing me my change, she turned a bit, saw my car, and said: “Is that a child in the car?” I assumed I was in for a lecture and replied “Yes but the windows are open and she knows how to get out.” As I said this, the cashier reached under the counter, pulled out a big bowl of lollipops, and handed me one for my daughter.

    I was shocked and relieved and said “I thought you were about to call CPS on me for leaving her in the car alone!” She just laughed.

    It turned out to be a nice, friendly moment with a stranger, but really, it could have gone the other way for me. I’m grateful the liquor store hired someone sensible!

  26. SKL August 12, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    Please tell me that Dirk is being sarcastic.

  27. lollipoplover August 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    “What decisions do I get to make about my child’s life and what decisions does society get to make about my child’s life?”

    Don’t forget about eating and exercise. Social convention says fruits, vegetables, and healthy food choices are best for growing children. So if you feed your kids junk food, candy, and processed foods and let them play video games instead of riding bikes, do you invite others to react negatively to every morsel of food you put into your children’s mouths? After all, you could be contributing to the obesity of a minor. Flip out the smart phone in line at Mickey D’s and start reporting those bad parents to the authorities.

    If we take every minor parenting judgement call to the extreme, we are ALL doing it wrong. The kids in car craze is parenting extremism and takes away all reason and community. If you are truly concerned for a child, wait for the parent to return to the car. Calling the police and unleashing legal hell on innocent families shows you have NO concern for that child. Put the phone down and interact with people in your community.

  28. Bernard August 12, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    From the UK to the USA to Australia to Canada, our societies are gradually destroying themselves through an extremely disturbing lack of common sense leading to collective insanity. And with that we are frightening our children to the nth degree – making them ever more vulnerable and submissive due to their incapacity to deal with anything. We are the democratic lands of the free and homes of the brave??? Really!!! Who needs an alien force to terrorize us? We’re achieving that all by ourselves. If truth be told, we parents and “concerned citizens” are becoming the greatest danger to our children and their future.

  29. lollipoplover August 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    The true danger of the “never leave a child alone” in a car or anywhere is that we are conditioning children to never feel safe, anywhere, by themselves. Creating irrational fears and anxiety in children for no reason should be the crime.

  30. Leslie August 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    The scariest part of this video for me was the clip from “What Would you Do?”. They had set it up so that the people thought that there was a baby crying in the car. Three women were huddled around trying to decide what to do when the “mom” came outside and claimed the car and kid (it is a set up show so it wasn’t a real baby or a real mom). She said something to the ladies to the effect of “It is ok…I am here now” and one of them said “It doesn’t matter…I have to call it in” and proceeded to dial the police. WHAT? Really? I get hanging around an unattended car with a crying baby in it just to make sure the parent does come back maybe. But, once the parent returns and nothing bad has happened, why in the world would you call the police? That is going to make things so much worse for that child than being left alone in a car for 5 minutes would ever, ever do.

  31. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    What is with the desperate need to leave your child in the car?When is this soooo necessary that you simply must do it?

    How long would you leave your 6 year old child at your house alone? How about a 10 week old baby? I don’t mean in another room or the backyard. I mean you put the kid in their bed or crib leave the house and walk away. How long and far can you go before you have to return. This is an honest question.

  32. SKL August 12, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Dirk, my mailbox is farther away from my kids’ bedroom than the parking lot is from many stores. Are you of the opinion that it should be a crime for me to go get my mail?

    I have gone for short walks (in sight of my house) while my young kids / babies slept. Maybe you should call the cops right now.

  33. SKL August 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    Maybe it should be illegal for single moms to drag their trash cans to and from the curb, too. I mean, anything could happen. You never know.

  34. SKL August 12, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    Another thing, Dirk. Why is the question “why must you leave your kid in the car”? Nobody said the “must.” The thought process is, “I (or my kid) wants this. This is safe under the present circumstances. I’m going to do it.”

  35. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    SKL…

    My point exactly. You make my point! You say that you go for short walks? “I have gone for short walks (in sight of my house) while my young kids / babies slept”…You are not going into a store and not coming out for an hour. When you are going for a short walk that is always in site of the house you can intervene if you see busybody walk up to the house or the cops. If you go into the store and can not see your kid in the car then you can’t intervene when you need to. And don’t say you shouldn’t need to intervene because the entire reason you stay within sight of the house on these “short walks” you speak of so that you can indeed intervene if need be. Otherwise you would go farther.

    So when your baby is asleep in it’s crib…how far and how long can you go? According to you you have to remain within sight of the house but not within sight of your car? Why?

  36. Donna August 12, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    “How long would you leave your 6 year old child at your house alone? How about a 10 week old baby?”

    While asleep? I have always taken the dog for a walk after she goes to bed. The house is completely out of sight for most of the time. When she was 3 or 4, I went to CVS in the middle of the night with her home alone to get drugs because I was sick as a dog. A couple times I went to a neighbor’s house for some reason or another.

    While awake? When she was a baby, I would often leave her home alone while she was awake. We lived in a 3rd floor apartment. I would often go get the mail, load and unload the car or just walk around to get peace from the non-stop screaming for awhile (collicky baby). Once she became mobile, this became harder to do and I probably didn’t leave her home alone again while awake until she was 6.

    At 6 we moved to A. Samoa, and she stayed home alone, both awake and asleep, all the time. I left her home while I ran to the store for quick trips. I left her home while I went to hang out with friends inside their apartments. I left her home while I cooled off in the pool. I left her home while I went to down to the bar next door to the apartment complex – or she would come and swim for a little while and then go home. Shall I continue?

  37. SKL August 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    Dirk,

    Who said it was OK to leave a kid in a car for an hour? Where did you get that number from?

    In many ways, a kid in a car is safer than a kid in a crib. Most kids can climb out of a crib if they try, starting before age 1. They can bang their head or break a limb in the process, or they can spend the next hour crawling around the house tasting the electrical outlets while Mom sleeps. Or decide to try to cook something or give themselves a bath or go pet the skunks or swim in the neighbors’ pool. In a car, assuming car seat laws are followed, a tot is unlikely to be able to get out. The only real danger is if it gets hot etc., which is not an issue if you leave your kid in a temperate car for 5 minutes.

    The reason I didn’t walk farther away from my house was not because I was afraid my kid would climb onto the roof and play birdie and jump off. I would not have been able to hear or see whatever my kid was doing if she woke up and got creative. It was irrational, really, the concern that someone would come along and realize nobody was home. Just because I did something based on an irrational feeling does not mean it has any bearing on what the law should be.

  38. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    Donna yes continue. Please. No duh different circumstances = different actions. What you describe mostly is a person with a house going outside and coming back in or your 6 year old essentially going to a neighbors house. Even less so since you live in an apartment building. You do come off a scumbag for leaving your 6 year old home alone to go drinking though.

    And a question. Do you really think it was awesome to leave a 3 year old to go buy yourself medicine in the middle of the night? Now I agree with you that the dangers are mostly supposed and almost certainly not present. That being said you think your kid would have been really cool with the fact? That if they woke up and looked for you they would have been like, “huh, moms not here. As a 3 year old I’m super cool with that and feel good about the fact that I have been abandoned in the middle of the night. I have zero worries that she is never coming back. Guess I live alone now.” That’s how that goes?

  39. SKL August 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    Dirk’s comments remind me of an old internet argument about a lady who lived behind the public swimming pool. She had a bunch of kids and she would put the baby down for a nap, then take the other kids swimming, with the baby monitor in hand so she would hear if baby woke up. Most moms were horrified. She and all of her kids should have stayed home if the baby was napping.

  40. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    And you essentially did the same thing, unwittingly, that SKL did. Which was arrange the situation so that you could probably intervene if something did require it. You left your apartment building while your baby was contained in a crib (I assume your baby sleeps in a crib) and when the child became mobile and wasn’t in a crib you waited until a somewhat reasonable age, 6, to leave them alone while you stayed relatively close–with the assumption that the 6 year old wouldn’t leave the approved area…your apartment. So basically you contained your child so you could go elsewhere for what I assume was a reasonable period (except for when you went to drink…). See, you didn’t just abandon your baby or 6 year old in a parking lot where you had zero control (not that anything bad would happen in a parking lot, but as the video at the top of the page shows you lose control when you lose sight or in your case containment).

  41. SKL August 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Dirk, do you have children?

  42. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    SKL, that story about the lady is BS.

    First off I doubt anyone would have cared or notice.

    More importantly, despite what the packaging says a baby monitor has a range of about 100 feet. They sell long range baby monitors but since this is an “old” story I doubt she had some fancy NSA style thing (if it is a true story). My experience is these things barely work much past simply going a out in a big yard. Basically they work from first to third base (127 feet). So she would have been pretty damn close to the house if the swimming club was behind her house…Urban legend.

    But SKL you never answered the question of how long and how far is ok? It is a legit question. What are the limits. What is reasonable. Seriously. Answer the question…how far and how long can you go. So you think out of sight. Fine, how long and how far is reasonable for a 10 week old and a 6 year old?

  43. Vicki Bradley August 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    I read the comments in the link ChicagoDad posted and some of them were so funny, I was literally crying I was laughing so hard. In particular, the comments posted by Cat, Bufflew, Catherine Mustico and Casey were hilarious! They really made their points well, in the most fascetious manner possible. Of course, there were the usual ridiculous “the sky is falling” posters too but it is definitely worth a read.

  44. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    Yes and I let them do as much as they can do on their own.

    I know the science behind free range, I am in favor of adventure playgrounds, I think Debra Harrel did nothing wrong. Etc. Etc. I also think that 4 or 5 or 6 year old is old enough to go to a neighbors house on their own to see if their playmate is home, I think 7 year olds can ride their bikes as they see fit, I think 8 year olds can go to the park on their own, 9 year olds can ride the subway, etc etc. But I also think that leaving your infant baby in an empty house for more than 5 minutes is stupid because frankly I don’t want my baby to cry for 5 minutes for no reason…because I think it is simply mean. I also think that it is stupid to leave your kid in the car because police don’t know if it has been a minute or an hour, hence the hour statement SKL, and if you don’t know that leaving your child in the car for an extended period and out of sight will 100% cause you trouble then you are in fact stupid, literally dumb…now that is mean…maybe blind/inexperienced/naive? (And you can indeed leave your child in a car by the way, just don’t be stupid. Since if they stay within sight you would never get in trouble what-so-ever; Kim Brooks, from the video above, wasn’t able to notice some random busybody taking video of her kid because she was neither in sight to intervene nor did she have the same accidental set up to avoid trouble like SKL did. I literally have to ask what Kim Brooks thought passerby where going to do? Did she run into the store thinking “no one will think twice about this at all” or did she think “I hope I can slip in and out without anyone noticing.” Not that I think the child was in any danger unless she got sidetracked or something. But if she thought that no one was going to bat an eyelash then…I have to wonder what world she lives in…) I also think that there is no epidemic of parents getting arrested for leaving kids in cars (more kids die each year from being left in a car than parents get arrested). I also think that there is no epidemic of parents getting arrested for leaving their kids home alone or letting them go of on their own.

    Enough…

    You can be free range in this world. It isn’t hard. To say it is so is false, it just drives up extremist responses for whatever purpose you would want to do that for…

  45. Donna August 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    Dirk – You basically did nothing but ask people about leaving children in houses and then comment that it was different because it was a house.

    And, I rarely drink anything other than water. That was your assumption (and one I assumed that someone like you would make). The bar was Samoan fale (building with a roof, but no walls) with an amazing view of the sunset and a cool breeze. We were friends with the owners and it was a delightful place to socialize, with or without an alcoholic beverage. My kid could choose to come and swim in the ocean or play with the owner’s kids if they were about, or stay home or wander back-and-forth at will.

    “Do you really think it was awesome to leave a 3 year old to go buy yourself medicine in the middle of the night?”

    Was it something I would do every day? Nope. Do I think it was dangerous? Nope. Do I know my child enough to know that there was no way that she was waking up while I was gone? Yep. Do I regret it? Not in the least. Do I second guess my decision? Not in the least. Would I have done it again? Yep, but the need never arose until she was older.

    “Which was arrange the situation so that you could probably intervene if something did require it.”

    How exactly was I going to intervene while I was two blocks away walking the dog? How exactly was I going to intervene when I was down 3 flights of stairs and across a parking lot getting my mail? How exactly was I going to intervene when I was down 3 flights of stairs even as close as my car?

    “(I assume your baby sleeps in a crib)”

    Not until she was over a year old. Nor would she have been “sleeping in a crib” when she was awake and I went to get the mail or load the car. But, how exactly is being confined in a crib while I walk to a mailbox in an apartment complex and being confined in a car seat while I walk into the post office to drop off a letter inherently different?

    Further, how is containing my child in an apartment while I went to a neighbor’s apartment completely out of view of my own apartment somehow different than containing my child in a car while I go into a store (something I also did frequently at age 6 — or as frequently as she would allow since the store was air conditioned and the car wasn’t)? I guarantee you that I was gone to the friend’s house for much longer than it takes to grab some head phones.

  46. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    LRH, societies convention now says your child has a right to go to school. That they can’t be discriminated against. That they have a right to medical care. That they can’t be abused. Etc.

  47. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    E. Kim Brooks action was stupid because if every single person knows that you aren’t “supposed” to leave your kids in the car. I am not saying it is correct or that there is any high percentage danger in it for the child. I am saying you have to be figuratively stupid to think that people aren’t going to be all “what is wrong with you?”

  48. Donna August 12, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    Dirk – So basically your only argument is that “others have decided it is wrong so we have to accept it and do what they say.” We got that after the first post. No need for all the follow up.

  49. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Reziac, naw…try this out for size…

    A Fishers woman was charged Thursday with felony child neglect after police found her 16-month-old daughter left alone in a hot SUV last week.

    Meg Trueblood, 30, is accused of leaving her daughter for at least an hour while she went shopping Saturday afternoon.
    According to the probable cause affidavit, Fishers Police were called to the scene outside Simply Chic on East 96th Street at around 3:30 pm after someone noticed the child inside the SUV.

    The responding officer went inside the store and asked if anyone there owned the SUV, but he could not locate the owner. He went back outside, smashed the window and took the girl out of the SUV and into the store.

    Police say the temperature inside the SUV was 124 degrees, and the temperature outside was 102, with a heat index of 107.

    The little girl was limp and unresponsive, and began to go into seizures as the officer and store employees tried to cool her down. During that time, Trueblood identified herself as the girl’s mother.

    A store employee told the officer that Trueblood had been in the store for around an hour. The employee said she was helping Trueblood find a dress because Trueblood told her she was meeting a man later that night.

    http://www.wthr.com/story/19012040/fishers-woman-charged-after-leaving-baby-in-hot-car

    I am not saying this is what happens less than a fraction of the time a kid is left in a car, I am saying it happens at least a bit less because people don’t put up with it.

  50. Papilio August 12, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    @Dirk: Everyone (well, the majority anyway) going along with it, even if they disagreed, is what got over 100 000 people from my country killed back in the 1940s.
    I know Godwin’s Law, but that fact is what your line of thinking immediately reminds me of, so I say it anyway.
    You should keep in mind that social conventions and what people think of as normal in general, can be influenced by misinformation and downright propaganda, and ignorance too: few things are as dumb and destructive as a mob.

