“Firefighters Smashed My Window to Pull My Napping Son Out of the Parked Car, as If It Was an Emergency”


A mom, dad and preschooler went to Home Depot in Valley Stream, Long Island, on Saturday to get some Christmas lights. The child ended up in the hospital and the dad ended up in jail. Here’s what happened.
When the family got to the store, their 4-year-old had fallen asleep. As the dad wrote in an email to me, “He looked so comfortable, snoring a little.” So rather than waking him, they cracked open the sun roof, locked the door and headed inside.
They were at the checkout 15 or 20 minutes later (the lights had been hard to find), when they noticed a commotion in the parking lot. I’ll let the dad, W. Cheung, pick it up here (forgive his imperfect English):
We saw police cars and ambulance outside and I ran outside. Apparently someone called 911 saying my child was unconscious in the car and needed help. My poor 4 year old son. Napping was scared awake by the smashing of my passenger rear window and being pulled from the car as if the car was on fire. Scared, and put in an ambulance with a shoe missing as if his life was in jeopardy.

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67 Responses to “Firefighters Smashed My Window to Pull My Napping Son Out of the Parked Car, as If It Was an Emergency”

  1. theresa December 5, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    Time to get a lawyer to tell cps to get lost. If a parent says it they throw a hissy fit because you didn’t bow down to them and take out on your family even more. But if a lawyer says get lost they might listen without the fit.

  2. Vicki Bradley December 5, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    It’s infuriating to think how much trauma all those so-called concerned citizens have caused that poor boy and his family, over NOTHING! The problem is that there are no repercussions for all those busybodies, especially the 911 caller, when it becomes obvious the boy is perfectly fine and healthy, so this type of situation will continue to happen over and over again. On top of everything else, as it’s pointed out in the article, it’s a huge waste of resources that could be much better directed elsewhere.

  3. BL December 5, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    Everyone in this story except the Cheungs belongs in an institution for the mentally insane.

  4. Heather December 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    I actually don’t think the smashed window was the problem here. It wouldn’t be possible for a bystander to tell if the child was asleep or unconscious (or for that matter, dead). Nor for the firefighters. My son is about that same age, and if you banged on the window and shouted “Are you okay?” he would absolutely sleep through it.

    The problem occurred when, after breaking the window and waking the child up, the firefighters STILL viewed it as an emergency. They took him by ambulance to the hospital! Their response should have been to talk with the child for a second, be sure he was conscious, not dehydrated or freezing, etc, then say “Sorry about the window, just doing our job, here’s your child back.” To continue to act as though the child was in danger, after they SAW that he wasn’t, is absurd.

  5. Traci December 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

    I feel like we need to form some sort of Post Traumatic Support Group for these poor people who have suffered the abuse from irrational nosy-bodies and law-overstepment personnel. Please convey to Mr. Cheung and his family my deepest condolences and respect. Let him know that he has a large group of supporters. Also, as a local elected official, I feel strongly that he should approach his local City Council or Board of Supervisors (not sure what type of local government he has) and let them know what has happened. A personal letter to the mayor and Council Members might be very helpful for him. They are the ones who control the budget and will not be happy that resources are being spent on harassment of their constituents.

  6. Jessica Vale December 5, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    What is this obsession with “cracking” the window? Just roll the damned thing down all the way.

  7. Rick December 5, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    I think it’s time for a Free Range Sticker to plaster on car windows with a “Do Not Disturb Sleeping Child” with the parents cell phone number written on it. And maybe one of those clocks with the movable hands so you can tell any curious crusader what time you’ll be back.

  8. Heather December 5, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    That is a fabulous idea.

    I like your advice to take it to the city. At the very least, they may want to review the policies that are leading to this sort of thing.

  9. Kimberly December 5, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    Anyone else see the irony in that after all of that in the parking lot with the police and the fireman and the ambulance, they had to wait 2 hours to see a doctor? Some emergency.

  10. Allen December 5, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    Although I agree this was all an absurd overreaction, 15-20 minutes does seem like a long time for a 4-year-old. Maybe a mild reprimand? You might remember playing in the car while your parents shopped, but you probably weren’t quite that young.

  11. K December 5, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    I agree with Heather. I’ve wondered occasionally what I would do if I saw a not-conscious child alone in the backseat of the car. Because s/he’s PROBABLY sleeping, but maybe not, and there’s no way for me to tell. If only you could get a professional to check without risking destroying a family’s life even if the child is fine!

