I Guess a Stranger Cares More Than This Mom Does About Her Kids’ Safety

Hi yizytytyzi
Folks! Here’s a post from the blog highlyirritable which I’m realizing could describe me, too, whenever I am contemplating our fear-crazed culture. (Slightly off topic, but while I was on the site, I found THIS post, which has a picture of the greatest word problem ever. Guaranteed laugh.) – L  
A Ballsy Mom
I’m really not one to brag, but it appears that I’m considered a bit of a hero around these parts. A few weeks ago I wascalled “brave,” and “ballsy,” and I’m choosing to take those as compliments, despite the manner in which they were given. So what did I do this time to earn such honors?

 I left my kids alone in the car while I went into the pizza shop.

I know! I’m a real renegade.

I was waiting in line for my pizza, when a man entered.

“Is that your car out there?” he asked, and pointed towards my car in the parking lot.

I looked out to the parking lot. Yes, it was my car, and I told the man that. I was worried. Was my 8-year-old son trying to hotwire it, or was it shaking with the kids fighting in the backseat? Was the radio blaring? I could see the car from the window, but it was far enough away that I couldn’t spot the kids inside of it. “So those are your kids?” he asked.

His tone was not kind. I wasn’t too surprised though. A few weeks ago I accidentally dropped my daughter off at the wrong soccer field and left her to her own devices to figure it out when I realized my mistake. On that occasion I was “advised” to call for help to locate my “missing” daughter. I figured a 13 year old could handle that and more, and walked away from the “adviser,” securing my place as the world’s worst soccer mom.

The man went on. “Wow. You’re ballsy. And braver than I am, to leave your kids out there alone.”

I honestly couldn’t think of anything to say. I’m parked in a suburban Ontario shopping mall parking lot.  It’s not a war zone, or the back alley behind a jail for pedophiles. What exactly was going to happen?

He said nothing else to me while we waited for our food, but stared at my kids in their perilous situation the whole time. I guess he figured his eyes would keep them safe when I was clearly uninterested in doing so.

When I got home, I checked online to find the stranger abdication rates for our area .I began to understand why the man was so concerned.

It turns out that there have been zero child abductions in our town of nearly 75,000 people in the last 5 years (and likely before; I have lived here almost 40 years and recall no others).

When you look at these statistics, you must conclude that the man is right!  Of course we must live in fear! It is our duty to shame those who dare leave their children unattended for 10 minutes in a pizza shop parking lot! We must never leave our children’s sight! Especially considering there have been no stranger abductions here in the past.

Clearly the only message we should take from these numbers is that abductions will be starting soon, because we are due!

As for my pizza, I took it — and my kids — and left them at the park.


Just add kids and leave at park.


87 Responses to I Guess a Stranger Cares More Than This Mom Does About Her Kids’ Safety

  1. valleycat1 September 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    I work in a small town at the front desk of a building that houses a couple of preschool classes along with our business. At least once a week a concerned parent comes in to tell me there’s a car parked in the lot with unattended small children in it (out of my sight range, at a time we can have as many as 30-40 parents dropping off kids) . My response of “if the parent is comfortable with that, why should I intervene” is NOT popular. Nor do they take my suggestion that if they are uncomfortable with it they should wait by the car for the parent to return & discuss it with them. And somehow others in our building think we would be held responsible if something were to happen.

  2. derpdedoo September 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    I wonder where the author looked up the statistics? I live in Brampton Ontario which will be awarded the WHO’s International Safe Community designation for the next 5 years (this is the second time Brampton was been awarded this!). Not a day goes by where someone tells me it’s not safe outside for children, they might get abducted! If abductions are the norm in an “International Safe Community” then I can’t imagine the horror that exists beyond my city’s borders.

  3. Stephanie September 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    I’ve refused to leave my kids in the car so far, but then my daughter has a talent for asking on miserably hot days and for errands that would take too long. She’s the only one old enough for us to even consider the idea as yet.

    Parents around here do consider me brave for letting my older kids walk under a quarter mile to and from school on their own and for letting the older ones play out of my sight at the park. I just figure the older two don’t need that much watching, but the three year old does need a little more. She’s the spontaneous one who’d run off someplace odd, anyhow.