    Always, ALWAYS think for yourself. (Or as parents put it: Don’t jump into the canal just because some/everyone else did it too, or tells you to.)

  51. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    To Donna @ Tue Aug 12th 2014 at 4:31 pm

    No, I commented that it was no different than a house and that is why you need to think about it.

    Samoan fale–great you make it sound like your kid would be playing in a neighborhood and able to find you. A 6 year old should be able to do that.

    “Do you really think it was awesome to leave a 3 year old to go buy yourself medicine in the middle of the night?” You may have “known” that your 3 year kid wouldn’t wake up and feel abandoned. And bully for you. I don’t think anything would have happened to the kid. I do think it was simply a mean thing to do. I don’t think there is a one size fits all for morality. I do think that it wasn’t something parent should do to a 3 year old. I mean that isn’t free range, that isn’t about giving the child responsibility. That is just you thinking it doesn’t matter, which it probably wouldn’t since the kid didn’t know. But, also, it isn’t like leaving your kid in the car because your kid wouldn’t be prone to passerby who would get in trouble with the cops or what have you. Unless the kid started wandering down the street in a daze looking for you.

    “Which was arrange the situation so that you could probably intervene if something did require it.” If your kid of whatever age was going to just hang out in the apartment then a passerby wasn’t going to call the cops like they did on Kim Brooks would they? But also 6 year olds play within their neighborhoods all the time. That isn’t free range that is life.

    “(I assume your baby sleeps in a crib)” What I meant was a baby isn’t going to off on their where a busybody is going to want to call the cops are they? Nope.

    “Further, how is containing my child in an apartment while I went to a neighbor’s apartment completely out of view of my own apartment somehow different than containing my child in a car while I go into a store (something I also did frequently at age 6 — or as frequently as she would allow since the store was air conditioned and the car wasn’t)? I guarantee you that I was gone to the friend’s house for much longer than it takes to grab some head phones.” This is your best response Donna. This isn’t a safety issue. Kim Brooks left her child in a perfect position to have someone call the cops. She invited the reaction. You leaving a 6 year old in an apartment equals the same thing except no one sees. It isn’t a difference in safety…it is a difference in what will happen though because there are no busybodies.

  52. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    Papilio, are you comparing the laws a bunch of states have against leaving your kid in the car to genocide? Don’t do that.

  53. SKL August 12, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    Dirk, first of all, that Kim lady’s incident occurred in 2011, before it was a trend to call 911 the instant you saw a mom leaving a car that still had a minor in it.

    Secondly, I did have someone call the cops on me for doing exactly that, when my kids were in 2nd grade and I popped into a storefront (FedEx) for less than 3 minutes. The cops were driving up to block my parking space when I exited the FedEx to walk back to my car. So I guess I am doubly stupid! That was one year ago this month.

    Third, why should I answer your question when you are sounding more and more like a troll?

  54. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    No Donna my point isn’t that at all. My point here is that if you do it right you can indeed leave your kid in the car, I don’t know why this is absolutely necessary to do so, but if it is extremely short and you can actually see your car then go for it. Otherwise people will call the cops. How anyone can not know this today boggles my mind.

    My overall point is best related to this post and its solutions to over-protection…

    http://www.freerangekids.com/why-we-believe-the-world-is-crawling-with-super-predators/#comments

    “It’s also useful to see the bigger pictures, of course. Consciously focus yourself on the evidence around you that the news is picking out the extremes and the bad things,” McNaughton-Cassill said. In other words, understand that you’re seeing a lot of bad news not because the world is an inherently evil place, but because news outlets—not to mention individual Twitter and Facebook users—have lots of incentives to broadcast explosively negative news stories.
    Overall, of course, it’s both unrealistic and undesirable to construct bubbles that keep out the world’s bad news. But there’s a difference between being informed and being obsessive, and it’s a line that’s very easy to accidentally slide across in an age when there’s so much information zipping around”

    I think it applies to us, this site, too…because this site is building a hysteria that parents get arrested and so forth. That rarely ever happens (I know this to be true because people leave their 10 year olds alone at home every day…EVERY DAY…and nothing bad happens). “Consciously focus yourself on the evidence around you that the news is picking out the extremes and the bad things…” The blog entries on this site are the extreme minority of happenings. Parents do not regularly get arrested for leaving their kids home alone or letting them go to the playground. It is so rare it virtually never happens. You could find more articles online about kids getting killed each day with handguns than parents getting arrested for letting a 10 year spend a few hours at home alone. Doesn’t mean the world isn’t safe and it doesn’t mean parents get arrested all the time. You, I, we should all be careful to not replace one sense of extremism with another (don’t replace the false idea that the world is an unsafe place with another false idea that the world is persecuting you.) Follow the last advice of the journalism linked in the blog article. “Overall, of course, it’s both unrealistic and undesirable to construct bubbles that keep out the world’s bad news. But there’s a difference between being informed and being obsessive, and it’s a line that’s very easy to accidentally slide across in an age when there’s so much information zipping around,” Parents free range or not…believe this…the world is safe and you are not being persecuted.

  55. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    SKL are you insane? I got my license in the 90s and it was 100% policy to call the cops on people who left their kids in the car back then. I posted on another hysterical blog entry about a person getting arrested for abandoning their kids in a car about the one time I found some babies in a parked car. I contemplated calling the cops, the dad came out in less than a minute, I gave him a dirty look and drove off. This isn’t recent. It’s been the norm for at least 20 or so years.

  56. SKL August 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    Dirk, re Papilio’s comment, nobody thought they were condoning genocide. It was never presented that way. They were relocating those folks to work somewhere else etc. They even made propoganda films about how nice the life in the concentration camps was. People actually got jealous because life in the camps was [supposedly] more luxurious than life on the outside.

    And what it’s being compared to is America’s acceptance that it’s fine and dandy for unharmed children to be taken away from loving parents. That’s pretty horrible.

  57. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    It isn’t fine and dandy for children to be taken away from loving parents. The depictions that occur on this website of such things are not the norm. They aren’t. But again. Don’t leave your kid in the car and relocation camps are not the same thing.

  58. Donna August 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    “I do think it was simply a mean thing to do.”

    So, in your mind, a less mean thing to do is to wake up your child at 2am, get her dressed (it was winter so a coat was necessary), load her up in a cold car, drive less than a mile, get her back out of the car, go into the bright lights of the store for the 2 minutes it takes to get the medication with no other customers at 2am, go back outside, get back into the car, drive less than a mile home, get back out of the car, stay up and miserable until she finally melts down and cries herself back to sleep, which should happen right around time to get up in the morning and then have a completely miserable day at school due to being overtired? Somehow this is nicer than popping out for 8-10 minutes myself while she sleeps in her warm bed?

    It takes all kinds, I guess, but you and me have very different views of nice and mean, my friend.

    Or is the assumption that I had a child so my health is now completely irrelevant and I am just supposed to do without the medication until a more normal hour? This despite not bothering to ask what the medication or illness was to know if skipping it is even remotely plausible?

  59. SKL August 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    Dirk, maybe where you live it’s long been the norm to call the cops about kids who you know have NOT been left in the car long. That is not the case here and probably in a lot of other places. Nor should it be.

    Of course I knew about the danger of kids being left in the car a long time, usually by accident. I too have watched to make sure a mom came back within a short time period (but I did not give her a dirty look). But calling the cops would be an extreme action that I’d only do if the parent was nowhere and didn’t show up soon and the kid inside looked hot or otherwise in distress.

    I think people have a right to expect that strangers will not go out of their way to cause legal problems and possible disruption of child custody when they know the kid was sitting happily playing his video game in the car for five minutes.

    Stop calling people names, it’s ugly and foolish.

  60. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    SKL, I assume you couldn’t see the car.

    At any rate. DONT LEAVE YOU KIDS IN THE CAR PEOPLE WILL CALL THE COPS. It doesn’t matter why. People call the cops because of loud music, and other stupid stuff all the time. DONT LEAVE YOU KIDS IN THE CAR PEOPLE WILL CALL THE COPS. I am not saying it is right but unless you can literally see if someone sees your kid in the car and immediately (within 10 second say) tell them it is cool then you are asking for trouble. It isn’t that hard to see. And frankly it isn’t that unreasonable.

    I am not a troll. Just don’t replace one type of extremism for another.

  61. Donna August 12, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    Dirk – Your point is exactly what I said. It is nothing more than “you shouldn’t leave your kids in the car because some in society don’t like it and may call the cops.” Again, we got that in the first post. You could have stopped there.

  62. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    I wouldn’t have left the house to buy the medicine. Was this some sort of emergency or something?

  63. SKL August 12, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    Dirk, how does my being able to see the car stop a meddler from calling the cops?

    I could see my car. I did not know some hag was calling the cops.

  64. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    I also think it is possible that child car heat deaths are relatively low BECAUSE society frowns on leaving children in cars…just saying…

  65. SKL August 12, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    No, the number of kids dying in hot cars is low because most parents would not intentionally leave their kid in a hot car, and it is very rare for people to do it by accident.

  66. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    I also think the hand wringing over how outrageous it is that the like of Kim Brooks getting in trouble is quite simply is lame. You don’t like society’s conventions, you don’t like the laws in 19 state then do something about it. All this website is setup for is to sell more books! Call you Governors!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_United_States_governors

  67. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    But again, I also think it is possible that child car heat deaths are relatively low BECAUSE society frowns on leaving children in cars…just saying…

  68. Donna August 12, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Since you now see fit to ask (although doing it before you judge a situation is generally the better choice), it was migraine medicine. I thought I still had some, but did not. It was either get it then or be 100% incapacitated and unable to care for her by the time she woke up.

  69. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    SKL show me data on the number of “rescues” a year and the number of parents arrested and I might agree with you.

  70. SKL August 12, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    Dirk,

    One minute you are saying this site exaggerates the fears of busybodies calling 911.

    The next minute you are saying it’s obvious to every human that if you leave your kid in the car ever under any circumstances, someone is going to call the cops.

    Which is it?

    Whichever it is, we are saying that society has been miseducated about “dangers” of kids in cars, and needs to be re-educated to correct inaccurate perceptions so we can get back to being a more reasonable, caring community.

  71. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    SKL and what happened when the “hag” called the cops? You saw the cruiser and immediately came out of the store? Yes/no?

    What did the cops do? Did you get arrested?

  72. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    This site exaggerates the reality of getting arrested.

    But on a long enough timeline, yes, every time a child is left in a car someone would call the cops. And yes, leaving the child in the car invites “trouble.”

  73. Dirk August 12, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

    SKL, tell me what the re-education would look like.

  74. SKL August 12, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    Dirk,

    I was coming out of the FedEx store anyway because I had only popped in there to drop off a package and get a receipt. As I was walking back, the cop was driving up. It stopped in front of my car so then I knew what was going on.

    The cop started telling me off then he went into his car to do whatever they do, maybe radio in my license plate or whatever. I drove away since there was nobody blocking the other side of my car (the parking lot was not full since it was 8:30pm). I knew it was not illegal per se since I had looked up the local law before. I gambled that the cop would not drive after me, and I was right. Though I did keep my house spotless for a while after there, just in case CPS paid a visit.

    I didn’t have time to fool around with the guy. I was in a hurry. That was why I didn’t bring my putzy kids into FedEx in the first place.

    So now I send my kids in to terrorize the FedEx store while I wait in the car. Much safer that way I’m sure.

  75. SKL August 12, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    Dirk,

    The re-education would be similar to the 20/20 episode, but with more facts regarding the danger to children, and suggestions on what you can do instead of calling the cops if there isn’t evidence the child is in distress.

  76. Warren August 12, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    Dirk,
    Wow.
    Live Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

    So you are saying that parents must give up liberty, because extremist that live a paranoid life say so?

    Me I prefer to fight back. Take social convention and shove it up your and their you know whats.

    Here’s one for you to think about.
    Would put the baby down for the night, in the trailer and either be at our fire or down a few lots, but definitely not within earshot. When it was time to get another beer, would poke our head in. Go ahead, judge me, I’m more than ready for it.
    You remind me of my former in laws. My kids would come running in jibber jabbering about what they were up to, grab food and drink and run out the door, of the trailer. My mother in law would be all upset that I didn’t interogate them. My answer was, “They are in the park, and I didn’t hear guns, knives, drugs or sex. So they are good to go.”.

  77. SKL August 12, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

    Well I have to go pick up my poor, neglected kids in a few minutes so ta ta.

  78. Jay Pierson August 12, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    I am just glad that my children are now over 18. This lady who thinks that there should be laws governing this is stupid. I can go to her home right now and find 10 things that she is doing that “could” be bad for her children. Should we legislate all of those. It is time to get the government and noisy neighbors out of child rearing. My daughter who is 21 now, hated going shopping and always asked to stay in the car reading. From the time she was 8 she was old enough and mature enough for us to allow this to happen. By over parenting we are ruining our children’s lives. Maybe we should legislate over protection of our children. Our police force has become militarized enough as it is and we don’t need more laws but less laws. Our President has not helped by asking all the citizens to watch out for their neighbors in case they are terrorists.

  79. E August 12, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    @Dirk, I get it. Your motivation is to avoid the confrontation with police because we are beginning to see that people will report you. That’s your choice. But you don’t judge the person that a) has a legit reason to make a different choice (however they define legit) and b) presume everyone knows the legal situation about to be unleashed on them.

    These same people could decide to stand in front of your yard, video your child playing (w/o supervision) and call the police. Will it be ok to have that to become the next “societal convention”?

  80. Shari August 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    The main value of Dirk’s original comment is this: If you leave a kid in the car, be prepared for the societal response, and it can be ugly. It is a consequence, however unfair.

    There are people calling the cops when they see middle-schoolers alone in cars. It’s absolutely nuts what is going on, and absolutely unfair that parents need to run scared. There is no way to prevent a life-changing accusation from hitting any reasonable parent.

    However, that does not mean we must stop taking reasonable risks. What we need to do is figure out how to stop the cultural hysteria and remove some of the fear of reprisal that Kim described. This can only be accomplished by lots of education and publicity.

    We also must ensure that reasonable parenting decisions won’t be prosecuted. We can’t stop busybodies from reporting, but we can control the response of police and CPS through enaction and revision of laws. (Most of the CPS infractions are infractions against “guidelines”, yet the consequences are severe.)

    This will be an uphill battle.

    This week I did something truly dangerous with my kids, no joke. I allowed them to swim in the ocean at Cape Henlopen, DE as I stayed within feet of them though the waves frequently swept them away. Even the edge of the surf was powerful enough to knock over my 5 year old. I fully recognize the danger and in fact we usually do get hurt while swimming in the ocean. Many parents stayed on the beach and watched their children or read books. Soon there will be “beach vigilantes” patrolling the sand, having all the parents arrested, and all the kids sent in buses to new families who would never expose them to such dangers. Allowing kids to swim in the ocean could become illegal.

    This doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore, so yes, we need to work on protecting parents’ right to parent.