    Jessica, it’s December on Long Island. This was Saturday, today there’s snow on the ground. I’m not sitting around with my windows all the way down! Frankly, even cracking them is probably more an overreaction to the “a baby can overheat in the car in ANY weather!” messaging that’s so prevalent today than a necessity, and I’d say is more weather-appropriate than rolling them down all the way.

  12. Beth December 5, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    The 4-year-old was sleeping. When you are sleeping, does time seem to move slowly? How about a reprimand for the emergency responders that scared the heck out of him instead?

  13. Beth December 5, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    The above was to Allen.

  14. Havva December 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    Allan, I know for a fact I was younger when I was left in the car. I learned to read at the age of 3, and I distinctly remember that the first sentence I ever read, that wasn’t in a school book, was on the lid of a pill bottle mom had dropped in my lap before running back into the pharmacy for something she forgot. It wasn’t the first time I had been left in the car. At that age, whenever she could get a parking space along the sidewalk in front of the pharmacy she would let me wait in the car. (I think she was nervous about my fascination with all the glass decorations and porcelain dolls displayed on low mirrored shelves at the front of the pharmacy.)

  15. Richard Jones December 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    When someone leaves their lights on in the parking lot a good citizen goes into the store with a description of the car and the owners get paged and all is well. Couldn’t a concerned person(professional responder or otherwise) do the same thing? What in the hell is wrong with people these days? This is absolute speculation on my part but I wonder if this was a polite Asian couple who were completely bullied by the authorities with subtle racism. I do not make that charge lightly but I hope they find a good lawyer.

  16. Buffy December 5, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    What I’d like to know is why the jump to “unconscious” when a child is seen sleeping? Do kids just randomly become unconscious while doing everyday activities like sitting/riding in the car?

  17. lollipoplover December 5, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    “The officer told my wife that if your our child is out of sight for more than “10 seconds”! We are endangering our child”

    Should I call the police on myself while in the bathroom? The definition of endangered has certainly changed.

    And a 4 year-old is NOT a baby. This cascade effect of this overreaction caused more harm to this child and his family than any period of time this child was sleeping “endangered” in a car.

    Tinted windows, people. I highly recommend them.

  18. A reader December 5, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

    I live the next town over from Valley Stream, and this type of sanctimonious hysteria is definitely typical! And yes, the taxes around here are insane. Surprised I didn’t see this in the local Facebook moms group.

  19. Kaaren Sipes December 5, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

    Parents everywhere are going to have to wake their sleeping toddlers and haul them into stores ‘to be safe’, mostly to avoid the fears of other people. This means that if your cranky toddler screams and tantrums in the store, as they will when woken out of a nap, you can smile at the disapproving shoppers and say,’ at least I’m keeping my child in my sight. We all must suffer for safety.’ Maybe that would begin to make the hysterical types back off a little bit since they never seem interested in the safety of a fussy child.

  20. common sense December 5, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    I grew up in Freeport on long island and can totally believe the hysteria over this. the whole island is full of self righteous busybodies who can’t wait to show how superior they and how stupid and trashy you are. add into this the fact it’s much easier for cps to come down hard on this law abiding family than on families where the children truly need help and intervention[the poor underpaid cps workers might just have to go and do work in scary places]. i’ll just bet they’re getting giddy over the fact they have another “endangered child” case so they can ask for more money. and I willsay most police are professional, however there are those who look at their job as a chance to continue the bullying and intimidation tactics they learned so well in high school. put this together and my heart bleeds for what this family will be going through because this is just the start. just wait for the home visits[unannounced], the parenting classes they will insist on[that you pay out of pocket for as long as they feel you “need” them] the family and individual “counseling” to try and prove you incompetent. be strong.

  21. Mark Roulo December 5, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

    “We saw police cars and ambulance outside and I ran outside.”


    “Valley Stream must have a great tax base, because over the course of one day it has employed an ambulance and its EMTs, several police cars and officers …”

    In defense of the folks in charge of the ambulance … they are probably EMTs.

    My brother got to interact with EMTs a number of years ago(*). The basic rule seems to be that once
    they have you, you are going to the hospital. Someone there (ER doctor, whatever, …) can take it
    from there. This is, as nearly as I can tell, because they DON’T have doctor or nurse or paramedic
    training and the policy is to not screw up by leaving someone who dies later. They know how to keep
    people alive (mostly), but not how to diagnose a lack of problem (if you are fine in the ambulance, then
    great! If you go into arrest or start bleeding or convulsing they know what to do. They DO NOT know
    how to decide that you WON’T do any of these things). So not their call.