  4. Suchada @ Mama Eve September 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Yesterday a lady stopped her car in front of my condo (the door was open so I could hear my boys, who were playing outside. “Your son was almost in the street”, she said, not in a nice voice.

    “Was he in the street?” I asked.

    “He was *right next* to the street”, she said.

    “He’s never gone into the street. Thanks for your concern”, I said.

    “I know what I saw!!”

    Lady, the sidewalk is *right next* to the street. As long as you’re not driving on it, and my son stays there, we’re all safe.

    She left in a huff, obviously more concerned about my child’s safety than I am.

  5. CWH September 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    This reminds me of the time I was at the school playground with my kids, my daughter’s friend and their dad. It’s a huge area with 2 playgrounds separated from each other by a large field. We were the only ones there. We had moved to the 2nd playground, and my 6yo wanted her water bottle, which was in my car. So I gave her the keys to unlock the car and told her to go get it herself. This involved her walking *maybe* 2 minutes each way, partially out of my sight.

    It was a lovely sunny day, so I relaxed under a tree while she went.The other dad looked at me like I was insane, and asked me if I was going to watch her. I simply smiled and said “she’ll be fine.”

    And of course she was.

  6. Susan H September 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Wait, this author’s kids were 8 and 13?! They aren’t exactly toddlers. The 13-year old could be a babysitter by now, and will be driving herself in just three more years.

  7. Chihiro September 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    They were worried someone might abduct them from the car? Does your car have locks on the door? Will people just not notice if a random person just starts breaking windows and trying to grab the screaming kids inside?

  8. Kali E September 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    a couple years ago, I ran into the gas station to pay for my carwash, and left my boys in the car. As I was paying, a lady came in, bellowing “Who has the car outside with the two small kids in it?!”. I finished paying, told her that it was my car, and “thank you for your concern, but it isn’t necessary”.

    She followed me out of the store and literally SCREAMED at me that I should have my kids taken away, that I was a horrible person, etc etc. I finally got into my car and locked the door, and she continued screaming through the window at me.

    To this day, every time we go to the carwash, my boys say “Mom, remember that mean lady that screamed at you?”.

  9. Josh S September 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    5 years without a child abduction?!? Clearly, they’re due for one. Best be on the lookout!


  10. Jon Daley September 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    I was in a conversation with a mom the other day who has made a resolution to not drive her kids to school the whole year, but walk them instead.

    She lives two blocks away from the school. But said it isn’t safe for the kids to walk on their own due to all of the cars.

    The town has 5000 people in it. I started noticing that kids don’t walk to school by themselves any more.

    But, the other day I saw a kid crossing the street, and I thought, “oh look at that, a kid (10 year old) who walks to school by himself”. But, then as I went around the corner, there was his dad watching him cross the street into the schoolyard.

    It’s a crazy world.

  11. Jon Daley September 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    I went looking for crime rates in my area, and was surprised to see the rates have gone significantly up since the 60s. I’ve quoted Lenore’s numbers before, but it looks like that isn’t true across the board, but is true in NY.

    Numbers are about the same in 2005 as in 1960, despite the population increase. And some instances it has gone down.

    But, here in NH, the numbers are significantly higher across all types of crimes.

  12. Cheri September 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    My former neighbor discovered I let my daughter take baths alone since she was 2 years old and looked stunned. Not like an abduction is likely to occur in my house but it’s dangerous. She has been in swimming since she was 6 months old-I didn’t want her to drown so she learned how to swim. I was not going to sit in the bathroom for an hour watching her play with her Barbies every single day. And she just sat in the tub and played. Never stood up never tried to climb and she sang the entire time she was in there. As long as she was singing she obviously wasn’t drowning. My son is 14 months and no way in hell I would trust him to his own devices in any room. He climbs-beats things-eats everything and is not as comfortable in water as Anna although he loves playing in it.