  81. Merrick August 12, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    I call BS on you claiming to even seriously consider a call to the cops in the 90s. See, I was a parent in the 90s. And two things come quickly to mind:

    1) Most people didn’t have cell phones (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0933563.html) — calling the cops would require going into a store and asking to use their phone. Not a common practice.
    And Honestly most people don’t do things that are inconvenient for them. If the cops are in your pocket, you’re way more likely to think you can call than if you have to go out of your way.

    2) Most gas stations still required that patrons GO INSIDE to pay. Pay at the pump was not common. So leaving small children in the car while running in to pay WAS common. And drive through pharmacies, and drive through coffee shops? They didn’t exist. (I do remember a drive through liquor store, though LOL) Even drive up ATMs often required getting out of a car walking across a sidewalk. No red box – just video stores where you had to GO INSIDE to return those pesky VHS tapes. I remember how excited I was when our library added a drive up book drop.

    So the social acceptance of running small errands was very different because small errands were recognized as just that and a part of daily life in a way that they aren’t so much now.

  82. Papilio August 12, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    @Dirk: No, I am saying that mindlessly following social conventions, even if you don’t agree, just because everyone else follows them, has lead and still leads to very negative outcomes.

  83. lollipoplover August 12, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    @Shari-
    You must have been at the beach the same time we were. We were at the shore when the warnings for rip currents from tropical storm Bertha started to hit. Yes, the waves were HUGE. I got texts from my MIL warning me to keep my kids out of the ocean and to “be safe”. We assessed conditions, realized they were rougher than usual, and used an abundance of caution before boogie boarding the day away and riding some awesome waves.

    Ironically, my MIL who warned us to stay safe in the ocean fell out of bed and hit her bed post and needed stitches in her lip the same week. So yes, anything can happen.

    And we are worried so much about kids alone in cars…why not adults too? Can’t adults get kidnapped sitting there like ducks? What about the elderly? They could overheat easily too. If we are going to patrol parking lots for supervision infractions, lets not discriminate. Don’t leave Pop Pop in the car or I will call the Po Po.

  84. Lolly August 12, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    I think this was as balanced of a view as you’re gonna get on this topic from the media these days. I wish they would’ve spent more time on it though.

    I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this here before or not, but one day last winter (the winter from hell here in the Great Lakes area, after more than a week of staying indoors due to snow and extreme cold, I knew I needed to get to the post office to pick up the mail. It was a mild 7 or 8 degrees F that day (the only day that hadn’t been below zero for quite awhile) so I hauled my kids (then almost 6, almost 3, and 16 months) into our van, locked them all in their carseats, and drove them the 3 blocks to the little post office in our tiny town of 300 people (where the only danger is getting your cars egged or your trees tp’d in the middle of the night). When I got to the post office I parked in front of the large window where I could see the van from inside, left the van on, the heat on, and the kids buckled in, locked the van doors (because I had the spare keys in my pocket), and went inside to get my mail. I was in the post office 30 seconds, no more, and when I came outside there was a middle aged woman who lived across from the post office and an elderly woman who had parked right behind me staring in the windows of my van at my kids. When they saw me they quickly lectured me on the danger of leaving my kids in the van and said that they were about to call the police about it. I looked at them and said “leaving my kids in the van for 30 seconds where I can see them from inside the whold time is more dangerous than dragging them all outside in 7 degree weather on the icy streets where they could fall down and crack their skulls open? There’s no way I’m unbuckling all of them and then buckling them all back into their carseats less than a minute later, not to mention dragging them out into the bitter cold just because of the tiny chance something bad could happen in the split second I leave them. In fact, if I had left them all sleeping at home and drove down to the post office and back in 3 minutes time, no one would’ve known the difference and they would’ve been just as safe, but because I’m terrified of overworried people like the both of you I made sure to drag my kids out into the van to ensure the police don’t show up at my door later because I left my kids alone for 3 minutes. Please think about how ridiculous your worries are and leave the parenting of my kids to me, because I do in fact have their best interests and their safety in mind.” I got in my van and drove away before I could hear them say anything other than “sorry…”.

  85. Gina August 12, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    @SKL–While I do agree that it is sometimes ok to leave a child in a car and that the choice should be the parents’, I have to disagree with your statement about heatstroke.
    Five minutes is a LONG time and a newborn in a closed car for that long could easily begin to get overheated to the point of heatstroke IF s/he lives in the desert. When it’s 120 here, I start to get dizzy/nauseated in the parked car with the window OPEN after about 5 minutes….And I am a full grown woman with a brain that regulates body temperature.
    Again, common sense should dictate, but blanket statements serve no purpose. Different situations cause different problems.

  86. Asya August 13, 2014 at 12:17 am #

    That woman driving the reporter around is a very disturbing person. “… but they’re still unsupervised.” … So?! Does she take all of her children into her home bathroom with her so they stay “supervised?” Where does it end with those people?!

  87. JP Merzetti August 13, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    I dunno, America.
    I think the 50 states should soon represent at least three quarters of the population of the planet.
    Because the entire third world should be dying off like dinosaurs.
    They um, don’t really supervise their kids.

    Yet somehow, they stubbornly persist in surviving…and to adulthood, too.
    We’re not quite sure how they do it.
    But obviously, we don’t seem to be too interested in learning how.

    But then, this is why I don’t watch tv.
    I would become far too lonesome, yearning for the sound of a reasonable human.

  88. JP Merzetti August 13, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    Just occurred to me…..
    one of the reasons car deaths “appear” to be spiking is due to the sheer amount of time / number of trips / shuttling and chauffeuring of kids in this day and age.
    As a kid – I could go weeks without being in a car.

    And one other thing (especially for the heat issue)
    Any kid old enough to know how to roll down a window – is not at risk.
    They’re behind a locked door. Safe as any house.
    (Pass the Gatoraide, please?)

  89. no rest for the weary August 13, 2014 at 4:15 am #

    Lenore, could you please write a book about this topic?

    I know this website’s only purpose is to sell books (snicker), but I really, really, REALLY want you to write a book about kids and cars.

    Because it’s so easy to gloss over that simple fact that MORE KIDS DIE WHEN THE CAR IS MOVING than die when the car is not moving.

    I want LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of press about this issue, challenging what “Dirk” calls “societal norms” or whatever.

    My mother, who was born in 1939 and raised two kids in the 70s, has a hard time believing that parents these days are actually expected to watch their kids every. Damned. Second. We’ve made childhood a misery, we’ve made parenthood a misery, and we’ve made neighbourliness nearly extinct. WE NEED TO SAY SOMETHING. WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING.

    I want a book, Lenore. And I want a “leave your child in the car while you run an errand” day type of civil disobedience tied into the book launch. I want press, I want more discussion, I want people to look again at what they are doing to children and families in the name of “safety.”

    Please.

  90. Beth August 13, 2014 at 7:08 am #

    @Gina, please remember that not everyone (in fact very few of us) lives in the desert. I’m so tired of Arizona heat being the standard that everyone has to live by no matter where they actually live. And, often, parents have taken the actual weather on that day in their area into account when they make the INFORMED decision to leave their kid(s) in the car during a quick errand. They don’t say “well, if I lived in AZ I couldn’t do this, so I won’t.”

  91. E August 13, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    @Beth, I don’t live in AZ, but I’ve lived in places where at certain times of year, I would not want anyone to be stuck in a car for 5 minutes.

    Last Sept, we were in CA. We started the morning in the Sierras where a jacket was nice…as well traveled to the coast, we stopped at a gas station in the valley. My husband went inside to get soda and I remained in the car. In that very short amount of time, I got uncomfortable enough to open the car door.

    Sure, maybe no one has died after being held in a car for 5 minutes regardless of temps, but it doesn’t mean that that’s a reason/excuse to do it. If someone left a child unable to open a door in that kind of weather with the justification that they won’t die, well that’s inviting some questions about their decision making — and it would be justified.

    If you are talking about the difference between 5 or 10 minutes for safety — it’s way too close to even consider.

    I’m sure that if it were 90 degrees instead of 40, Kim Brooks would not have made the decision she did — reasonable people would not, even if it were “just 5 minutes”.

  92. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    I like you Warren. You clearly do pay attention to what is going on, you don’t have to helicopter to be involved. You let your kids play in their neighborhood? That’s pretty conventional.

    Donna, so you you were in sight of your car and intervened when you needed to and nothing happened. Can’t say the same of Kim Brooks.

  93. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    Hi Merrick. Save your BS call. I was a teenager with a new license in the 90s and clearly remember as part of driver training being told to do something if I saw a baby in a car alone. Yeah, I would have walked back into the pizza place I had just come out of and from which the dad walked out like a minute later.

    And no, in response to how great the need was to leave kids in cars for more than a minute or two and out of your view and the lame examples of when you would need to do so in the 90s, you could totally pay for gas at the pump in the 90s, stopping in front of a west coast video to return tapes would take 5 seconds and you wouldn’t be out of sight of the car (and yes I even remember being left in the car in the 80s for just such a VHS tape return!), but banks have had drive-throughs that did not require you to leave your car for as long as I can remember and even if you had to go out of the car to the atm it would have been within what? 10 feet of your car. Bad examples man. It was probably easier to leave your kid in the car because people did a better job of doing it. But it doesn’t matter.

    Go ahead. All of you. Leave your child in the car on purpose for…oh I don’t know, 15 minutes in front of a Dunkin Donuts every day for a week and see what happens. Take a guess what will happen. Someone will be like hey did someone forget their kid, someone will be all what the hell is wrong with you, and someone will call the cops. On a long enough timeline someone will always call the cops because on a long enough timeline the kid will in fact die.

  94. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    no rest for the weary, you are right. Do something about it. Go ahead. Write the book yourself. Stop complaining that society makes it so hard that you have to take your kid in with you when you go dress shopping or that day care providers can’t leave a bunch of kids in a van while they do their personal food shopping.

  95. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    @ SKL

    Your Tue Aug 12th 2014 at 5:14 pm comment makes a lot of sense in a way.

    You said it is wrong to “call the cops about kids who you know have NOT been left in the car long.” My response is to say I have no idea how long the infant has been left in the car at all. So when I saw the two babies left in the grand marquis in high school yeah my friend and I paused as we buckled up and put our sandwiches down and debated for a second on what to do. Like your experience “(I too have watched to make sure a mom came back within a short time period (but I did not give her a dirty look)” we looked around and saw a man (within sight of the car right inside the same pizza shop) look like he was the parent, we waited a minute or so and the man came out. And yeah I gave him a look because you are not supposed to do it. He was probably fine doing it sure, but it isn’t the greatest of habits. The people who immediately call the cops feel stronger about it, and interestingly the laws in 19 so states or what have you is on their side. You want to change this? Call you governors, write the book, start a campaign, I would contact the American Association or Pediatricians for a start!

  96. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    @ SKL Tue Aug 12th 2014 at 5:34 pm the re-education program would then be also stupid. No one thinks that a baby is going to die if they are left in the car for a minute or two. It takes at least 15 minutes or so for a child to start getting sick etc. The problem is no one passing by knows, there is no information available, that is why it was important you could see your car at the FEDEX…

  97. Warren August 13, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    Gina,
    If in less than 5 mins, after running the ac, your car heats up to health risk temps……….then there is something wrong with your car.

    E,
    Really think about your example. You started your day when it was cool enough to wear a jacket. So you would not have been trying to cool the car down while driving. You probably just let the car heat up naturally during the drive. So considering you dressed for cool temps, didnt attempt to cool the car, then sat in the car for a time in the afternoon heat…………duh yeah you got hot. Bad example.

  98. Warren August 13, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    Dirk,
    Please do not like me when it comes to this topic. Because I cannot stand people that blindly follow the crowd. And that is what you are doing.
    I do not care how many paranoid citizens believe how bad something is…….when based on irrational fears and not fact, they are wrong. And to blindly go along with them is weak.
    Your logic of not knowing how long the child has be alone in the car is not logic, it is worst first thinking, not logic. Let’s face it, I am not one to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to intentions. I tend to think people are not acting with mine or a child’s best interest, because they are not. Should I come out and find you shading your eyes pressed up against my truck to stare in at my kids and dogs………..what do you think is going to happen.

    1. I will calmly approach you and ask if there is something I can do for you…
    OR
    2. I will walk up, and forcefully remove you from my vehicle, and demand to know what the hell you are doing.

    Will give you two guesses and the first one don`t count.

    Maybe just maybe if busybody selfrighteous people learn that there is consequences for sticking their nose in where it doesn`t belong, they will get the hint.

  99. SKL August 13, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Dirk, you are wrong. People are being encouraged to call – and some do call – when they see a parent just leaving the car or coming back to the car. In other words they cannot tell themselves that they need to call the cops to save that poor child from imminent death. They are calling either because they want to hurt that family (teach them a lesson at the kids’ expense), or they actually believe that a child left in a car for a few minutes could die. And the real life examples we’re talking about are not in AZ at the peak of the heat. In Kim’s case it was early and cool out. In my case it was sunset and pleasant out. If the people calling the cops (in these types of cases) have any heart at all, they are calling because they are miseducated about the dangers of kids in cars.

    Even if you have no idea how long a kid has been in a car that might be heating up, you can look at the kid and see – is he sweating or uncomfortable or showing other signs of trouble? Most of the time we know parents who do this during sunny hours are running a quick errand. It is crazy to err on the side of “this child is about to perish” despite evidence to the contrary. Unless you see evidence of distress, wait a few minutes if you really care about that child’s well-being. That’s the advice people should be given.

    And by the way, why is it a problem if Lenore promotes her book on this site? Ever heard of free enterprise? If it bothers you that much, you should probably stop reading here.

  100. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    About not following social conventions. Cool, don’t. fight the power. Don’t be surprised about the reaction that occurs in an extreme minority if times (but would occur every time on a long enough timeline).

    I think that people shouldn’t leave their kids in the car and if they do they should only do it for a few minutes at most and stay within sight of the car. Not because I think it is unsafe or because society tells me to but rather because it is in my opinion the best way. Remember that story about the day care worker who left the kids in the car to go food shopping for herself. Busybody and cops say the kids were crying. Kids being upset isn’t the end of the world. But when you leave two babies to go pick up a pizza for monday night football in the car for 10 minutes and they wake up and wonder what the hell is going on and start streaming tears (again not the end of the world), I don’t think it is really a great idea. It seems that there is a knee jerk response that purports that people are getting arrested in droves for leaving their kids in the car. They are not.

  101. lollipoplover August 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    This is ultimately about the misinterpretation of danger.
    There is danger, which is real, like a storm just picked up and is blowing a lamp post down on a car with a child inside. Or a hot sweltering day and a persistent crying baby with a red face, sweating. Then we have irrational fear, which makes someone videotape a happy child playing a video game in the back of a car for 5 minutes and sending it to police.
    How, as a society, we cannot differentiate the difference between fear and danger with regards to our children and apply the law incorrectly to persecute good parents should concern us all.

  102. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    @ Warren Wed Aug 13th 2014 at 10:47 am

    So what would you do if you saw my baby sitting in my truck screaming his head of in front of a Tim Horton’s?