    If you don’t like this, the folks to take it up with are the city/county/whatever mayor/supervisors/whatever
    that make the rules.

    (*) It turns out that if you are pressure testing rocket parts there is a reason that you are supposed to be outside
    of the blast radius *AND* behind something very solid. Even if you expect the part to pass the test. Because
    if it doesn’t then one of you may get an ambulance ride and the other may get to ride in a medical helicopter.

  22. Sam December 5, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    NY State does NOT currently regulate the minimum age for a child to wait in a car. The “10 second rule” has no legal basis. And it’s obvious that there was no imminent danger.

    This town is too safe for its own good, and the police have to justify their own existence by picking on people who might not know the correct response to this abuse of power.

  23. Laura December 5, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

    This really pisses me off. Is there a GoFundme page cause I’d like to donate.

  24. Carolyn December 5, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

    These days with the mass hysteria surrounding kids being left in cars, you simply cannot leave your kids for any length of time. I even drag my 10 and 8 year-olds in with me to the store for a couple-minute errand. It’s just not worth the risk of something like this happening. I am so sorry this happened.

  25. Liz December 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

    Here’s an idea. How about everyone learn the laws for their state and follow them. If you feel they are unjust, work to change them. http://www.kidsandcars.org/resources/state-laws/

  26. Resident Iconoclast December 5, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    The progressives screamed that if the crude, sexist, and narcissistic cad named “Donald Trump” was elected president, then the United States would be well on the road to a Nazi Police State.

    A smokescreen, for sure. The scenario depicted in the above story is every bit worthy of a scene from the Cultural Revolution or communist Romania of years gone by. And was this situation produced by a bunch of right-wing Nazi thugs? Well, no, but it WAS a bipartisan effort, over three decades. And who was the prime sponsor of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act? Ted Cruz, you wonder? No, it was Walter Mondale, who served as both Vice President and senator.

    The government has been using your children as a prop, to create the most efficient police state that the world has ever seen. With all the evil intent of the North Koreans, it is made ultra-toxic by the limitless tax dollars that flow into its craw. Now Trump wants to appoint a shark to run Homeland Security, which Obama and Bush have spent year configuring as the National Police Force while they kept busy sending military weapons to your local police department.

    If you’re unwilling to say no in the strongest possible way to the abuse of civil liberties in the name of “the children,” then you’re next. Many already have been next. Lenore wouldn’t be able to find such abundant material, if not. Some surveys show younger people don’t think “democracy” is as important as older people. As far as I can tell, older people don’t give enough of a crap about it either. I’m sure the last Chinese “intellectual” rounded up during the Cultural Revolution thought it’d never happen to him, so why give a rat’s ass about all those other people.

  27. Paula December 5, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    But when a child is in a car that gets stolen or the child themselves get taken there will be an out cry about “why did the parents leave the child in the car”

  28. diane December 5, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    @ Paula, it’s much more likely that the child would get injured in a car accident on the way home from Home Depot. Will “people” then ask, “Why did they put the child in danger by taking him somewhere he didn’t need to be? Why not get a sitter?”

    This is an awful situation for that family. I’d be happy to donate. I hope one of these rights groups can help. Where’s the National Association of Parents (is that the right name?) or the ACLU?

  29. Kirsten December 5, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

    The only time I was scared when my Mom left me alone was when she parked illegally and told me to explain to any police officers that she’d be right back.

    This hysteria seems to be a kind of collective neurosis we have now as a society where we are constantly checking around ourselves for media-created terrors even as things objectively become safer and more under the microscope.

  30. Matthew Walker December 5, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    This is absolutely unexceptable!!!. The town should be sued and forced to pay damages.
    This poor child has now been permanently traumatized.
    The parents also now traumatized will spend the rest of their lives second guessing their decision making as parents and always looking over their shoulders to see of they are being watched and judged by others.

    I personally know them, and they spend all of their free time entertaining their children, either going to parks or doing art and crafts. They absolutley live for their children and as a result have two of the sweetest well rounded kids you will ever meet.
    My daughter personally begs to spend time with them and their children.
    So for anyone to disrespect them or treat them like criminals over this is a sin.

    For every social worker, cop, doctor, judge involved, I can guarantee each one of them can account for a time in their childhood when their parents left them in the car to do some shopping. And in fact I am sure they have done it with their own children.

  31. Snafu December 5, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

    > It wouldn’t be possible for a bystander to tell if the child was asleep or unconscious (or for that matter, dead).