    As for outside of my house. I let her play outside when I’m not watching her. My mom freaks out about it-but I live on a cul du sac-in a very nice neighborhood. And I can see her from my bedroom window-again she may be out my sight but I can hear her. I keep my ear open and I told her that she isn’t to go inside anyones house-ever until she comes and talks to me in person.

  13. Sarah September 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Off topic but has anyone heard this story? This woman was arrested in Texas for letting her 6 and 9 year olds ride their scooters in the street – in a cul du sac! Just because a neighbor called the police and said her children were playing in the street unsupervised. Crazy!


  14. Kenny Felder September 21, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    This isn’t entirely on topic, but the pizza made me think of it.

    We’re not supposed to accept any Halloween candy that isn’t shrink-wrapped, right? The theory is that one of our neighbors may have put in poison or a razor or something, presumably planning to follow up with a ransom note saying “I’ll do the same to your other kids unless you hand over some shrink-wrapped twenties…”

    But the pizza wasn’t shrink-wrapped, was it? It was just sitting in a big old cardboard box, I’ll bet. The Big Mac is just stuck by an employee in a styrofoam container, and you never see that employee, and he could have put anything in there. What is it that makes these people so much more trustworthy than my neighbors? Is it because the local pizza joint and McDonald’s screen them so carefully?

  15. SKL September 21, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    My kids’ part-time nanny leaves them in the car regularly as she attends to her personal activities. They are 5. At least part of the time, they are with Nanny’s 23yo special-needs daughter. SND is no more capable of protecting them than another little kid, but I guess it satisifes the busybodies optically.

    I am not a fan of the “looks” that I get when I leave them in the car, but I have been doing it occasionally for a couple of years. They know I’ll spank ’em if they try any nonsense. And I leave the doors locked and take the keys with me. So there isn’t much that can happen.

    More power to this mom, for being able to put up with the “more caring than thou” people.

  16. James September 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Sarah, I heard about that, too. I was wondering when Lenore was going to do a story on it. I can’t believe the police feel justified in their actions. At least it seems most people agree this was a ridiculous judgement call and the neighbor should be the one charged.

  17. Katrin from Frankfurt September 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    “Clearly the only message we should take from these numbers is that abductions will be starting soon, because we are due!”

    That was my first thought, too.

  18. Donna September 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    It is par for the course to leave kids in the car while running errands in Am. Samoa. And it’s HOT so all the windows are open and the doors unlocked. The few cars that actually have air conditioning may even be running. The kids are fine. Nobody steals them. Families have 10 kids around here. The last thing the parents want is to bring home extras.

  19. BL September 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    Why do we let cops and busybodies walk around unsupervised?

  20. HeatherJ September 21, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    I leave my two DD (9 and 6) in the car while I run into the grocery to pick up a couple of things. It takes me all of 5 minutes. The car is usually running, because it’s hot in South Florida, and they lock the doors once I get out. I’ve never had anyone question me, but people seem to be somewhat easy going around here. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  21. Bwsf September 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    Wow. At first I thought his concern was because your children were young (which…even so, I have left my now 4 year old in the car on many an occasion) but at 8 and 13, I think it’s more than ok to do so. At age 11, I was home alone with my two younger brothers for entire days so our single mom could work. Wonder what Mr. Concerned would have had to say about that?

  22. Melissa September 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    Kenny-if you look into it, the Halloween candy scare was all media hype also. There was never a reported incident of any intentionally tainted Halloween candy but the media sure put the fear out there.

  23. Molly s September 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    You must be a Mom after my own heart….I won’t even get into my wrong haunted house drop off story!

    One of my biggest pet peeve annoyances is busy body people who pride themselves on knowing what is best for ALL children. Their sense of self seems to be dependent upon feeling like they know more than Mom or Dad ever will about raising children.

    “I don’t call it ballsy, I call it common sense.”
    Maybe that would have been a good comeback.

    Have a great weekend!

  24. Busybodies Are Everywhere September 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    When my daughter was a baby, I put her in her carseat and left my car to return the shopping cart to the corral two parking spaces over. In the approximately 10 seconds I was “away” from from my vehicle and despite the fact my baby was never out of my sight, a woman walked by, noticed an “unattended” infant, and started doing the busybody dance and looking wildly around for a parent, who was standing a few steps away. She demanded to know if I was the baby’s mother. I replied that I was and that I hadn’t gone anywhere. I wanted to tell her to calm down and mind her own business but was afraid she would call CPS or something stupid.