  103. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    @ SKL Wed Aug 13th 2014 at 11:04 am

    I liked the free range book but lenore is replacing one type of fear mongering with another. I am disappointed by this…

    When you say that most of the time people who do this are on a quick errand…I am really surprised you think so. How often are you seeing babies left in cars? I have only seen this once 20 years ago. I have never seen an older child left in a car (I guess the last one would be me as a child then…) This isn’t the normal practice and that is why their is ANY reaction to it…

    “Unless you see evidence of distress, wait a few minutes if you really care about that child’s well-being.” Yeah, no der. But also if you see no distress as well. And I ask how long should you wait. What happens if you wait, and wait, and wait. And what? 15 minutes goes by? 30? When do you do something?

    But also I go back to how much do you think this is happening? I never ever see babies or kids in the car. The rarity is what prompts the response.

  104. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    I meant for that sentence to read:

    Cool, Dont.

    Fight the power.

  105. SKL August 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    Dirk, on another very active mom forum, this question came up. Now without giving too much info, this forum is for moms who are far more involved in the well-being of their kids than the average mom. Most of them are stay-at-home moms also.

    So it turns out that in that group, in modern times, there are many who leave their kids in the car for brief periods of time for a variety of reasons. There are others who don’t. Most of the ones who don’t do this are moms who have a range of other choices. For example, run errands when the kids are with their dad (doesn’t work if there’s no dad) or don’t be in such a hurry (not always feasible if you’re a single working mom with multiple kids).

    The fact that you never see kids in cars could be because (I hope) you don’t go around peering in other people’s car windows. I know I don’t. I also don’t notice which cars have child seats and which are full of clutter.

    The time I had the cops called on me, I was talking to my kids as I exited the car. I told them to look under the seats for some missing library books, then get their seatbelts on before I got back because I didn’t have time to wait around for them to do that. Then I said “stay in the car, I’ll be right back.” So it is almost certain that some busybody heard me say that and that is the only reason she noticed that kids were being left in a car. (And that is also how she knew that they were not in any danger of baking to death.)

    As for kids waking up scared etc, parents are in the best position to know whether that is an issue. My own kids, as babies/tots, could not be left alone in the car because I knew they would scream their heads off. So I didn’t do it. Other people’s kids are different. In contrast, I never had a monitor or anything for when they slept; they were perfectly fine being alone all night without interaction; but other people’s kids might be more needy. Parenting isn’t about treating every child as if she has every fear and shortcoming in the world. It’s about responding to our own kids’ unique needs and abilities.

    You are entitled to your *opinion* about how people should handle their kids. You can even express it. But believing it should be codified into law is just wrong. This country is supposed to guarantee individual freedoms. Laws against personal choice are supposed to be made only when absolutely necessary. And when the cops and government agencies use their powers to take away personal liberties, that’s the same as having a law against parental authority. You don’t have a problem with that, apparently, but most of us do.

  106. Gina August 13, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    @Beth: No, of course not. I was simply responding to SKL who said it was IMPOSSIBLE (across the board, I assume) to get heatstroke in 5 minutes. For a young infant, that just isn’t true everywhere.

    @Warren: I meant without the car running.

  107. Donna August 13, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    Dirk – Huh? I have no idea what you are talking about. I’ve never needed to intervene when I’ve left my child in the car. I’ve never been questioned, but I don’t actually do it that often. My kid rarely comes with me on errands.

  108. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    You don’t have to codify it into law. Laws dealing with abuse including abandonment cover a lot of ground and law enforcement and the courts have a lot of leeway in this (some of the time).

    But don’t you want to codify it too or create social conventions as well? I saw the babies in the car that one time because I was walking next to the car, parked next to it actually. And I assume that is indeed when/how kids are seen in cars when things go down. But you want to create a social convention of see the babies in the car and what? Ignore them, wait one minute then move on, wait until parent comes back, what? Or is it do nothing unless the kid the is in obvious distress, but a passed out kid offers little sign of distress other than sweat…What explicitly SHOULD the social convention be?

  109. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    You don’t have to codify it into law. Laws dealing with abuse including abandonment cover a lot of ground and law enforcement and the courts have a lot of leeway in this (some of the time).

    But don’t you want to codify it too or create social conventions as well? I saw the babies in the car that one time because I was walking next to the car, parked next to it actually. And I assume that is indeed when/how kids are seen in cars when things go down. But you want to create a social convention of see the babies in the car and what? Ignore them, wait one minute then move on, wait until parent comes back, what? Or is it do nothing unless the kid the is in obvious distress, but a passed out kid offers little sign of distress other than sweat…What explicitly SHOULD the social convention be?

  110. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    @ Donna Wed Aug 13th 2014 at 1:04 pm

    You intervened when the cops rolled up at the FedEx place. You were in sight of your car and were able to return and do something about it. Had someone been standing outside your car taking a video of your kid you would have also been able to do something about it. (You are probably going to type that you don’t always remain in sight of the car though.) If the stranger danger IS the busybody then you need to be aware of that.

  111. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Oh sorry! Meant SKL….

  112. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    Oh sorry! Meant SKL…

  113. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    SKL, no one is taking away my personal liberties. There is no epidemic.

  114. Mandy August 13, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    When I was a kid, in FLORIDA where it’s hot enough for A/C at Christmas, I hated going into the store so my mom would park the car in the shade, roll down the windows, and do the grocery shopping. She would take my sibs in with her only because we would fight otherwise. I would sit in the car, sweating, and read my book. Nobody interfered, and guess what? I didn’t die or even suffer other than the discomfort of peeling my sweaty leg off the vinyl seat. If it got too hot, I’d get out and come inside, but I think I only did that a couple times.

    I have left my toddler in the car napping in our driveway rather than wake him up. Generally just for a few minutes while I unloaded groceries and procured a snack and/or reading material. But not because I thought he’d be unsafe if I left him alone longer, but because I didn’t want him to cry if he woke up without me. I have left him (and now our 2-month-old) in the house numerous times while I take the trash cans out, bring in the groceries, talk to the neighbor, etc. Obviously while I know they’re in a safe place and can’t get into too much trouble.

    I have NEVER taken my son out of the car while I’m pumping gas/paying in the gas station shop– why on earth would I risk him getting run over/tripping/breathing in petrol fumes. It didn’t even occur to me to do so until I read a comment on this site or some other “kid in the car” article.

    It does occur to me that having a “Be right back” sign (like the pizza delivery guy has) while popping in to the post office or whatever might decrease the likelihood of a busybody interfering– but then again, it might antagonize her.

  115. lollipoplover August 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    “I never ever see babies or kids in the car.”

    You wouldn’t see mine. I have tinted windows.

    I never see pedestrians run over in parking lots, but that doesn’t it’s not happening.

  116. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    “I never see pedestrians run over in parking lots, but that doesn’t it’s not happening.”

    That just means it isn’t an epidemic!

  117. Havva August 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    @ Dirk,
    I had driver’s ed in 1997 and got licensed in 2000. I actually read the whole DMV handbook too. And none of my driving education involved lessons on calling the cops if a kid or a baby was spotted in a parked car.

    You are assuming a universality that wasn’t there in the late 90’s.

  118. lollipoplover August 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    @Dirk-
    Getting hit by a car is the third leading cause of death for kids 5- to 9-years-old, and kids up to age 15 make up a disproportionate number of pedestrian casualties worldwide.
    (from the CDC website)
    Not an epidemic, but among childhood causes of death, it’s pretty high up on the list. Parking lots are deadly places for kids.

  119. Warren August 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Dirk,
    In a Timmies parking lot? I wouldn’t think a damn thing about it. It is a regular occurance in Tim Horton’s parking lots.

    There is no reason to drag your kids into a Tim Hortons while you get your coffee. None whatsover. More so do to the sheer number of customers usually found in the shops, it is better to leave them out in the car.

    Really poorly thought out example.

  120. SKL August 13, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Dirk, I’ve said it enough times. Convention should be that IF you see a child in a car who cannot get out in conditions that could lead to a hot car, then you see if the kid is in distress or just fine. If the kid is just fine, you wait 5 minutes or so to see if the parent just left the kid briefly, and if the parent comes back, say hi and move along. If the parent doesn’t come back AND conditions mean the car could get hot, then you go into the nearest storefront(s) and try to figure out who the parent is and tell them you’re worried the car could be getting too hot for a kid to be in there. In the rare event the kid is still left in the heating car after all this, then call the cops.

    If you see a kid who is big enough to get out, you do nothing. Move along.

    If weather conditions are safe for a kid to sit in a car for a long time, or if the car is in the shade, and the child is not in distress, you do nothing. Move along.

    You don’t know what is going on in the lives of each of the families that choose to leave a child in a car in safe weather conditions. Someone could be sick / hurting, they could be in a frantic hurry for a very understandable reason, or there might be something about the kid that makes it better for him to stay in the car. It’s not your business unless someone is dying.

    I think there should be some repercussions for people who do things like the video of the 4yo and the lady who called on me for leaving my 2nd graders in a car at sunset for what was clearly going to be a very short time period. For example, wouldn’t it be great if the lady who made that video and sent it to the cops had her identity revealed on 20/20, if people banged on her door and called her house demanding to know what the hell she was thinking and how she could be so uncaring about that family? And if she’s a mom, people could hang around her house and car and videotape every move she and her kids make. I think it would be awesome. People who do what she did should not be treated as heroes. They are just one step up from kidnappers.

  121. Havva August 13, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    Dirk,
    Before pausing to see if you responded I did start pulling some driver’s handbooks at random. Interesting you should bring up Connecticut as proof that this is universal. Several problems with that.

    1) Connecticut isn’t he whole United States of America.

    2) As the web sight you linked to clearly states in the top banner “DMV.ORG is a privately owned website that is not owned or operated by any state government agency.”

    3) The line you sighted said “long enough that it represents a substantial risk to the child’s well-being” so this isn’t exactly a never leave a child for any amount of time under any conditions, call the cops if you see one. Which you claimed was universal training as early as the 90’s.

    4) It isn’t even mentioned in Driver’s Manual issued by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles in 2014. Which is available to all here. http://www.ct.gov/dmv/lib/dmv/20/29/r12eng.pdf

  122. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    I saw a mailman tell a lady off for leaving her kid in front of her apartment building the other day.

    I remember in drivers ed being told not to leave babies alone in a car. Guess I grew up during that time and place.

    SKL, glad to konw that you think you should check up on babies left in parking lots and wait 5 minutes then go and try to find the parent and if you cant then to call the cops. See! We agree!

    Sorry to upset everyone.

  123. E August 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    @Warren, my point is that it doesn’t have to be AZ to be too hot to leave someone/a pet in the car. Trust me, by the time we got to that gas station, I was wearing shorts and Tshirt and had ditched the extra layer (it wasn’t our first stop).

    I don’t think anyone (even the one who posted it) believes that as long as something unpleasant last 5 minutes, then it’s ok. If we’re using 5 minutes for a cutoff time, it’s not wise. All it takes is a slow checkout and your 5 minutes is up and you either have to drop your crap and get out to whomever you left in the car, or you go over the 5 minutes.

    In the Kim Brooks case, she only took 5 minutes, but it wouldn’t have mattered at all (car temp wise) if she’d been 10 or 15 or even longer.

  124. Donna August 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    “SKL, glad to konw that you think you should check up on babies left in parking lots and wait 5 minutes then go and try to find the parent and if you cant then to call the cops. See! We agree!”

    Actually that is not what SKL said at all. She said that you should do these things IF you have a reason to believe that the child is in danger of becoming too hot inside the car. Nowhere did she say that you should call the cops EVERY TIME.

  125. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    “Convention should be that IF you see a child in a car who cannot get out in conditions that could lead to a hot car, then you see if the kid is in distress or just fine. If the kid is just fine, you wait 5 minutes or so to see if the parent just left the kid briefly, and if the parent comes back, say hi and move along. If the parent doesn’t come back AND conditions mean the car could get hot, then you go into the nearest storefront(s) and try to figure out who the parent is and tell them you’re worried the car could be getting too hot for a kid to be in there. In the rare event the kid is still left in the heating car after all this, then call the cops.”

  126. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    What counts as hot out? 80 degrees? On an 80 degree day, the inside of a closed car can quickly exceed 100 degrees. In just 10 minutes a car can heat up 20 degrees. Cracking a window does little to keep the inside of a car cool.

  127. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    But even on a 70-degree day, the inside temperature of a car can exceed 120 degrees even with windows partially open.

  128. Donna August 13, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    “I never see pedestrians run over in parking lots, but that doesn’t it’s not happening.”
    That just means it isn’t an epidemic!”

    Wow, I wasn’t aware that the fact that ONE PERSON (out of the 317,000,000 or so currently living in the US) personally never saw something happen means that it can’t possibly be “an epidemic” (whatever the heck that means in this context).

    I’ve never personally seen a vehicle accident involving a fatality. I guess that shouldn’t be a concern either.

  129. Cynthia812 August 13, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Dirk, you’ve moved the goalposts about ten times in this discussion. And we don’t need a “social convention” for what to do with kids in cars. People need to make the best choice that they can, but what we really need is for law enforcement to properly analyze risk and intent and not go overboard just because someone else did.

  130. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    “I’ve never personally seen a vehicle accident involving a fatality. I guess that shouldn’t be a concern either.”

    Isn’t that the same arguement for leaving your kid in the car? Odd are low? Isn’t that one of the responses to saying don’t leave your kid in the car? That it is less sage on the road but that doesn’t stop us from driving we still consider it safe?

  131. Dirk August 13, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    Ugh auto correct. Forgive the spelling please!

  132. Donna August 13, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    Dirk – There are many times when it is perfectly acceptable to leave a baby in a closed car and it will not get too hot. There are times when it is not. If you didn’t insist on the (total lack of) thought process that “this is never okay,” I’m sure you could probably figure it out. Or you could at least stand by the car and google it with all your fabulous internet research skills that you like to show off.

    The vast majority of the time, it is perfectly fine with windows rolled down (I don’t get this insistence about windows being rolled up). It may not be the most comfortable situation at times, but unless the kid is going to die outside, the kid will be fine in the car with windows down.

  133. Donna August 13, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    Dirk – Your statement was that because HAVVA has never seen something happening, that something can’t possibly be an epidemic.

    The fact that I’ve never seen a fatal accident doesn’t actually address the number of accident fatalities that occur each year, the odds, the likelihood of it occurring, the risk, etc. All it addresses is my own personal experiences. It could be that fatal accidents never happen and that’s why I have never seen one. Or it could be that accidents happen all the time and I’ve just been extremely lucky to have never viewed one.

  134. Warren August 13, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    Dirk,
    One question.

    Do you honestly think that if all americans agreed to never leave their child in a car while they ran a quick errand, that it would save any lives?

    It won’t.

  135. Stacy August 13, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    We can probably all agree that there are dangerous situations in which bystanders should intervene and parents should be educated and possibly investigated for neglect/abuse — i.e. very small children left for a long time in the heat — and other situations in which the danger is pretty much imaginary — older children left for ten minutes in a cool car while mom runs an errand. There are plenty of situations in the latter category that are very common in my community — just today I ran into the library while my teen and school-age kids waited with the windows open on a sunny day (and then I pumped gas with the windows open). No one drags their kids into the local pizza place when they grab a pizza on the way home. My kid has sat in the car for an hour with all the windows rolled up in the summer because he was trying to avoid bugs while camping, so don’t tell me that the car becomes a death trap in fifteen minutes in typical northern U.S. weather.