    I agree. As a bystander, I my not be able to tell. (Hint: If it is moving, it lives 🙂 [And is not unconscious!])

    > Nor for the firefighters.
    I kind of disagree. As a Medic (in Germany “Sanitäter”, I think something like an EMT), you _can_ see breathing from afar. At least if the person doing it is breathing normally and your can see clearly. It might take a Flashlight, if dark.

    I work on quite a few festivals as a preventive medic (do you have something like that in the states?) and especially in the evening have to decide if a person is just drunk sleeping or if they passed out (maybe due to intoxication).

    You definitely don’t want to wake up a sleeping drunk if she/he is quite safe, protected from the environment and not disturbing other people. So the first thing to do is to check for breathing (just watch the chest rising or the face moving) and consider the surrounding situation. Normally people try to get comfortable when sleeping. No weird angles in any body parts, no hard corners pressing into the body, … Does it look like the person fell down? You get my drift.

    But for this, you need to pay attention, take your time and give the situation the benefit of the doubt that nothing happened and (and that might be the biggest issue) accept that you might get a situation wrong!

    On the other hand: If I think of all the people involved, I would have handled the situation similar to the EMT/Firefighter. You don’t want to stand around if everybody thinks (without merit, ok) that somebody is in danger and the stupid EMTs do not do their job…

  32. Beth December 5, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

    I was an EMT, and am a dispatcher. It is not true, at least in my state, that once the ambulance is there they “have you” and must transport to the hospital (geez, no wonder health care costs are so high). The patient or legal guardian (which can be, you know, the parent of a minor) can sign a release refusing transport, stating that they understand the risks of not going to the hospital. Of course there are ways around it if the person is laying on the ground pumping blood, but for minor situations a release is used all the time. Some people just prefer to drive themselves to the hospital, or go to an urgent care, or don’t need a hospital at all.

    Although, I did have a dispatch supervisor who required us to assume diabetic coma any time a “homeless person sleeping” was called in. Even if said person was sleeping in the same spot they slept every night – EMS, fire, and police were not real thrilled with that policy.

  33. Jacquelyn December 5, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

    I am very free range but I don’t agree with leaving a 4 year old in a car out of my line of sight. If he was sleeping when they went in, and woke up to find himself alone, he might understandable be very frightened and try to get out and find his parents. Just because people have thrown common sense out the window and overreact to every perceived threat or potential negligence doesn’t mean that anything goes. They were in the store long enough to have the firefighters respond and they couldn’t hear the sirens? I don’t think the entire situation was handled well, but I don’t agree that the parents used good judgement.

  34. baby-paramedic December 5, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    I know under my protocols, technically it is a requirement to take a child to hospital for every call.
    Now, obviously this is silly. Just last week I removed a splinter from a child, that child did not need to go to hospital.
    If we don’t take a child to hospital, the case will absolutely go through a checking and moderation process, where people who usually haven’t worked in an ambulance for at least a decade, decide if what you did was good enough or not.
    Many paramedics, because it is easier paperwork wise, decide to transport everyone. It also massively reduces your chance of being hurled in front of the inquisition because you made a poor choice. This way if something bad happens to the patient, it is on the hospital, not the paramedic.
    My paperwork will often take longer than the actual job. For example, took me ten minutes to get the splinter out, and leave the child skipping happily away. Took me at least 30 minutes to justify in my paperwork why I didn’t take her to hospital.

  35. Victoria December 5, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

    I left my four year old and one year old asleep in the car today while I perused the Christmas trees in a garden centre. I kept popping out to check them and people were cooing at them and saying how cute, then carrying on with their shopping! I’m so grateful that where I live in the UK people seem to still think it’s ok to leave your children asleep in the car! Who wants a tired, cranky child dragged around the shop when they could be left to nap?

  36. common sense December 5, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

    matthew walker… it doesn’t matter if they are saints walking on earth…the police, the prosecutor and cps all will be trying to get a piece of their hide. it’s for the children after all. what does it matter if in the process the child they are supposed to be protecting they end up destroying mentally and emotionally? they will have followed the laws, gotten credit for a prosecution and enabled themselves to justify their existence. that’s all that matters in their minds. after all we can’t have parents thinking they know what is best for their own children, they might start questioning all the stupid and dangerous[yes dangerous] laws that are being passed to restrict parents ability to parent.

  37. James Pollock December 5, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    My working theory is that this is the fault of… cell phones.