  25. Katrina September 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Someone called the cops on me because my children were in the car outside of the bar after dark. I wasn’t out partying, I had stopped in to give my friend, the bartender, a dog breeder’s phone number. I ran into a few other friends and was chatting for a while.

    The officer was highly agitated when he confronted me. And when I pointed out to him that my children:

    A. Were old enough to leave at home but my home was extremely isolated and not a good choice in my mind.
    B. Had the extra key with the car alarm panic button on it.
    C. Had their own cell phone to contact me if they had any concerns.
    D. The vehicle was parked about three feet from the building door.

    The cop “offered” that I might like to go with him down to the jail and explain my story to a judge the next morning because he “didn’t like my attitude”. I had to reach pretty deep in myself to find the diplomacy to talk my way out of that because when I asked him what law I was breaking he only got more mad. Ironically, the point that really sunk in with him was that they also had a 90 pound dog in the vehicle with them (I didn’t point out that she was in a crate and therefore NOT protection). LOL

  26. Meg September 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    In Australia you can be fined up to $22,000 for leaving a child unattended in a car. Fortunately this law didn’t exist when my three children were young. I would often leave them in the car for short periods of time. Park outside bread shop, buy bread, park outside news agency, buy paper, park outside corner shop, stock up etc etc.
    On the other hand, children have died from being left in cars on hot days. So tragic. And as for the children who are left in cars in casino car parks……

  27. Crystal September 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    To Busybodies are Everywhere: I share that fear, too. Just the other day my 21-month-old learned how to unlock our front door and made it out to the sidewalk without me realizing it (I was washing dishes and didn’t hear anything over the water and clanking plates). As soon as I heard my son’s voice outside, I ran out front. Of course, there was already a lady pulled into the driveway to tell me. I tried to thank her, but she cut me off to lecture me and obviously didn’t believe my story by the look of pure disgust on her face.

    I’m waaay more afraid of someone calling CPS than of any abductors!

  28. tired_triumph September 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    This kind of nonsense (called “caring”) just makes me so so weary.

  29. Athena September 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    The sad thing is that when some kids are in real need (abused, hungry, dirty etc.) these busybodies are nowhere in sight. Instead of doing something real for the community and put their energy into actual aid, they prefer to nag people who follow their common sense.

  30. Wendy September 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Heads up! Turns out its illegal to leave a 6 year old or younger in a car alone in California. You don’t want to have to go to a “community education program.”


  31. Lollipoplover September 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    We used to have a game we played when we were younger and left “alone” in a car while mom shopped(with my fellow 9 siblings-not quite alone). We’d guess how many bags she’d come out with. She’d always say she only needed 3 or 4 items but usually came out with 7 or 8 bags. Whoever guessed correctly got to sit shotgun.
    We sometimes stayed in the station wagon (wood paneled) but frequently hung out on the islands in the parking lots, looking for treasures. Most kids did this. No one wanted to steal us.
    Sadly, the guy who called you out for leaving your adolescent kids in a car probably spent time waiting for his mom alone in the car. Maybe he just forgot?

  32. AW13 September 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    My friend’s little boy was acting up in a restaurant. (He’s…5, I think, going to be 6). My friend gave him fair warning that his behavior would not be tolerated, and ended up carrying him through the restaurant to the car. The son was in a mood, struggling and fussing. In the parking lot, he was stopped by a “do-gooder”, who demanded to know where he was going. My friend explained the situation. The do-gooder then proceeded to ask his son if he was being kidnapped. His son said no. That wasn’t good enough, however, and the do-gooder threatened to call the police. My friend whipped out his cell phone and said, “Go ahead, I’m calling them now to report you for harassment.” The do-gooder faded away, the police were never contacted and my friend’s son (who looks identical to my friend, ironically) was remanded to the car with his father. But still, I couldn’t believe it – even after the kid said “No” when asked if he was being kidnapped, the guy still threatened police action. Ridiculous.