    Instead of stating that no children should be left in cars ever and encouraging bystanders to report all incidents, wouldn’t it be more useful to educate parents and bystanders to recognize and prevent actually dangerous situations? It reminds me of the co-sleeping debate — because authorities decided that all co-sleeping was dangerous, they wouldn’t educate parents on how to co-sleep safely. So warn parents about how hot a car can get and how quickly a small child can overheat, suggest leaving the windows open for older kids or making sure they have control over the windows, advise that the doors be left open and temps watched carefully when a sleeping baby is left in the garage, and — most importantly — focus on strategies for not forgetting a baby/toddler in the car. Don’t go after parents who did not actually place their child in danger of dying or make unreasonable blanket pronouncements like “no child left in cars ever.”

  136. Red August 13, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    “But even on a 70-degree day, the inside temperature of a car can exceed 120 degrees even with windows partially open.”

    You’re moving down the ladder of reasonableness at this point.

    It’s 70 degrees outside. It’s overcast. I just spent two and a half hours sitting in my car with only the front windows rolled partly down and reading a book because my kid was undergoing placement testing for school and there was a strictly enforced “no parents waiting in building policy”.

    Would I have left my kid in the car, reading a book, under these conditions on this day? Yes. As I said above, I spent two and a half hours in there without my (dark blue car with black interior) getting to the point where I even found it hot. Sure, if it had been sunny and the car in direct sunlight, it could have gotten hotter. But it didn’t and it was pretty reasonable to expect that it wouldn’t because it’s been overcast all day long.

    Saying that kids shouldn’t be left in cars at all, for any reason, under any conditions is unreasonable.

  137. Red August 13, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

    I also don’t quite understand the claims that leaving a kid in the car is only about the parent’s convenience.

    My kid is and has been generally reasonable in stores for a long time. He automatically holds my hand while walking across the parking lot, he generally holds onto the cart when shopping for groceries. If we are clothing shopping instead, he generally finds a place to sit down and stays there. He’s not unpleasant to shop with. He’s not trouble to shop with.

    Leaving him in the car versus taking him in with me is equal in convenience. It doesn’t really matter much.

    Really, it’s mainly less convenient and less pleasing for *him* (not me). Since he’s learned to read … on a decent day, he’d rather sit in the car and continue reading the book he’s been reading since he got into the car and buckled himself in.

    The only reason I have hauled him into the stores with me at this point is for my own protection, not my own convenience. And the negative impact for doing so is a negative impact on my son, not on me.

  138. anonymous mom August 13, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    @Warren, the bizarre thing about people bringing up Adam Walsh is that he was abducted from a mall, not a car. If he had been left in the car while his mother shopped, rather than brought into the store, maybe he wouldn’t have been kidnapped. I’m not aware of a single child abduction that involved a child being snatched from a car in a parking lot, while there are stories of stranger abductions that involved a child being taken while in a store with their parents.

    I was thinking, reading this and the comments, about a story I saw the other day about children and risk, where one woman interviewed talking about making children “as safe as necessary, but not as safe as possible.” I think that’s wise. The problem is that we seem to think that loving your kids means making them as safe as possible, when 1) that’s not possible to do when there’s risk inherent in everything and 2) that’s not even desirable because it stunts kids’ development. Instead, we should think about making our kids as safe as necessary. A child left in a car for a short period of time is not as safe as they could possibly be, no. But, neither is the child being taken through the parking lot and into the store. Both children could be safer, so if our standard is “as safe as possible,” then parents pretty much will never win. But, assuming it’s not very hot and the windows aren’t up, the child in the car as is as safe as they need to be. And, assuming they aren’t a toddler allowed to run wild through the parking lot, they are as safe as they need to be going into the store. That doesn’t mean that something awful couldn’t happen–because it always could, in any situation–but that the children are protected from obvious, genuine, imminent hazards and that’s enough.

    Maybe this is OT, but I think we just have to resist the urge to equate being “as safe as possible” or “better safe than sorry” with love. My daughter who was born a month ago had a false positive result on her newborn screening for a genetic condition that would have meant, in part, that she had to be fed every 3-4 hours to avoid really serious health risks. So, until we got the results of the retest and discovered she was fine (the screenings have an extremely high rate of false positives) about ten days later, I was waking her up for feedings every 3-1/2 hours. That was necessary during that time, because if she did indeed have that disorder, she’d be in genuine danger if she wasn’t fed on that schedule. However, part of me, once we got the results back that she was fine, was tempted to keep feeding her every 3-4 hours, “just in case.” I mean, better safe than sorry, right? Just in case the test was wrong? But I realized that, first of all, the chances of the retest giving a false negative were extremely, extremely small–as opposed to the high likelihood that a first screening will give a false positive–and that waking her up from a sound sleep during the night to eat was not pleasant for either of us, and was disrupting both of our sleeps more than needed, and so wasn’t something I should do in the name of hypervigilance. (She’s up every 4-6 hours during the night anyway, so I’m just trying to enjoy the longer sleep periods when I can get them.) But the push to be “as safe as possible” can, I think, lead us to make unnecessary and irrational choices that are not good for us or our kids.

  139. anonymous mom August 13, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    @Red, I was thinking the same thing re: the horrific danger of cars. How come nobody ever complains when adults are with children inside cars? It happens, a lot. When my oldest was in school, the pick-up procedure involved waiting in the car on a pretty long line, as kids were released in groups of six or seven. I would generally like to get there early so my son could be released in one of the first groups, so I’d show up at the school maybe 20 minutes before the kids were let out. I waited in the car during that time, with my then 2 and 3 year olds in the back. 70-degree days were LOVELY. I’d often just partially roll down the windows while we waited. Most of the other parents had kids in their cars, and nobody ever suggested that the children were in danger from sitting in a car.

  140. Red August 13, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    @anonymous mom

    I didn’t even “have” to wait in the car, there was a Starbucks nearby. I went into the Starbucks, found it was full of annoying adults being loud and obnoxious (probably the parents of other kids undergoing placement testing), got myself a hot coffee and returned to my quiet and comfortable car.

    Sitting and relaxing in a car in a parking lot is not a punishment or an undesirable place to be, when the conditions are fine.

  141. Robert August 13, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    I may be wrong about this, but my sense is that children are showering younger now partly because parents are afraid to leave them in the bathtub. (See my Web site for why I’d care about that.)

    I’m wondering whether there’ve also been shifts in the ages at which children are allowed to use sharp knives & light fires. As to the knives, I also wonder whether there’ve been shifts (as with bathing) to feed children different diets (e.g. more sandwiches, soup, or finger foods) because of not being allowed to use knives as young but too much trouble for the parents to cut the food for them.

  142. hineata August 13, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    Speaking of epidemics, personally I’ve never met anyone with Ebola, but I tend to trust the medical types who tell me it’s happening at the moment. Am lucky to have also never personally witnessed a fatal car crash, but I gather they happen…

    I always pulled the car up to the kitchen window, left the windows down and the babies to it sleeping in the van when they were little. Am so glad no nosey parkers called the cops on me. Though the police no doubt would have laughed….it’s not a rare thing to do here, and has never been fatal, or even ‘sickness-producing’ that I can recall.

    If you really want to go nuts about safety, which is what never leaving kids in cars is, what about free-standing ovens? They very occasionally kill kids, and yet we still cook in houses with kids. Remarkable, really. Why aren’t the cops being called….?

  143. SKL August 14, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    Right, there are many times I sit and wait in a car for much longer than 5-10 minutes. With and without my kids. Most of the time the car does not get uncomfortably hot. And I have been alive long enough to know what conditions are likely to make it get hot quickly.

  144. anonymous mom August 14, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    I have a few friends whose kids are involved in sports or drama in places a good drive away, and they will often just relax in the car while their kid is at practice, rather than drive home than have to drive right back. This is not uncommon. None of them have died. Common sense would tell us that short periods of time in a car, even in warm weather, is not nearly as dangerous as the media wants us to believe.

  145. Stacy August 14, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    I just remembered another example of leaving a child in the car that was applauded in my community but might have resulted in a CPS call. My 9-year-old pitched a fit about going to church. She eventually put on a dress and coat but refused to put on tights or even shoes on a winter day, just to exercise some control over us. I put her shoes in the car. She then refused to get out of the car at church. Rather than giving in and driving home or disturbing everyone by dragging her kicking and screaming into church, we left her in the car. She was perfectly capable of walking the short distance into the church if she chose. When someone brought up the topic of misbehaving kids, my husband shared that our daughter was currently curled up in our cold car with bare legs and a winter coat. Everyone said way to go for not giving in. We checked on her after a half hour and she still refused to move. Another half hour later, she agreed to put on her shoes and come inside. She did not pitch a fit the next time we went to church. Parents need leeway to make all kinds of decisions that some people might deem neglect.

  146. Dirk August 14, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    I am not saying you it isn’t reasonable to leave a baby or kid in a car. For the last time. But I am saying that doing it for more than a literal minute or 2 or maybe even like say 5, et cetera, isn’t a good idea, and that one should stay within sight of the car. The reasons being 1) You know for a fact that on a long enough timeline someone will indeed call the cops. After a enough time goes by, a totally random amount of time for sure, someone is going to get nosey. Not being aware of that is indeed dumb in this day and age. Not saying it is right. Just saying it is true. 2) It can indeed be dangerous even on a nice day AFTER enough time has gone by. That is why I said anything more than a short interval isn’t a good idea.

    http://www.kshb.com/news/firefighters-bake-cookies-on-hot-car-to-highlight-danger-posed-to-children

    Now you are going to say it isn’t my business. But a few of you have commented yourselves that you would be worried and do something about a baby or a kid locked in a car that was in distress and even not in distress.

    BUT AGAIN: I am not saying you it isn’t reasonable to leave a baby or kid in a car. For the last time. But I am saying that doing it for more than a literal minute or 2 or maybe even like say 5, et cetera, isn’t a good idea, and that one should stay within sight of the car. The reasons being 1) You know for a fact that on a long enough timeline someone will indeed call the cops. After a enough time goes by, a totally random amount of time for sure, someone is going to get nosey. Not being aware of that is indeed dumb in this day and age. Not saying it is right. Just saying it is true. 2) It can indeed be dangerous even on a nice day AFTER enough time has gone by. That is why I said anything more than a short interval isn’t a good idea.

  147. Warren August 14, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    Dirk,
    No what you are saying, is that whatever becomes unpopular to the masses, whether they are right or wrong we should abide by it. Thus never having to have adversity or confrontation.

    Have a nice life, because that kind of mentality is more dangerous than anything.

    Dirk, have you never heard that if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. If you meekly go along with social convention, just to avoid confrontation, it is the same as supporting it. You are either against it, or for it. Black and white.

  148. Stacy August 14, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    “The reasons being 1) You know for a fact that on a long enough timeline someone will indeed call the cops. After a enough time goes by, a totally random amount of time for sure, someone is going to get nosey. Not being aware of that is indeed dumb in this day and age. Not saying it is right. Just saying it is true.”

    (1) I do not know for a fact that someone will call the cops. In my community, that is actually extremely unlikely. I know this from experience. Like I said, people praised me for leaving my nine-year-old in the car for an hour in the cold. Weren’t you the one that said this website exaggerates the likelihood of police involvement?

    (2) I am okay with defying certain social conventions, and I will not cave and comply if the government, the media, or a lynch mob of crazy parents insists on imposing their social conventions on me. I’m pretty sure you feel the same way; you just draw the line at a different point. What if it became social convention to do something you consider crazy helicopter parenting…would you follow it?

    (3) I don’t call the cops merely because I disagree with a parenting choice. OTOH, there are some cases that demand CPS involvement. Let’s encourage people to find a reasonable middle ground, not praise them for calling the cops at the drop of a hat.

  149. Dirk August 14, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Hi Stacy…

    On point 1) Yes on a long enough timeline someone will always call the cops because on a long enough timeline a baby or small child locked in a car will die. Usually by the end of the a workday for example. So when the person in the car is dead someone will call the cops. Sometime prior to that it is likely that a passerby will check in on your kid, look for the parent, and eventually call the cops if you never come back. The cops most likely will not arrest you at all, unless you have indeed done something incredibly stupid…

    On point 2) On social conventions? We follow conventions every day. Pink for girls blue for boys. (Although, it used to be the other way around about 120 years ago! Isn’t that something!)

    On point 3) “Let’s encourage people to find a reasonable middle ground?” you say! Awesome, thanks for agreeing with me.

  150. Dirk August 14, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    @ W,

    Come on…you know I am not lockstep stooge…

    That being said I do think leaving your kids in the car for more than “a bit” and out of sight of the vehicle is not a good habit. I also am aware of the social codes of the day.

  151. Stacy August 14, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    Dirk, you said, “I am saying that doing it for more than a literal minute or 2 or maybe even like say 5, et cetera, isn’t a good idea, and that one should stay within sight of the car. The reasons being 1) You know for a fact that on a long enough timeline someone will indeed call the cops.”

    Then you said, “Yes on a long enough timeline someone will always call the cops because on a long enough timeline a baby or small child locked in a car will die. Usually by the end of the a workday for example. So when the person in the car is dead someone will call the cops.”

    If I left my thirteen-year-old home alone for a month, someone is probably going to notice and call the cops. That doesn’t mean I can’t leave him alone for the day.

    What we’re debating is the vast middle ground between a few minutes during which you’re still in sight of the car and an entire work day. The extreme situations that are actually dangerous can be addressed BETTER without a blanket rule against ever leaving a child in a car. The vast middle ground can be best addressed through parental judgment.

  152. Dirk August 14, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    “If I left my thirteen-year-old home alone for a month, someone is probably going to notice and call the cops.”

    Right, somewhere between day one and day 30 for the 13 year old at home someone is going to call the cops (although I am not too sure about that but it was your example so lets role). And yes somewhere between hour one and hour 24 someone is going to call the cops on a baby in a car.

  153. Warren August 14, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    Dirk,
    Actually I wouldn`t say a lockstep stooge. I would be more inclined to think of you as weak, fearful and heavily concerned with what other people think of you.

  154. Dirk August 14, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    damn auto correct…”let us ROLL!” I mean.

  155. Dirk August 14, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    Oh, W. That hurts. No, I just recognize that baby boys wear blue and girls wear pink (until the can voice an opinion otherwise…) I don’t freak out when I see a baby (I don’t consider leaving a 9 year old in the car a brave thing to do, just normal) but I do think it isn’t a great idea…

  156. anonymous mom August 14, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    @Dirk: “Yes on a long enough timeline someone will always call the cops because on a long enough timeline a baby or small child locked in a car will die.”

    I have no idea what this means. There is a big difference between 15 minutes and 15 hours. And, if we’re truly being realistic, unless temperature is an issue, a healthy infant or small child left in a car for many hours probably won’t die. If the car is a safe temperature, the child will likely get cranky, thirsty, and hungry, but the child won’t die unless they are left there for days.

    I mean, from around the time they are a year or so, my kids get put into their crib or bed, and then are expected to stay there until morning. I don’t bring them food and drinks throughout the night. They manage to stay alive a good 12 hours or more. Even my one-month-old breastfed newborn has gone 6 hours stretches without needing to eat. Kids, even very little ones, don’t spontaneously die because they are out of adult sight.