    In the olden days (the 1980’s), you might come out of a store and find an unresponsive child in car and be alarmed by it, same as now. But back then, your alarm had a couple of possible solutions: Go back into the store, and try to contact the parents, or go back into the store, and call the authorities. (OK, forcing the door or a window to check on the child yourself was a possibility, but I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing about that happening) In any case, taking action required considerable effort on the part of the concerned bystander. Many an incident failed on the “is this serious enough to justify me putting in a bunch of effort? No? OK, then, I’m going home.”.
    Nowadays, since everybody is carrying a phone right with them, calling the authorities is a simple task, requiring very little effort. The bystander calls in the authorities and continues on their way, knowing that they’ve taken action and, really, done all that they can do to resolve the problem. The authorities arrive on-scene, and don’t know whether they need to be there or not, so they assume they do, and act accordingly. There’s a built-in assumption– we must be needed here because someone went to the trouble of calling us here– that is left over from when it took significant effort to call them in, meaning people didn’t call the authorities for trivial things.

    Anyways, if my theory is correct, the best answer is a sign on the car window with the parents’ cell-phone number. It’s not a perfect solution, since some people will still call 911 instead of calling strangers, and sometimes parents will realize that they’ve left their cellphone at home or used up the battery and so won’t get the call from the parking lot.

  38. Joanne C December 5, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

    Ross Harris was convicted a month ago by a jury in in Brunswick Georgia of malice murder for the crime of intentionally leaving his son in his car during the whole working day at Home Depot instead of dropping him off at the corporate daycare the little boy was right at 2 years old this was in the hot Georgia summer to wear temperatures outside can reach up to 90 degrees the judge sentenced him today to life in prison without the possibility of parole

  39. Nicole December 5, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    I am all about doing what you need to in a situation. But with two parents and a sleeping kiddo – why didn’t one stay with the child? If my kiddo fell asleep and was left alone in the car and then they woke up they would freak out. And my kids are older than 4. Heck my 7 year old was home and in the bathroom when myself and my other two kids found a neighbors dog out in the yard and ran it home we did not tell her we were leaving- I came home to a crying kid “where did you go” I can’t imagine a 4 year old in a shopping center parking lot. I think it would be one thing if the parent was alone and had no choice but they had a choice here.

    Sadly you can’t tell if there is something wrong or if the child is sleeping so you err on the side of caution. If not then you can be sued. Happens all the time. There was just a fire in Oakland this past weekend were adults choose to live in an unsafe situation. An illegal event was held there. A fire broke out and tragically people where killed. Who is everyone blaming. The inspectors that had tried to assess the building but where not being let in a couple weeks ago. “Why didn’t they shut it down” as if the adults that lived there did not know it was unsafe to have a stair case made out of wooden crates. It was an artist colony and the rent was cheap so they took the risk – blaming the inspectors seems crazy but now their families can sue the city.

    Nobody takes any personal responsibility so if that kid was hurt and nobody did anything they would be in trouble too. Law enforcement can’t win… who would want that job.

    This does not mean the craziness described afterward is okay. It seems really absurd. Once the child was checked out and deemed okay that should have been the end of it.

  40. pentamom December 5, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

    “I actually don’t think the smashed window was the problem here. It wouldn’t be possible for a bystander to tell if the child was asleep or unconscious (or for that matter, dead). Nor for the firefighters. My son is about that same age, and if you banged on the window and shouted “Are you okay?” he would absolutely sleep through it.”

    What about paging the parents in the store by license plate number and asking them to unlock the car and check on the kid?

  41. Christine December 5, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    As much as I feel this writer’s pain, and also feel this was definitely overkill on the use of a towns resources, I feel that if you leave your child unattended in a vehicle, there is a huge chance it will be reported by someone. Regardless of why you are leaving your child, a parked car with a child in it alone, especially in a parking lot is a hotbed for exactly what this family endured.
    I wish it wasn’t but that is not the case. Yes, I have awakened my soundly sleeping four yr. old to go in a store to pay for gas. Do I think it’s ridiculous when, I will be right back out? You bet I do.
    But having to deal with Child Protective Services and the police for months is not something I am willing to do.
    It reminds me of filling out the applications and answering the endless questions before the adoption of my son was finalized. Two of those questions were, ” Have you, or anyone else had to call an emergency or police service regarding the child in the last six months? “and “Have you ever left the child unattended in a vehicle, that which emergency services were contacted?”
    I’m sure there are many people who do, but knowing the severity of how such a report is interpreted, for me, it’s just not worth it.