  33. Mpmp September 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    The “busy body” reminds me of a time a few years ago when I was doing something in the garage with the garage door open and my girls (maybe like 3 & 5 at the time?) we’re playing in the driveway and front yard. A lady walked by and said something to the effect of, “you know the [landscaping] workers are sitting right over there” and pointed to the landscaping truck 100 yards down the street. The workers were taking a break or lunch or something. I looked at her and said, “um. Ok?”. She muttered somerhing like, “well just want to be careful” got flustered and walked away.

  34. Laura in CA September 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    That CA law actually says you cannot leave a child 6 or younger in a car under only two circumstances; risk to their health or safety (hot car) or when the motor is running and/or key in the ignition.
    If there is no actual risk, it’s not illegal.

  35. Susanna September 21, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    I have no problem leaving my kids in the car. They are safer there than in the store, full of perverts waiting to grab them as soon as I turn my back to get milk out of the glass case. You know, if we’re playing the odds like that. 😉

  36. Carol September 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    I remember, back when my youngest (she’s 20 now) was about four months old, standing in line at a convenience store listening to everybody else discuss the unfit parent who’d be sorry one of these days and who furthermore doesn’t deserve to have any children; since I was the monster under discussion, I held my tongue and tried to look innocent, or maybe invisible.

    My crime? Well, it was well below freezing– really bitterly cold and windy– and the baby was fast asleep in her car seat; I was running into the mini-mart for my morning paper and coffee. The car was parked in a space directly in front of the store’s plate glass window, in the direct line of sight of the line inside. Silly me, I thought that rather than wake the baby up and wrestle her back into her snowsuit for a three minute pit-stop, everyone would be happier if I left her there asleep. Not wishing to freeze her to death, I left the engine running with the heat on, taking every possible precaution: emergency brake on, one window cracked open an inch, car doors locked, spare car key in my hand. Now maybe nobody realized the safety measures I’d taken, but surely someone could have asked around for clarification before pondering calling the police, which was where the discussion had ended up by the time I ducked back out, coffee in hand. Once settled back behind the wheel, I did take a moment to run my window down and wave a cheery good-bye to the scandalized customers still inside.

  37. Warren September 21, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    Doesn’t matter if it’s kids or dogs, busybodies get holierthanthou, all the time.

    My favorite response when asked if it is my car…”Nope. Stole the car and didn’t notice the kids untill it was too late. Can you believe their parents, leaving them in a car like that?” And walk away.
    Confusion works great, when you need to put someone in their place.

  38. april September 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Recently I was playing with my kids at a beautiful, well maintained quiet beach near my house. The little kids and their teenage brother were building a dam with logs and sticks in a small stream. A couple boys, probably around 10 years old, joined them in their building. Soon the mother of one of the boys comes over, sees the trouble the kids were causing (note the sarcasm) and told the boys they needed to come play closer to her. When one of the boys asked why, the mother said “so I can see you”, the boy then says “why do you need to see us?” I almost burst out laughing, especially when she replied that it was because the area they were playing at was “heavily wooded”. Yes, there were trees, and grass, and a sparkling stream, and rocks, but heavily wooded it wasn’t.

  39. Mark Swan September 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    My wife is more hesitantly free range than I am, but I was impressed when she sent our 7yo in to buy milk. We didn’t have any run ins with busy bodies do maybe thats the answer.

  40. Maree September 21, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    I live in Australia, and it is illegal to leave children in the car for any amount o time, which is incredibly hard sometime, especially when you want to just run in to pay for your petrol (gas).
    If you are either found by police or reported to them yo can face jail time. I understand leaving kids in hot cars is not ideal, but leaving my sleeping child with all the windows down in the shade while I duck in to pay for something, pick up something or drop a letter in to a post box is crazy and incredible difficult. And there isn’t even an age given where we can actually leave them, can’t an 8 year old figure out how to wind a window down, get out, or lock the door (if there is a weird stranger)?