    I’m obviously not saying that leaving a child in a car on a 50 degree day for 6 hours is good or right. It’s not. But, it’s not going to be fatal for a healthy child. When children do die after being forgotten in cars, it’s nearly always from hypothermia, because of the temperature inside the car, not because the child died of starvation or because lack of adult attention is fatal.

    Yes, a baby or small child locked in a car for days on end will die. But, unless the car is hot, a healthy baby or small child forgotten in a car even for several hours will probably be unhappy and thirsty, but will be physically okay. There’s not anything magical that happens in temperate cars that causes children to die. When kids die after being forgotten in cars, it’s because of the temperature inside.

  157. anonymous mom August 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    And that’s “hyperthermia,” sorry.

  158. Dirk August 14, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Anynmous Mom: “I’m obviously not saying that leaving a child in a car on a 50 degree day for 6 hours is good or right. It’s not.”

    Exactly, so we agree!

    Anynmous Mom: “I’m obviously not saying that leaving a child in a car on a 50 degree day for 6 hours is good or right. It’s not. But, it’s not going to be fatal for a healthy child.”

    No, we don’t agree. Locking a baby in a car for 6 hours will certainly have some health effects and possibly be fatal. Heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. In 10 minutes a car can heat up 20 degrees. Rolling down a window does little to keep it cool. Even outside temperatures in the 60s can cause a car temperature to rise well above 110° F. A child’s temperature heats up 3 to 5 times faster than that of an adult’s. Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.

    You leave the baby in a car for 5 or 10 minutes on most days the extent is the baby gets cranky. Sure. Don’t say that leaving a kid in a car for 6 hours wouldn’t make the kid sick.

    In June 2000, a mother in New Jersey left her son in the car with the windows rolled up for two hours. During that time span, she checked on him several times without realizing the temperature of the vehicle was nearing deadly temperatures. On her final check, she found her son passed out. She rushed him to the hospital, but he later died of heatstroke. An hour after his death, the boy’s body temperature was STILL 108 degrees. The temperature outside the vehicle was in the low 60s…

    You mentioned a 50 degree day? Children have died locked in cars on 50 degree days. Children have died being left in running cars when it was 30 degrees out. William and Tyler Jensen for example were left in a running SUV for about 90 minutes in 35 degree weather, they died.

    I am not freaking out over something I don’t think will happen because I am not freaking out over leaving kids in cars. This is not a daily concern of mine. I do think that leaving your kid in a car in any weather for more minutes than you have fingers isn’t smart, and the ones you have on one hand barely better.

    So when you say “I’m obviously not saying that leaving a child in a car on a 50 degree day for 6 hours is good or right. It’s not. But, it’s not going to be fatal for a healthy child.” You are definitely wrong, it can happen in 70, 60, 50, 40, 30 degree weather and does not take being left in the car for a day, it clearly happens in as a little as 90 minutes or even less…

  159. Dirk August 14, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/08/07/mom-gets-out-of-car-to-smoke-is-arrested

    Like Lenore I think it is certainly ok to leave your kids in the car for a few minutes and are nearby. I don’t know much past that.

  160. Amanda Matthews August 14, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    “are you insane? I got my license in the 90s and it was 100% policy to call the cops on people who left their kids in the car back then.”

    Uh, I got my licence in the 2000s and I wasn’t familiar with this policy.

    Really, up until THIS SUMMER, I have only heard about calling the cops about kids being in cars on sites discussing free-range parenting issues. With people calling the cops being so rarely talked about (and, when it does happen, the people being far away from me) I have always considered it too small of a risk to worry about.

    I’ve seen/heard discussion about *whether it’s safe or not* elsewhere, but people saying they will call the cops, I hadn’t heard. But then this summer I have seen/heard a few people saying that if they see a dog or child in a car on a hot day with the windows up, they will break the windows and THEN call the cops. And I’m amazed at that reaction because with modern-day cars, you can’t even tell if the air conditioning is on or not! My 2009 car is silent when not moving. In the winter you see the exhaust, but not in the summer. When I point this out, people say “well I’m not going to take that risk.”

    So… really, most people would rather harm my child/dog with broken glass, and have them taken away from me, than run the risk that I DON’T want to kill them? If I’m just going to kill them as soon as an opportunity to leave them in the car arises, and all that prevents that is a good samaritan waiting to call the cops… why am I allowed to have them at all?

  161. SKL August 14, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    Dirk, how often do people drive up to a shopping center and leave their car, with or without their kids in it, for hours and hours and hours? Approximately never, right?

    It’s a pretty good bet that almost any car in the customer parking lot is going to be driven away in less time than it takes to give a kid heatstroke.

    The argument that “people don’t know if your kid has been/will be in the car for hours” does not work in most situations. If you’re talking about a workplace parking lot, maybe. You gotta use your brain. Is “use your brain” an alien concept for you?

    So if I see a kid-in-car in a parking lot outside, say, a movie theater, I’m going to be more concerned than if I see a kid-in-car outside Walgreens or Starbucks or FedEx. Any person capable of finding his/her way to such a place is capable of applying that much judgment. People just don’t want to. Society needs to stop rewarding this thoughtlessness.

  162. April August 14, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    Dirk u seemed to be genuinely asking when it would be necessary to leave ur kids in the car. I have 3 kids in carseats. My 3 yr old goes to an in home preschool in a very safe neighborhood (w huge custom homes that i drool over). We have a dvd player in my van. When i drop him off i can either- lv the other 2 in the car w the car running and lock the door w my spare key. They continue watching tv, i walk my son to the door, sign him in and say goodbye. Or i could get my 1 yr old out of the seat, turn off the car, listen to my 5 yr old complain that she wants to stay in the car and watch the dora, walk to the door say gbye to my son, sign him in while trying to hold the baby, take the baby back to the car and try to put him back in the carseat where he arches his back angrily bc he hates being put in for some reason, by now we are getting late for dropping my daughter off at kindergarten. Ex#2, on saturdays my kids like to get donuts. We live in a small town. The donut shop is glass so u can see ur car while inside the store, u can pull rt up to it. I can lock my doors and let them continue their movie and come back w donuts OR spend a painful 5 mins getting them all out of the car, try to keep my spot in line while they scatter around the store, try to grab the donuts and the pay w one arm while holding the baby, battle the older 2 over what donuts they will get bc now that they can see the selection, it is a whole new donut world for them. Ex# 3 the atm. The atm in our town is next to a busy grocery store complex. It would take me 2 seconds to run up and get money. The parking lot is so congested that it actually feels safer leaving them in the car. I have 2 hands and 3 little kids-one that cant walk. In order to get them across the parking lot safely i would have to get the stroller out of the back and have the other 2 hold the handles. What could take only a minute now is a fiasco. A somewhat dangerous one. I was hit by a car when i was a kid so i am a bit paranoid in parking lots so even if they dont get hit by a car, it stresses me out a lot. It is not unusual to see me yelling ‘go go go!!!’ To my kids when we cross anything lol. Ex#4 unloading the groceries. I always unload my groceries first, bc it is hard to keep track of who is where when i am going back and forth to the car and the front door being open is a hazard w 3 under 5. One time my son got out the front door and hid behind my neighbors porch post thinking he was making a great joke. I think i had a mini stroke. I couldnt find him for like 10 mins but it felt like at least 2 hours. But really the point is that this zero tolerance for kids in cars policy takes away our rights as parents to make decisions in the interest of our families. Who cares more about my kids than i do?! I had (very extreme) woman the other day tell me that its lazy and irresponsible to leave ur kids in the car even to pump gas. Can u imagine what a hazard that would be if ppl started pulling their children out at the gas station?

  163. T.S. August 14, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    Several of the posters here maybe miss one point. Logical or not, sometimes it is best not to “look for trouble”. You pick your battles. This probably isn’t the best ”hill to die on”.

  164. Warren August 14, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    @T.S.

    Pick your battles?
    That TS is the cry of the coward. I have found those that say we shoud pick our battles, never seem to find a battle worth picking.

    So retaining the authority and responsibility to parent as you see fit, is not worth fighting for? Then what is?

    Let’s not forget how law makers work. Once they take an inch of power away from you, it sets the stage for them to take more.

  165. Donna August 14, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    “Rolling down a window does little to keep it cool.”

    I’ve sat in cars for hours with the windows rolled down. I’ve slept in them several times as a matter of fact. The temperature inside was pretty consistent with outside. I’ve done both sitting and sleeping with windows rolled up on cooler days. I’m still here to tell the tale.

    Under your estimation, the entire Samoan population should be extinct (maybe just the American branch). Those people – adults, children and infants – spend half their lives sitting in cars in parking lots. The vast majority of cars in any parking lot will have people in them. Since every errand, no matter how small, occurs in Samoan time (estimate how much time it would take to complete the same errand in the US and then add 4 hours), they wait a long time (they are a patient people). And it is only slightly less miserable than hell there most days, so not a nice temperate climate for sitting around in cars in parking lots. There was not a single death from overheating in a car the entire 2 years that I was there. And, since our office handled 99% of the criminal charges on the island at some point, I can safely say that no person was ever charged with leaving a child alone in a car during that period either.

  166. hineata August 14, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

    @April – With you the whole way.And yes, imagine the chaos if we all took our children out of the car to pay for petrol.

    @Dirk – with the windows down and in a temperate climate, you can leave a baby sleeping for hours in a car. I’ve done it myself on numerous occasions, and all of my friends with children have too. I must say, the idea of ‘windows up’ never gelled with me – I’m a fan of fresh air- but I guess if you live in a paranoid culture you have to take advantage of the tinted glass, which would be impossible if the windows were down.

    Personally I am paranoid about leaving babies alone in a house for any period of time (e.g. going to the pharmacy late at night, as Donna had to do). But I recognise that as my own paranoia, and it has more to do with the state of the housing here, and the speed of fire in said housing (often old, extremely dry timber framework). I do not think my assessment would hold true for many countries, most of which will have a different style of housing. Same with the kids in cars thing. In most places, even in the States, kids are not going to die from remaining in a car for a time.

    Especially if you leave the windows down. And, speaking of paranoia, there are no mountain lions or bears in the vicinity 🙂

  167. Andrea August 15, 2014 at 2:06 am #

    By Dirk Wed Aug 13th 2014 at 3:53 pm

    “Convention should be that IF you see a child in a car who cannot get out in conditions that could lead to a hot car, then you see if the kid is in distress or just fine. If the kid is just fine, you wait 5 minutes or so to see if the parent just left the kid briefly, and if the parent comes back, say hi and move along. If the parent doesn’t come back AND conditions mean the car could get hot, then you go into the nearest storefront(s) and try to figure out who the parent is and tell them you’re worried the car could be getting too hot for a kid to be in there. In the rare event the kid is still left in the heating car after all this, then call the cops.”

    This is the sanest think I think I’ve seen posted under Dirk’s screen name since he started posting on this site.

  168. Andrea August 15, 2014 at 2:15 am #

    I am so sick of society determine what IT thinks is safest for MY children. If I could leave my kids in the car while I ran into a store quickly, I would absolutely do so. It is far safer for my children to be in the car than to be taken out of the car and have to walk through a parking lot, where they have already almost been hit by cars (because they are too short to be seen). I HATE that this society forces me to put them in an unsafe position because society is too DUMB to realize that keeping them in the car is safer and it doesn’t trust me to do what’s best for them, despite the fact that doing so is my 24/7 job and has been for years. If anything happened to my children, would society care? No. But I would be DEVASTATED. And yet, I have to follow the terms of safety as dictated by a society that couldn’t care less about my children? Nonsense. And eff you, Dirk, for suggesting that we should sit back and accept that.

  169. Donna August 15, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    Andrea – That was only posted under Dirk’s screen name because he was quoting SKL. He has yet to say anything reasonable.

  170. Stacy August 15, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    If anyone’s curious about Dirk’s reference to “William and Tyler Jensen for example were left in a running SUV for about 90 minutes in 35 degree weather, they died.” — The heat was blasting for ninety minutes and they died of overheating, according to authorities who initially thought carbon monoxide poisoning. So don’t blast the heat continuously if you’re leaving the kids in the car for ninety minutes — or driving down the road for ninety minutes.

  171. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    Why do people keep mentioning pulling kids out of the car at the gas station? If you are stupid enough to think that getting out of the car to pump gas and pay (usually at the pump but even if it is inside the station) constitutes leaving your child in a car then wow…really.

  172. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    Actually Andrea I totally agree with what SKL said. I’ll post it again.

    By Andrea Fri Aug 15th 2014 at 2:06 am
    By Dirk Wed Aug 13th 2014 at 3:53 pm

    “Convention should be that IF you see a child in a car who cannot get out in conditions that could lead to a hot car, then you see if the kid is in distress or just fine. If the kid is just fine, you wait 5 minutes or so to see if the parent just left the kid briefly, and if the parent comes back, say hi and move along. If the parent doesn’t come back AND conditions mean the car could get hot, then you go into the nearest storefront(s) and try to figure out who the parent is and tell them you’re worried the car could be getting too hot for a kid to be in there. In the rare event the kid is still left in the heating car after all this, then call the cops.” – SKL

    That is exactly what I would do. But, don’t say there is zero danger (there is, and unlike the sentiments expressed in some of these comments most of the kids who die or become ill do so after being in a car for less than 2 hours). Saying there is zero danger and that the idea of the danger itself being stupid is like saying hand guns are perfectly safe and there is automatically zero danger. No, both things are dangerous and should be respected. Don’t knee jerk to the other end of the spectrum is all. Some of you think people are living in fear of the car or something. It isn’t, it is treating it them same as teaching gun safety or telling your kid not to run on the parking lot or to look before the cross the street.

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/08/07/mom-gets-out-of-car-to-smoke-is-arrested

    Like Lenore I think it is certainly ok to leave your kids in the car for a few minutes and are nearby. I don’t know much past that.

  173. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Please stop being a knee jerk reactionary. I the post by Lenore about the people who are ACTUALLY crazy about leaving kids in cars it reads: “I can’t help feel that their message is bringing attention to a “fad danger” rather than a statistically significant safety issue and encouraging people to call 911 regardless of circumstance.” Sorry to have to tell you but most of the things being posted as parenting dangers here (getting arrested for letting your kids play alone, outside, at the mall, leaving them in the car, and even the statutory rape stories) are all statistically significant “fad dangers” that really happening. They aren’t happening in any meaningful way, the number of occurrences are so low. More kids probably die in cars each than parents are arrested for leaving kids in the car. About 25% of parents leave their kids in the car for some amount of time today. There are about 70 million parent households (with either one or tow parents present-according to the 2007 census). 25% of that is 17,500,000. That is how many of current parents have left their children in cars for some amount of time. What percent of those do you think have been arrested? 17 million 500 thousand parents and what percent get arrested for it? Practically zero. Your fear of this thing has escalated to the point of hysteria.

  174. hineata August 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    @Dirk – I shouldn’t even be paying attention to you, but the cars and petrol comment is too silly to ignore. Please explain why leaving kids in the car when paying for petrol is magically different than leaving kids in the car while you go into the dairy to pick up milk, or the fish and chip shop to buy chips? Or the supermarket, etc etc.?