  42. Donald Christensen December 5, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

    Daniel Kahneman is an author, well regarded psychologist, and Nobel prize winner. He’s most famous for his Prospect Theory. This theory describes how people under stress can be very inaccurate in determining risk and probability. He has also made several quote such as:

    1. A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.

    2. This is the essence of intuitive heuristics: when faced with a difficult decision, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution

    3. We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness

    4. Jumping to conclusions on the basis of limited evidence is so important to an understanding of intuitive thinking, …..I will use a cumbersome abbreviation for it: WYSIATI, which stands for what you see is all there is. You cannot help dealing with the limited information you have as if it were all there is to know. You build the best possible story from the information available to you, and if it is a good story, you believe it.

    Enough of Daniel Kahneman. Now for my rant.

    Law and Order first aired in 1990. CSI started in 2001. The NCIS series 1 played on 2003. NCIS is now in LA. CSI expanded to Miami, and Las Vegas. They also investigate internet crimes with CSI Cyber. The drama doesn’t stop there. The News/infotainment also tailors/alters their stories in order to meet this demand placed on them by the public.

    Did you know that the KKK has infiltrated the police force? They murder black people, get paid to do so! Few people believe this tripe but they still share statements such as this all over on Facebook. Tv networks are not the only ones to use hate, fear, and outrage to maximize ratings. People use them as well because this is one of the easiest ways to gets Facebook likes.

    We can blame the police and CPS for this but is it really their fault? This would be like claiming that the mirror is defective because you don’t like the reflection! It’s true that bureaucracy has it’s problems. They’re put in place to address an issue. However, when the problem goes away, the bureaucracy doesn’t. They keep providing solutions even though the problem has gone away!

    Their overreaction becomes bigger and bigger until it becomes catastrophic! It then stops when enough people see that it’s gone too far. However, how will that happen in this case? The public’s appetite for drama entertainment is so great that millions of people believe that it’s real!

    As long as we keep claiming that it’s everybody else’s fault except mine, we’ll keep diving further into anarchy!

  43. Vince L December 5, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

    Time to invest in heavily tinted windows and curtains and …

  44. Donald Christensen December 5, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    Most people wake up to to music from their clock radio. They also hear the news as they wake up.

    Here is an example of how they wake up:

    M ……. A car accident claimed the life of…….
    T ……. Joe Blow is under investigation for embezzlement……
    W ……. a fire has……….
    Th …… The abduction of ………
    F ……. There has been a shooting at ………

    Can you imagine someone spending decades of their life waking up like this? My clock radio is set to a station in a language that I don’t understand.

  45. Donald Christensen December 5, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    Voting is not exclusive to ballots and politics. Business listen intensely to what people want to spend their money on. Therefore you ‘vote’ hundreds of times each day. Every time you purchase something (or chose not to) you vote. Every time you click on anything online, you vote. Every time you turn on the tv, you vote.

    Politicians don’t always listen to what people want. Businesses do.

  46. Donald Christensen December 5, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

    The idea of our child getting picked on by a bully is scary. We don’t like bullies


    We love bullies. We like to glorify them on TV. On reality tv, we don’t vote them off because they are great for ratings. On ‘Survivor’, we had to have an all bad guys team. We had to bring back the bullies from past shows because we love them so much. We always have a bad guy as one of our judges for shows like America’s got talent.

    We like leaders of organised crime. We love TV shows of them. We also make hit men into good guys. Wasn’t John Travolta and Samuel Jackson great in Pulp Fiction? They were so cool! There are lots of hit man movies where the hit man is sort of the good guy.

    The Romans use to watch gladiators fight to the death for entertainment. It’s a good thing that we are civilized now. Those poor spectators had to sit on hard marble seats. However we can view it in the comfort of our own home!

  47. SKL December 5, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

    A little common sense! Is the child breathing? Does his color look normal? Is there anything about the weather that would make you think the car is an oven?

    I won’t say it’s *never* understandable to break a window. They did stay in the store for 20 minutes, which means we can’t say “the 911 caller could have just waited a few minutes to see if the parents would return.” With all the media hype, it is less surprising that the 911 caller got scared than that the parents thought this was a good idea. If I were them, one parent would have gone back outside sooner than 20 minutes, even if I thought the kid was perfectly fine.

    Major bummer that the authorities overreacted. But not a major surprise.

    So glad my kids are past that age.