  41. Sonya September 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    I have no problem as long as there is no risk of the kids overheating, in the car – which is was happening a lot in Australia a few summers ago.

    My kids are 5 & 7 and often don’t want to get out of the car!

    I live in a rural area, on the Queensland Border (read hot) and am comfortable leaving them to their own devices for a few minutes (window cracked if need be) … to be honest I would be more concerned leaving them in a car with the engine running & aircon on – as they’d probably try to drive off!!

    Kids are smarter than a lot of adults give them credit for!

  42. Linni September 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    I read your blog all the time, but am totally bemused by the way people are in your part of the world and elsewhere. You see, I live in the UK in a really poor working-class village. Free-range is the norm here, through necessity, and it’s lovely. No one gives it a second thought. You regularly see little kids at the park together, fishing, playing in the stream or playing football. No adults. Just the kids alone. Down in the village I often see two children aged between 6 and 10, riding their bikes next to the main road or having water fights. They obviously know not to cross the road and are trusted enough to stick to that. People leave their toddlers in push-chairs outside shops or in the car. Far from being neglectful, it’s just the easy-going way. Most people around here know each other, and they also look out for each other. Quite a few times I’ve had strangers rescue my toddler from peril before I’ve had chance to get to her.

    In the same vein I’m absolutely a free-range parent. If my daughter is asleep in the car when I get home, I’ll leave her there for a few minutes whilst I go inside and get sorted so I can carry her straight in to nap. As she gets older I’m slowly stepping back at the park and letting her have a bit more space to explore without me standing there ready to catch her. And far from being chastised by strangers, no one flutters an eyelid. It’s just the done thing. I never really how lucky I was to live in such a relaxed atmosphere until I found this blog.

  43. Warren September 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    As stupid the law is, at least it is black and white. In most places the law is worded so as to allow police and children agencies to use their own judgement, which makes it quite difficult.
    To be honest I am not sure what the exact law is here in Ontario, Canada, but fortunately for the most part our provincial police have some common sense.

    I have seen incidents when busybodies have called the police, for the 2 minute run ins. The officers assess, and then usually thank the informant for their concern, but asks them to get their facts in order, before hitting the panic button. Hopefully that will never change..

  44. Donald September 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    I found another idle! I’m a fan of the worlds worst mom AND the worlds worst soccer mom

  45. Earth.W September 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    One of the things I find infuriating is when I leave it to the kids to figure it out or I have just successfully enticed the kids to do something that does consist of some risk, and some other parent(always a woman) comes along and interferes to protect them from harm. You tell them to leave them alone but you just can’t do anything to stop them, short of bashing them to the state of death or unconsciousness.

  46. CrazyCatLady September 21, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    Know your laws. In my state, WA, the only time you can’t leave a kid in the car is when the car is parked in front of a bar.

    If someone starts screaming at me, first I would tell them my daughter is the babysitter, and if they continue (or she isn’t there) I would get out my phone and ask them if they want ME to call the police. Because they are harassing me.

    Recently, locally, a woman left her two kids in the car while she went into Walmart. A guy (who had been drinking) convinced the kids to get out of the car and took them inside. He told the kids he was a fireman, but he wasn’t, just wearing a t-shirt from a fire company 150 miles away. He also told the kids that their mom would be arrested if they didn’t go inside. (Which is why they went.) When the mom found the kids, she called the cops. The guy was arrested. Local comments in the paper agreed with the guy, but I sided with the mom.

  47. mysticeye September 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    *lol* My kids never want to stay in the car, they always want to go in and see what’s going on, even if I’m just picking up a pizza!

    How do you convince kids cars are fun?

  48. Leslie September 21, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    @ Kali E. The almost exact thing happened to me when I went in to pick up pizzas. Our car was parked adjacent to the pizza place– I could see my boys (then nearly 11 and 6) sitting in my car. It was a cool Sept. evening in the northern Midwest– NOT hot at all. The woman screamed at me that my children would DIE of being over-heated. She pulled out her cell phone and threatened to call the authorities. My older son was MORTIFIED that someone would think he’s not smart enough to unbuckle his seatbelt and open the door IF he got hot. They aren’t babies sleeping in a carseat all day.