    Really….? Your gaps in logic are just astounding.

  175. Donna August 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    Dirk,

    Calling the police for children in the car is such a social convention that it should be expected and, yet, you insist that arrest for this is virtually non-existent. Huh?

    I suppose the contradiction is based on the semantics of the word “arrest.” That seems to assume that we should be okay with police being all up in our business when we’ve done nothing wrong as long as we don’t get arrested. While certainly a warning and a telling off is better than being arrested, it certainly isn’t an intrusion that most welcome into their lives. This is about like saying AIDS is better than ebola. That is likely a true statement but most people want neither AIDS nor ebola.

    Further, you also miss the point that the more calling the police for non-harmful activities becomes the norm, the more people will be arrested. While I don’t think people should panic, and I don’t think that they are, we shouldn’t just kick back and say “well, it isn’t an epidemic, so no problem” because eventually it will become an epidemic.

  176. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    You know what I find amazing is that you can’t see the difference between what would take a few minutes while you are always in sight of the car and what ever else it is you want to do that takes you more than literally a few minutes and keeps you in sight of the car. You need to not only be aware of how the kid is doing (most likely fine) but also be able to stop busybodies from doing their “good work.” That is the world you live in take your blinders off.

  177. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    Pick up petrol? I think this may be a difference in how things work in different parts of the world. When you buy gas you are always near and within sight of the car and the entire thing only lasts minutes…

    I American this is what a gas station looks like.

    http://www.mosaicia.com/portals/pukis/images/gas%20station%20with%20convenience%20store-.jpg

    You park your car at the pump get out of the car and stand next to it as you pay with your bank card, you then pump the gas and get back in the car. You are never more than three feet from the car. Now, if for some reason you needed to go into the actual…I don’t know what to call the little building…the station I guess, you would be all of 10 to 20 feet away from the car and well within sight of it. Also, it is the social convention that you would indeed be right back to your car and not out dress shopping or in the super market for an hour or what have you while you go food shopping. You ask what the difference is between buying gas and running different errands and going food shopping and whatever. It is about where you are and how long you are gone. You need to not only be aware of how things are most likely going for your baby or kid or pet too but (most likely fine) but you also need to be aware of what busybodies are doing (someone here said busybodies are the real stranger danger, might be true).

    ButLike Lenore has said herself…

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/08/07/mom-gets-out-of-car-to-smoke-is-arrested

    …it is certainly ok to leave your kids in the car for a few minutes and are nearby. Beyond that I don’t know.

  178. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    “Calling the police for children in the car is such a social convention that it should be expected and, yet, you insist that arrest for this is virtually non-existent. Huh?” You say.

    It will always happen if you leave your young child in the car on a long enough timeline. It may take 1 minute it may take 12 hours but someone will eventually call the cops yes.

  179. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

    Donna, 25% of all parents state that they have left their children in the car at some point. In another comment section you argued with me that 20% was statistically significant. So according to you 25% is a significant number of parents who are do it and virtually 100% of them have no legal issues as a result.

    Now I have to admit I don’t think that number includes people who are pumping gas or running into a convenience store or pizza shop. What made what Kim Brooks did different is she had no idea that someone was standing next to her kid and videotaping for 4 minutes. She couldn’t see the car. I don’t think the kid was in any real danger from getting kidnapped, or getting heat stroke (at least since she didn’t take long and it was a reasonably cool day) but she sure as heck wasn’t able to avoid trouble from a busybody was she? Moreover, her experience acounts for a proverbial .00000000000001% of leaving your kid in the car. Her kid probably had a higher chance of actually being kidnapped then was her chance of getting arrested.

    This will never be an epidemic because 25% of the pop does it. The danger of getting arrested or approached by law enforcement is a fad danger in your own heads…

  180. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    ugh, sorry about the typos the phones tiny keyboard and auto correct constantly hurt me….

  181. Warren August 15, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    So Dirk,

    Will put it this simple, direct and black and white for you.

    MY KIDS. MY DOGS. MY TRUCK. PISS OFF!! CAUSE IF THE DOGS DON’T GET YA, I SURE AS HELL WILL!!!!!!

    Do you have anything to add. Because social convention does not me jacks— to me. I do not care what other’s think I should of should not do, or say. And if I get in deep water because of it, I will fight tooth and nail, with everything I got. Unlike you that seems to just roll over and accept it.

  182. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    Also, I don’t think Lenore is fighting for what you think. She never talks about leaving kids in the car for more than literally a few minutes (one or two, a couple, two or three) Like walking into a pizza store to pick up the pizza.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/hot-debate-leave-child-car/story?id=24869147&singlePage=true

    And I agree with here. It is certainly ok to leave a child in the car for a single handful of minutes, and I would also suggest you stay in sight of the car to prevent a Kim Brooks situation. In the case of Kim Brooks she actually did break the law (it is illegal to leave a child under 6 in the car where she was) but if she had keep sight of her vehicle (or not let her child dictate what she was going to do, she actually wanted to bring the kid in the store) she could have intervened when the busybody arrived. It should also be noted that sanity EVENTUALLY (after she had been through a lot to be sure) prevailed because the DA rightly decided NOT to press charges…

    Again, I agree with Lenore. It is certainly ok to leave a child in the car for a single handful of minutes, and I would also suggest you stay in sight of the car to prevent a Kim Brooks situation.

    I would love to hear her actually clarify her position though with more details!

  183. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    Lenore’s comments are always that it is safe to leave a child for “a few minutes” but she never goes into much details about what is indeed reasonable beyond that…

    FOR EXAMPLE:

    “But Lenore Skenazy, the founder of Free Range Kids, which aims to teach parents not to be overprotective, believes that the “baby in hot car” debate is too narrow-minded, and while parents should never leave children alone for hours, a few minutes in the car is “not a dangerous situation.”

    “There’s no reason to criminalize the parents who let their kids wait in the car for a short while, while getting the pizza, or picking up some stamps,” Skenazy said. “[Heatstroke in a car] certainly is a horrific way to die. So is a car crash, so is falling down the stairs. For some reason, we’re just focusing on this very rare, awful way to die.””

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/hot-debate-leave-child-car/story?id=24869147&singlePage=true

    JUST READ THE TITLE OF LENORE’S ARTICLE RIGHT HERE!

    “Yes, You Can Leave Your Kids in the Car for a Few Minutes”

    http://www.parentdish.com/2010/08/17/yes-you-can-leave-your-kids-in-the-car-for-a-few-minutes/

    Lenore also seems to think leaving a child in a car is indeed the business of passersby:

    “Skenazy also has disdain for people who call the police right away when they see a child alone in a car, instead of waiting a few minutes to see if a parent will emerge.”

    http://www.today.com/parents/errand-crime-parents-now-face-hard-consequences-leaving-kids-car-6C10584642

    A few minutes, a few minutes, a few minutes…

  184. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    Well then you disagree with Lenore Warren. She thinks it is reasonable to look for parents of kids left in cars, pets too I would think.

  185. Dirk August 15, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    Again, I agree with Lenore. It is certainly ok to leave a child in the car for a single handful of minutes, but I would also suggest you stay in sight of the car to prevent a Kim Brooks situation (since 19 states have some laws against it).

    I would love to hear her actually clarify her position though with more details!

  186. Donna August 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Dirk, So we’re supposed to then be okay with busybodies harassing us in parking lots even if police aren’t called?

    I guess I don’t understand what you think is happening here. Is it that you truly believe that passersby are just standing around watching cars with kids in them and then nicely smiling when you walk up? If so, on what do you base this belief? You state that you don’t leave your kids in the car so it isn’t personal experience.

    I’m also not sure why you are insisting that we are advocating for leaving children in cars for hours on end. Most here are talking about leaving young children for no more than 5-15 minutes while they run in somewhere.

    “In the case of Kim Brooks she actually did break the law (it is illegal to leave a child under 6 in the car where she was)”

    No, it wasn’t. Quote from the original article “A few years before, the state had tried to pass an ordinance that would make it a misdemeanor to leave a child under 6 alone in a vehicle if the conditions within the vehicle or in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle presented a risk to the health or safety of the child. The penalty for a first offense would be a $100 civil penalty, in other words, a ticket. But the legislation didn’t pass …”

    First, the law was children under 6 couldn’t be left in cars IF IT IS DANGEROUS and the LAW NEVER PASSED.

    “It should also be noted that sanity EVENTUALLY (after she had been through a lot to be sure) prevailed because the DA rightly decided NOT to press charges…”

    She was prosecuted!!!! The DA dismissed the charges after she did 100 hours of community service and took parenting classes. This is a pre-trial diversion program, not a decision not to prosecute.

    Really, Dirk, if you are going to fill up the page with your ridiculous posts, at least get the information correct.

  187. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    This article says Kim Brooks broke the law.

    “We can debate whether or not we are too overprotective, we can debate whether or not we were left in the car when little and we were fine, but the truth of the matter is that it’s the law– we can’t leave our child in the car if they are under six years old.”

    http://www.salon.com/2014/06/06/good_morning_america_interviews_kim_brooks_mom_who_left_her_kid_in_the_car/

    If she didn’t break a law then what the hell was she arrested for?

    And so she pleaded out, whatever. I don’t give a damn. She should have stayed within sight of the car or did some actual parenting.

    I don’t believe passerby are doing anything for the most part. (Although on a long enough timeline someone will, and you should know that by know or you are an idiot. In fact you do know that? Don’t you! Yeah you do…)

    Again 25% of parents leave their kids in the car and virtually 99.9999999% of them have no issues. Why? Because they follow Lenore’s advice and keep it down to a few minutes and most likely also keep within sight of the vehicle, gas, pizza, milk at a convenience store. Get over yourself. You are not being persecuted.

    Again, I agree with Lenore. It is certainly ok to leave a child in the car for a single handful of minutes, but I would also suggest you stay in sight of the car to prevent a Kim Brooks situation (since 19 states have some laws against it).

    I would love to hear her actually clarify her position though with more details!

  188. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    @ Donna

    You know what? I do want to respond to you Donna about one thing.

    You said “You state that you don’t leave your kids in the car so it isn’t personal experience.”

    I have left my kids plural in the car. Of course. To pump and pay for gas mostly. Parked right in front of a convenience store to get coffee on a trip. Maybe some similar things. I don’t really know when else this would come up. (The examples provided by another comment-er to when and how long they would leave their kids in the car pretty much matched up. A few minutes at most and within sight all the time.) And in all that time I have never seen anyone act weird about me leaving them in the car for those 120 seconds or so it took. And if they did I would have been within sight to intercede. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone stopped and paused. I would have been there within what…10, 20 , 30 seconds to be like…yeah got my coffee and donut thanks for the concern fellow citizen. I would not get stuck pulling a Brooks.

    Honestly. I have multiple kids and the need to leave them for 15 minutes in a car has never come up. A few minutes maybe, and always within sight of them (just like the other comment-er, April). And I, like the 99.999999 percent of the 17,500,000 current parents who have also left their children in the car, have not had any negative experiences. I think part of this is where and when you leave your kids in the car that causes this. None of these stories Lenore uses to frenzy this up are about people buying gas, or stopping at a convenience store, or a donut shop with big glass windows (like the other comment-er mentioned). It is always about someone in a mall, or super market, or box store.

    If you are leaving your kid in the car and are consistently getting approached by people about leaving your kid in the car…you are doing it wrong.

    I would love to hear Lenore send down reasonable suggestions on doing it right. Let us hear it!

  189. SKL August 15, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    I don’t agree that you have to be in sight of your car all the time. You shouldn’t have to, any more than you have to be in sight of your kid when she’s sleeping at night.

    If busybodies started going up to people’s houses and videotaping their sleeping babies and turning the video over to the cops, Dirk would probably declare (a minimum of 50 times) that parents are stupid to not sleep in the same room with their kids so they can prevent this problem with busybodies.

  190. April August 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    Hey dirk, i was the one that brought up the gas thing bc i actually got in a fight w a woman on fb about it. She was turning in a man for leaving his son in the car while he ran into metro to pay his bill. The man apologized, said his kid refused to come in, said he was having a bad day w him, begged the woman but she still called cps, the police and then blasted what she did proudly on fb. I called her a hypocrite and brought up gas pumping. She told me it was irresponsible and lazy (all in caps btw lol) to not take ur kids out ‘just bc u have to get gas’ and told me her and her husband alternate getting gas to sit w the kids. (I guess her husbands unemployed?). This demonstrates the craziness of some ppl. A cpl weeks ago i loaded my baby after my daughters gymnastics class and started the car and went back in for the other two. (My son was collecting his toys in his backpack and my daughter was getting her goodbye stickers and hi-fives from her teacher so i thought it seemed like good timing to start herding them to the van). My best friend was parked next to me so i told her to hang out while i grabbed my others. This was a private parking lot off a private road. Two women in those 2 minutes approached my car (mind u the air was on max, the movie was on and one door was still open bc i was coming rt back. ) one woman, even after my friend said she was watching my son, continued to look back at my car w a horrified look on her face. My car was like 15 feet from the door. Ppl are getting VERY quick to call the police on ppl about this. I really do believe if my friend hadnt been parked next to me that woman would have called the cops. But like ive said, im much more afraid of parking lots (bc i got hit by a car as a kid) than car thiefs (bc im in a private parking lot and i live in the boonies) and kids overheating (bc im back in under 2 mins and my car is on) so i make my best judgement as a parent. But thats a right that we simply dont have anymore.

  191. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Hi April,

    What is Metro?

    I am happy to say I have never seen people act the way you describe.

  192. Donna August 15, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    “If she didn’t break a law then what the hell was she arrested for?”

    She was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Nothing having to do with laws about kids in cars.

    “Again 25% of parents leave their kids in the car and virtually 99.9999999% of them have no issues.”

    Again, on what are you basing this percentage? Do you have statistics? Have you done a poll? It is very obvious that you believe that anything that you haven’t personally experienced is not happening in large amounts. You can’t quite comprehend that your experiences are smaller than a speck in your state, let alone the entire country.

    Personally, I don’t know how often strangers that I have never met and will never meet in cities and states that I have never visited are being treated negatively about leaving their kids in cars. I can’t possibly guess and I’m not going to pull numbers out of thin air like you. I do know that MANY people here have complained about being harassed about leaving kids in cars. I do know that people are being arrested for it. I do know that this is on an upswing since nobody was being arrested for it 10 years ago. I have witnessed numerous times recently bystanders berating people for leaving dogs in cars under safe conditions and can’t imagine that they would react differently to a child in a car. The fact that I’ve never been harassed may be because it doesn’t happen often or because I have darkly tinted windows so people have never noticed the kid in the car. Who knows.

    And we should not have to stop doing something completely safe in order to avoid being harassed!!!!! In no way, shape or form should we have to stay within view of our car just to avoid being arrested. It is either safe to leave a child in the car for 5 minutes or it isn’t.

  193. April August 15, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    Its a cell place like sprint lol where do u live? No metro?!

  194. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    Oh, the phone place. Right. Yeah, I guess depending on the parking it would be easy enough to leave your kid in the car and pay a bill there.

  195. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    How do you know nobody was nobody wasarrested for it 10 years ago? Donna… Maybe they were arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor…

  196. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    The statistics?