    Though, they still won’t let my 5th graders walk around their own school after hours without a supervising adult. I got mildly told off today because they walked from youth group (next door) to aftercare without an adult escort. The aftercare lady was getting ready to leave (30 minutes early). I wonder what would have happened had Ms. Aftercare left 5 minutes earlier? Golly, my kids probably would have perished waiting 20 minutes for me ….

  48. SKL December 5, 2016 at 7:36 pm #

    Does anyone else wonder why the cops and EMTs don’t have tools to unlock car doors? Seems that would be a handy dandy item, especially with all these false alarms.

  49. Puzzled December 5, 2016 at 8:29 pm #


    If memory serves, Valley Stream uses NCPD ambulances, in which case the ambulance is staffed by one person, who is a paramedic. In any case, though, EMTs and paramedics are both fully capable of taking refusals. It is true that in NY, neither can treat and release; the only way to terminate care other than transport is by getting a refusal.

    Where it gets more complicated is that certain calls under protocols require medical control contact for taking a refusal, and in this case, you’d also have the police trying to insist you transport, even if the parents want to refuse. It’s easier to refuse a person than to take a parental refusal for a minor, particularly if the police are alleging abuse. I think most medics in this case would end up transporting.

  50. James Pollock December 5, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

    “In any case, though, EMTs and paramedics are both fully capable of taking refusals.

    Any adult* can refuse medical care. But… some cases exist where neither a minor nor a minor’s parent may do so. How this is set up in the statutes varies from state to state (fairly widely). Basically, the goal is to criminalize the practice of denying needed, available medical care to children of parents who practice faith healing.

    I’m pretty sure (though not certain) that when there are allegations of child abuse/neglect sufficient to give probable cause for an arrest, the police may require a medical examination of the child to document and preserve evidence of the abuse, even over the objections of the parent(s). Note that I’m having trouble seeing the probable cause here, although we have only the parents’ side of the story so something important may have been omitted.

    *Are there exceptions? Of course there are exceptions.

  51. Donald Christensen December 5, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

    Lenore emailed me with a good point.

    Our country doesn’t produce enough drama to meet out demand. We have to import it. In fact, in many cases we know nothing of the country except tragedy. Few people know anything about Portugal except that it’s where Madeleine McCann was taken.

    The information superhighway is great for keeping tract of things such as this. No wonder people are 100% certain that violence is up and that they absolutely positively will NOT think otherwise.

    However, let’s focus on blaming others for our problems. Let’s not consider how people can alter their lifestyle/beliefs in order to maximize the creation of the ‘feel good drugs’ such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins

  52. sexhysteria December 6, 2016 at 2:27 am #

    A lawsuit should ask for a minimum of $1 million in compensation.

  53. Katie December 6, 2016 at 6:21 am #

    The cynic in me wonders how interested a Long Island city council will be in a nice law-abiding legal immigrant if Mr. Cheung is not [yet] a naturalized citizen who can [legally] vote….

  54. Donna December 6, 2016 at 7:20 am #

    Why was just the father arrested? I think anyone should have been arrested, but arresting only one of two parents present seems odd. Either the police just arbitrarily picked a single parent to be responsible for a decision made by both or we are missing some facts.

    Unfortunately, I think we are at a point in society where it is unsafe to leave your young children in the car. The threat of having your window smashed, kid taken by CPS and being arrested is just too high. And based on the current social climate, I really don’t like your chances of winning a trial. Taking kids out of the car falls in line with many other things – locking your doors, not leaving valuables visible in your car, not getting falling down drunk at a party – that you do to protect yourself from falling victim to other people’s wrongful acts. It isn’t fair, but until the obsession with kids (and dogs) dying in hot cars ends, it is simply not safe to leave them there.

  55. Donna December 6, 2016 at 7:26 am #

    Ross Harris was convicted of malice murder because it is believed that he wanted to get rid of his child so he left the child in the car all day intending for the child to die and then he could then claim it was an accident. Definitely not the common scenario.

    However, Ross Harris is definitely part of what makes it, I believe, unsafe to leave children in the car. That someone would choose to murder their child that way (if that is what he did) just incites more ire against seeing a child in the car.

  56. John S Green December 6, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    This is too sad. What great parents. Not one person with common sense in that sequence.

  57. SUN ROOF PEOPLE & STORE INTERCOM December 6, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

    @Jessica Vale

    You add to the questioning of those who scan articles and not reading the story thoroughly. Go back and read the story again…and again…and again. When you have, go to the blackboard and write 100 sentences in cursive “I will read the entire story again and understand the details before commenting.”