  49. Carly September 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    OMGosh I just moved back to Australia from California, I had no idea about the laws until reading them on here! I would be screwed…My 18 month old daughter frequently falls asleep in the car as I try to make it home in time for her nap. I leave her in the car for a minute to run into the house to open up the front doors and her bedroom door, and close her curtains to her bedroom so I can walk her straight in and put her right down. I leave my drivers side door open (no keys in car…) so it doesnt get hot while I get the house opened up.

  50. Mary September 22, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    I live in a small farming community and I had mentioned that parents and grandparents have gone a little nuts when it comes to watching them every second. I was put in my place and told children disappear all the time and if I want to take the chance , well then go ahead! Last time a child disappeared from this community was 1942!! Child was found in next county at a friends. He was 8 and WALKED to a friends. Go figure.

  51. linvo September 22, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    Carly, I used to sometimes let my daughter finish her nap in the car on the driveway! Obviously only in the cooler seasons (I’m in Canberra). Sometimes I’d sit on the front step with a cuppa, sometimes I’d potter around in the kitchen and just check the window regularly.

    I understand the risk of overheating cars in summer and in warmer regions, but I remember researching this and in the vast majority of cases of kids dying in cars it was because the parents had completely forgotten they were in there. So this law would not have prevented those deaths.

    And when I left my small child in the car for a few minutes, I did not ever lock the doors. Somehow I find locking a child in a car more scary than leaving them there with the doors unlocked. In warm weather we always have all the windows open too.

  52. hineata September 22, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    These busybodies point to why tinted windows are just brilliant, and curtains too. I regularly left my kids in the car alone, because it’s a darn nuisance(and occasionally dangerous) dragging four or five preschoolers and just-turned-fives (mine plus extras) around a shop or into a petrol station. So I’d just make sure I had them in the back, if I knew I would have to stop somewhere. That said, NZ is a bit more relaxed anyway, unless you’re leaving them outside the pub, which almost never seems to happen anymore…

    @Donna, hilarious but true. I think we all need to follow the Samoans, and have oodles more kids. That way, society would need to relax. :-).

  53. Beth September 22, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    We mention a lot on this site how, back in the day, neighbors and citizens “looked out for each other”, in a good way. The concept of a village raising a child was in full force and a positive aspect of community.

    Today, looking out for each other is almost a negative. It means, as stated above and in many other articles, people screaming at us that our children will die or be kidnapped. It means whipping out a cell phone and threatening to call the police, or actually doing it. It means interfering with a perfectly safe child walking, playing, or climbing with their parent’s permission. It means accosting kids in their own yards to tell them that their parents, basically, suck.

    This is so discouraging.

  54. Jenny Islander September 22, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    Left alone together at the park with an ENTIRE PIZZA? Mom, you ROCK.

  55. Sara September 22, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    This reminds me of an incident when my daughter was an infant. We were visiting my grandmother and had taken her to lunch and to run errands. We all drove together in my family’s minivan. The rear and side windows of the van were tinted. My parents, husband and grandmother had gone into a pharmacy and I chose to wait in the car ( I was seated all the way in the back) and my daughter was asleep in her car seat which was in the middle row. They left the car running. What really cracked me up were the concerned citizens who had noticed the running car with the child in the car seat. Well, I guess they either couldn’t see me or didn’t notice. A small crowd of about 3 or 4 people gathered all pointing at the car and talking. One lady actually tried to peer into the car through the tinted windows. When she got really close to the window to look in, I banged it with my open palm. She jumped back, startled. That’s when the group noticed I was in the car and dispersed. There is a lot of media attention given to incidents of infants being “forgotten” or just flat left in cars to die of suffocation do to the heat. I don’t know the statistics but I can’t decide if I was more annoyed by the nosy crowd or appreciative that they didn’t want a child to suffocate…granted the car was running and it was not a hot day.