    I got that 25% from a news article, I should have linked it originally but I cant find it now. It said that 25% of current parents had left their kids in a car recently.
    But you are right, those numbers could be off.

    BECAUSE 70% us parents are ok with it! of A poll found seventy percent of U.S. parents are willing to their children unattended in cars!

    Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/204648-poll-seventy-percent-of-parents-willing-to-leave-child-unattended-in#ixzz3AURRp3Ng Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

    and here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2014/04/29/survey-most-parents-are-willing-to-leave-kids-unattended-in-car/

    No one is afraid but of this outside of this artificial fad danger extremism. No one is out to get you. Act reasonable (read April’s post in this entry here for what is certainly reasonable, like her I have never had any problems…
    http://www.freerangekids.com/elizabeth-vargas-2020-me-and-kids-in-cars-hysteria/#comments), if you act reasonable you will be treated reasonable. Like the millions of parents who are leaving their kids in the car for the couple of minutes it actually takes to pick up a pizza.

  197. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    This is the best overview of this nonsense I have seen so far…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/children-heat-deaths-cars_n_5674641.html

  198. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    But this article puts it at 23%…

    “14 percent of parents say they have left their infants, toddlers or kindergarten-age children alone in a parked vehicle. For parents of children three and under, the percentage increases to 23 percent.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2014/04/29/survey-most-parents-are-willing-to-leave-kids-unattended-in-car/

    It then goes on to say 7 out of 10 would be willing to despite “the stories” they hear.

  199. Donna August 15, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    Dirk, I’ve worked in criminal law for over 10 years and also handle CPS cases. While everything will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, I am well aware of the general trends in prosecution around the country. And much of what we see parents getting arrested for – sitting in cars, playing in parks, staying home alone – would have been startling when I started practicing and now is not surprising at all. That doesn’t mean that it is occurring daily or even monthly, but the climate in criminal law is such that it isn’t surprising (appalling, but not surprising) when it happens. And I am not saying that because I read Lenore’s site. My cohorts, few of whom are parents, agree. It is part of a general trend to criminalize as much of life as possible.

  200. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    Donna,

    So anecdotally you see a trend that is not occurring daily or even monthly? Seriously. I am asking. I would be more likely to say that with more people on street you are seeing more overall occurrences and not a greater percentage or ratio. Meaning the number of occurrences is probably still less than 1 in 100 (random numbers) but you see more of them because the population has increased. And still it isn’t a daily or monthly occurrence.

  201. Donna August 15, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    “(read April’s post in this entry here for what is certainly reasonable,”

    Hmmm, which part of April’s post am I supposed to find reasonable? The part where she says that her friend called CPS and the police on someone paying a bill at Metro. Or the part where she got dirty looks for leaving her baby in the car UNDER SUPERVISION. I’m not seeing anything reasonable there. I’m only seeing proof that people are completely unreasonable about this.

    Even if it could be presumed that your 70% would never call on someone else doing it in a fashion that they don’t agree with (which can’t actually be presumed), that still leaves 30% of parents and all those pesky non-parents out there to report people. That’s a lot of people.

  202. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    Those are numbers I would like to see. They don’t exist that I know of. How many parents are arrested a year for leaving kids in cars (it can’t be that high, there aren’t that many news reports about it). And, the number of “rescues” a year by law enforcement. I would also like stronger numbers on how prevalent leaving kids in the car is. The 23 percent from the article I linked sounds large enough. According to this (http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables/pop1.asp?popup=true) there are 23 million kids today 0 to 5. Lets assume about half of them are younger than 3. 11 million as a guess. That would equal what? Roughly 2 million kids age o to 3 alive today who have been left in cars. How many of their parents have been arrested or gotten in trouble for it?

  203. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    Donna, her first post where she listed all the reasonable times she “left” her kids in the car. But to be honest pumping for gas or going in a donut shop where you are 10 feet from the car and can see it through a giant glass wall isn’t leaving your kid in the car.

    But read this, honestly read it, and tell me what you think…

    http://jezebel.com/for-chrissakes-dont-leave-a-kid-under-6-alone-in-a-car-1587279293

  204. Dirk. August 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    Donna, you said “It is very obvious that you believe that anything that you haven’t personally experienced is not happening in large amounts.”

    No, you just can’t produce any non anecdotal evidence that there is an epidemic or even and uptic. Although I guess that since the numbers of kids dying in cars has remained static despite the growth in population might signify that less people are leaving their kids in cars? But doesn’t that mean that not leaving kids in cars has saved lives?

  205. Donna August 15, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    Dirk, It isn’t a daily or monthly occurrence in MY small town. However, my one small town is not the entire US. Meaning, if it is happening a few times a year in my town, it is likely happening a few times a year in MANY towns and that starts to accumulate into a lot of people. And those are just the ones arrested. Not the ones who have police called but no arrest occurs. Nor the ones who are berated by passersby. Nor the ones whose passersby go on Facebook and rail about the person who left a baby in the car for 5 seconds and how they didn’t do something but wished that they had (and likely next time will). Nor the thousands of commenters on articles who proclaim that people who do things like this should have their children taken away and are likely to call 911 if they ever actually see it.

    Further, I was speaking of general criminal trends throughout the entire US. This is based on seminars and criminal law associations, not my own anecdotal experience.

  206. Donna August 15, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    Again, you are so focused on arrest. I don’t want to be bothered for allowing my child to do non-dangerous things. I don’t care if the person bothering me is the police or a passerby. I don’t care if I am being arrested or just questioned by the police. You’re back to proclaiming that someone isn’t ill because they only have AIDS and not ebola.

  207. Warren August 15, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    Dirk,

    Why do you not answer questions directly? You are worse than an elected official.

    Making it law, to never allow anyone under the age of 12 yrs old to remain unsupervised in a vehicle……..will that save any lives? Will we see the rate of deaths decline over the next 5 yrs, or will it remain static?

  208. Donna August 15, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    Yeah, I read it. What exactly was I supposed to get out of that article? It largely discussed children dying in cars when forgotten for hours and used that as a justification to not make the conscious choice to leave a child in the car for 5 minutes.

  209. Donna August 15, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    “Although I guess that since the numbers of kids dying in cars has remained static despite the growth in population might signify that less people are leaving their kids in cars?”

    Since almost all kids who die in cars are FORGOTTEN in the car for hours, I would say that it indicates that fewer kids are getting forgotten in cars. Good thing.

    What exactly does this have to do with choosing to leave a child in the car?

  210. Donna August 15, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    “Why do you not answer questions directly?”

    Which question was that?

    “Making it law, to never allow anyone under the age of 12 yrs old to remain unsupervised in a vehicle……..will that save any lives? Will we see the rate of deaths decline over the next 5 yrs, or will it remain static?”

    Since, again, the vast majority of those who die in cars are left there accidentally or climbed into the car to play, it would remain pretty static. You can legislate away accidents no matter how much you want to.

    For the very small number (1-2 a year, I think was what I read on one of the many posts you like to link) who die after being left intentionally, how many of them were left by good parents who consciously evaluated the situation and determined it to be suitable for the length of errand they were running and the age of the child and how many by crappy parents who chose to carelessly leave their kids in the car for hours? There will always be bad parents in the world and there will always be criminals in the world. Making something that is perfectly safe when done by responsible parents totally illegal because a handful of bad parents do it to excess has NEVER stopped crappy parenting.

  211. Donna August 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    That should be you CAN’T legislate away accidents.

    (This blog needs an edit function).

  212. hineata August 16, 2014 at 5:05 am #

    @Dirk – ‘this is the world you live in, take your blinders off’.

    Actually, no. I live in a sane part of the world, one where I can and have certainly left pre-schoolers in the car while I’ve been out of sight of said car, and never had any silly busybody intervene. I’ve left babies in the car with the windows down to sleep, again, no interference from busybodies. Most petrol stations here still require you to walk into the building to pay, oh gosh, how terribly dangerous for the children, not. I’ve left my delirious daughter in the van outside the chemist’s, and got nothing but sympathy from the staff for her….I’ve also left her in the vehicle to get Panadol etc., at the supermarket. Shopping with a kid who’s thinking random objects are out to get her is not a pretty sight – she’s much safer in the car.

    Never have I been interfered with, had my parenting questioned, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Just because you want to paint the U.S. as some kind of lunatic asylum doesn’t mean that out here in the real world we aren’t getting on just fine. Neither does it mean the U.S. is as insane as you’re projecting – you’re just putting your own silly worries onto things. Carry on with common sense parenting and ignore the busybodies, and eventually they’ll have to go away.

  213. Stacy August 16, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    I don’t know how many people have been arrested, interrogated, or subjected to child protective services investigation because they left kids in the car. My concern is that “kids in the car” danger and the need to call 911 is a media trend getting significant attention, which is increasing the number of people who feel the need to intervene and to change their former habits. I’m especially concerned about lower income moms being targeted for “intervention.”

    Here are some examples of leaving a child in the car — outside the parent’s sight unless that parent can see through walls — which I do not believe warrant police/CPS attention:
    (1) Sufficiently mature children reading/using an i-pad in the car w/ windows open or in temperate conditions while mom grocery shops or runs another errand that takes fifteen minutes to an hour. There may be younger children or babies under their supervision. — What age the kids should be and how long mom should be gone is open to wide debate and, therefore, rarely should result in call to police. Educate people on the specific dangers of overheating.
    (2) Babies and toddlers strapped into carseats while mom goes inside the preschool building to get an older sibling who needs to be signed out.
    (3) All those quick trips you deem okay — pizza, gas station, mini mart, etc. — in which mom does not have a view of her children during the transaction or while waiting in line. In poor communities, many people go inside in the gas station to prepay in cash, which can take more than five minutes if there’s a line.

  214. Amanda Matthews August 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    Dirk, I live in the US. At times, paying for gas takes me longer than running into the grocery store and using the self-checkout. Some stores and fast food places are just as open (have windows all along the walls etc.) as that pictured gas station. Some gas stations (particularly in bad areas where I’m wary of using my credit card at the pump) have the inside pay area much more closed-in, unwindowed, and one can not see their car from the inside.

    But, even if I can physically see the car – I can’t see the kids inside the car. Sure, I can see the tops of their heads FROM SOME ANGLES – but I can’t at all see what they are doing. So being within sight of the car does nothing. Not to mention, if I COULD see them, what could they possibly be doing, that me SEEING them would protect them from? If I’m staring at the car, I’m not going to see any busybodies (Unless they approach the car before calling the police). I’m also not going to see that car headed for ME as I cross the lot to pay for my gas.

    And, I know this is mostly talked about in the summer. But in the winter, snowbanks may make it impossible to see your car from a few feet away. Should I have taken my kids out in the -40F weather and dragged them past snowbanks over my head, because I couldn’t see the car from the gas station building?

  215. Buffy August 16, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    Yeah, I’ve never understood the need to be able to see the kids in the car (and the over-explanation of commenters here in the vein of “the dry cleaner’s is all windows and I watched the car the entire time!”)during an errand. See them do what? In my opinion that’s just more response to the fear-mongering…I can see that the 6-year-old is going to hang himself on the automatic window, I can see him putting the stopped car into gear, I can see the kidnapper approach?

    If a parent has assessed the situation and deems that it’s appropriate to leave the kid in the car, why the need to stare at it?

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  217. Dirk. August 18, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    @ Amanda Matthews no one in all the U S of A is going give one damn about a kid of any age being left in a car at a gas station to pump and pay for gas.

  218. Dirk. August 18, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    70% us parents are ok with it! of A poll found seventy percent of U.S. parents are willing to their children unattended in cars!

    Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/204648-poll-seventy-percent-of-parents-willing-to-leave-child-unattended-in#ixzz3AURRp3Ng
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

    and here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2014/04/29/survey-most-parents-are-willing-to-leave-kids-unattended-in-car/

    No one is afraid but of this outside of this artificial fad danger extremism. No one is out to get you. Act reasonable (read April’s post in this entry here for what is certainly reasonable, like her I have never had any problems…http://www.freerangekids.com/elizabeth-vargas-2020-me-and-kids-in-cars-hysteria/#comments), if you act reasonable you will be treated reasonable. Like the millions of parents who are leaving their kids in the car for the couple of minutes it actually takes to pick up a pizza.

  219. Dirk. August 18, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Dear Donna, there is no epidemic and you can’t even point to any statistics that there is any uptic at all. Because there isn’t. You can’t find daily articles of arrests or run ins because there aren’t and frankly I would lean towards the notion that the run ins are warranted.

    I had to have to tell you this part your idealization of the past is false. And that as more younger and younger parents are arrive the more your feelings will be in the minority.

    Lenore would disappoint all of you. Because she wouldn’t agree with you. If you carefully read what she says on the car issue for example, it is clear she means only for a short period and that you need to be close to the vehicle. She doesn’t actually mean leaving a 9, 8, 6 and 1 year old and a 6 month old in a car while you go food shopping is ok… The phrase she uses repeatedly is “a few minutes.” A few minutes. A few minutes. A few minutes. A few minutes. A few minutes.

  220. SKL August 18, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    I get the impression it takes Dirk two hours to shop for groceries.

    I’m in and out in minutes. I know what I want, I know where it is, and I go on weekday evenings when the store doesn’t have long lines.

    I give parents the benefit of the doubt that they know roughly how long they are going to be shopping (i.e., 10 minutes vs. 2 hours) and if the unexpected happens, they can go check on their kids in between. I give parents the benefit of the doubt that they know how hot and sunny it is and they know whether their kid is going to scream if left in the car. And that they know whether their car’s features are of a type that their kid is likely to be strangled or otherwise battered to death if the parent isn’t there to save them. And that they know whether their neighborhood is they type where car-jackings are remotely likely in grocery store parking lots. Parents come equipped with brains.

  221. Dirk. August 18, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Yep,Parents do come equipped with brains. And the ones who use them are fine. Those who do not and do such a crappy job they get the attention of the law, cps, old ladies and Lenore are brainless.

  222. Dirk. August 18, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    Just to let you know SKL:

    “Average Duration of Grocery Shopping”

    men 39 minutes
    women 42 minutes

    http://timeuseinstitute.org/Grocery%20White%20Paper%202008.pdf

  223. SKL August 18, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    Dirk,

    Just because an average trip takes x minutes does not mean that every trip takes that many minutes. People do stop in to the grocery store for quick trips too. A parent has the brains to decide whether each individual trip is going to be long enough to justify dragging the kids in.

    As for “be sensible and it won’t happen to you,” I’m telling you it did happen to me. You either think I am a liar (because I obviously have nothing better to do than make up cop horror stories), or you do not comprehend what you read.

    When there are actual verifiable campaigns out there telling everyone to call 911 if they see a kid in a car (because if they don’t a baby is going to die), you are foolish if you think nobody is going to do that.

  224. Dirk. August 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    “When there are actual verifiable campaigns out there telling everyone to call 911 if they see a kid in a car (because if they don’t a baby is going to die), you are foolish if you think nobody is going to do that.”

    I just want to see some actually proof that this is an epidemic before I start jumping up and down and pulling my hair out. Because I don’t see it and you really have to search it out to find examples (real ones that don’t involve actual bad decisions). By epidemic I mean that I will actually see it in action before I die. Just once.