    He cracked the SUN ROOF. You DO NOT roll down a sun roof. You either crack it open by the tilt function or retracting it slightly into the headliner of the car.

    The kid was perfectly fine with that being cracked open. Good Grief!

    BTW, whatever happened to going in and have the store intercom blaring “Would the owner of a (make and model car) with license plate (blah blah) come to the front of the store and see the manager as quickly as possible please?!” Crikey, people want to be heroes at other people’s expense.

  58. Steve December 6, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    So many Americans are worried about terrorism. Personally, I’m much more scared of my own government than I am of any terrorist. And stories like this illustrate why.

  59. Aaron Browder December 6, 2016 at 7:37 pm #

    I know what those busybodies were thinking: “A child left alone in a car? Oh boy! Happy day! I get to be a hero! Finally my life has meaning.” I’ve been there. I know what it feels like and it feels verrrry good.

  60. Cassie December 6, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    Did anyone try to page them? Surely keys are quicker?

  61. James Pollock December 6, 2016 at 8:58 pm #

    “Did anyone try to page them? Surely keys are quicker?”

    Hard to say, since we only have one side of the story. Maybe they did, and the parents weren’t paying attention or didn’t hear it.

  62. Long John December 6, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

    Never leave a child unattended in a car. No excuses. One of the parents could have stayed with the child. The emergency services did their job well.

  63. SteveS December 7, 2016 at 8:12 am #

    I agree with those who are saying that we may be missing some facts. It seems unusual to arrest someone, given what was presented.

  64. Another Katie December 7, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    I’ve posted here before about how I feel that I have to haul our 3.5 year old in with us to pick up our 1st grader at her after-school program, even though it’s in a safe, residential neighborhood and I have full visual contact with the car the entire time. We live in a town where a few years ago a mother was arrested for leaving her non-distressed tween in the car to read while she ran into a pharmacy, and the local cops like to sit in the school parking lot to do paperwork – I can’t take a chance.

    This time of year, it’s dark by 5 PM and some of my fellow parents unfortunately drive through the school parking lot like they’re in a NASCAR race. Even though I hold her hand the entire time, our preschooler is probably in more danger walking through a dark parking lot with inattentive drivers than she would be sitting safely strapped into her car seat.

    If I leave the little one in the car or don’t have her with me pickup is very quick; while I sign big kid out, she collects her stuff and we’re out the door. With the little one in tow, I have to unbuckle little kid from her car seat and walk up to the school holding her hand, try to prevent little one from running around the program area while the big one gets her things, and then herd both kids out to the car and get everyone strapped in again. The extra hassle in hauling the preschooler with me EASILY doubles the time it takes to do the pickup.

  65. Minimum state age for child(ren) to be left alone December 7, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    Maybe the best thing is to leave the child in the car alone when they can be left at home alone since every state usually has a minimum age that can be done at.

    Should the local Barney Fife or anyone else decide to question me about that if they catch my at or above that age child(ren) alone in the car, I will kindly inform them of the law while getting it on video for all to see before turning it into the media.

  66. James Pollock December 7, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

    “Should the local Barney Fife or anyone else decide to question me about that if they catch my at or above that age child(ren) alone in the car, I will kindly inform them of the law”

    Barney will then inform you that you do not understand the law as well as you imagine you do, and continue to do his job.

    You can be charged with child neglect if you neglect your child’s needs (to which you say “duh”. Stay with me.) A minimum age to leave a child alone at home means that if your child is below that age, and left home alone, the state doesn’t need to prove anything else… if they can prove the child was home, and under the minimum age limit, you get convicted. It does NOT mean that if your child was alone, but over the minimum age, that you cannot be convicted… it’s just harder.
    Then, Barney will point out to you that motor vehicles and homes are not really the same. Homes have running water, and usually food in the pantry; motor vehicles typically do not. Ditto for indoor plumbing.. If you live in a part of the country closer to the extremes in weather (say, Florida or Texas in summer, Michigan or Maine in winter), temperature becomes an issue Barney’s considering, too… homes have furnaces and/or AC. Cars have heaters and AC as well, but only if they are running. If you left the car running with only an unlicensed driver to attend to it, that’s a separate offense and Barney may write you a ticket for that, too, since he doesn’t really like being called “Barney”.

  67. Babyspun December 17, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

    Well! I don’t know how to respond to this. Its shocking and also very sad. I can almost feel the pain and trauma that the parents of the child had to go through. I’m sure every parent can relate to this.