  56. Jen Connelly September 22, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    In my area of Washington State (Vancouver) people leave their kids in the car all the time. I was nervous about it at first until I looked up the law (the one mentioned above about not leaving them parked outside a bar). I think the first time we left them was so I could run into Grocery Outlet and my husband could go into Walgreens. Both in the same shopping center and we were parked right between them in a spot next to the sidewalk (as opposed to back in the parking lot). They were 10, 8, 7, 4 and 2 months. The oldest kind of freaked out at first when she realized they weren’t coming in. I told her it was silly to get the baby seat out and drag them all in just for the 5 or so minutes it would take for each of us to run errands. She was like: what if someone tries to steal the car. I looked at her, laughed and said, “it’s a truck full of little kids, who in their right mind would want to steal that.” She thought about it for a second then laughed and said I was right. We left all 4 windows down all the way (it wasn’t super hot but it was still warm).

    Now, when all the kids are in the car we rarely take them in to the supermarket. They are 12, 11, almost 10, 6 and 2 now. Unless it’s cold out we leave the windows down and they almost always climb out to the bed of the truck. Nobody looks twice at them. I’ve never had anyone scream at me about leaving them. I’ve never had anyone say anything to me about it. I’ve even told people that they were out there and the cashiers laugh and say that it was a good plan to leave them instead of dragging them in.

    So far since we moved here in 2010 I’ve had just one concerned person come up to me and that was a neighbor, one I had never met before. This summer she knocked on my door and asked if the little blond girl was mine. I told her she was and she got all worried because Nora (6) had left to go to the park. ALONE! I told her that I knew and Nora had permission to walk to and from the park alone whenever she wanted, she just can’t stay there if there are no other kids. I knew there were kids there because my son was there with his friends. The park is down our street (which is a loop–starts and ends at the same spot), across the intersection and down a patch between two houses. It leads right to the park. She kind of looked at me funny because I wasn’t concerned in the least. She eventually left but looked really nervous. I just shrugged and went back inside.

  57. Taradlion September 22, 2012 at 2:13 am #

    When my brother was maybe 8 my dad left him in the car to run in to a convenience store. My brother got shifted the car into reverse and it started rolling backwards. A man walking by jumped in the car and shifted it into park, told my brother not to do it again, and … Walked away! My dad came out to see it. No lecture. This is back when people would jump in to help, not to criticize. We were left in the car for quick errands all the time.

    I know this story could be used by those who say it is too dangerous to leave kids in the car, but I mean it to point out how differently people respond.

  58. ShadowL September 22, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    With kids ages 8 and 13 the moms comment was more appropriate than the guys!
    I have left my kids in the car many times to come back to see it rocking back and forth and hearing shouting as they are playing “punch buggy” or something (they are boys, what do you expect). I WOULD be more worried about them trying to start the car or something IF I had not taught them over the years about being safe in a car and NOT touching things they shouldn’t be (OMG I PARENTED my kids?!)
    BRAVO to this woman who lets her gut make her parenting decisions and for giving her the intestinal fortitude to stand up to people who think otherwise!

  59. maggie September 22, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    A few weeks ago I had to stop at a liquor store to but a bottle of vodka for my homemade vanilla. So….I left my 4 year old in the car when I went it. I couldn’t decide which was the lesser of two evils, leaving him in a car outside the liquor store, or bringing him in with me.

  60. C.J. September 22, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    I leave my 7 and 10 year olds in the car if I am running in somewhere and they don’t want to come. Weather permitting. We live in a small town of 3000 people in Ontario. All the stores in town are right accross the street from the police station. I have never had anyone make any comments about it. It’s such a small town that everyone knows everyone and nobody thinks it’s a big deal. My kids aren’t the only kids I’ve seen waiting in the car. I lock them in even though it really isn’t neccessary. Maybe at 2 it might not be a good idea depending on the kid. My mother ran in the house to grab something she forgot when my brother was 2 and he put the truck in neutral. It rolled right out of the driveway. Scared him so much he never did it again.Luckily there were no cars parked in his way or traffic. I just don’t see what the big deal is at 8 and 13.

  61. gap.runner September 22, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    Before my son was born, I used to run the recycling program on the base where I was before my current one. On the base there was a large, drive-in recycling center. You could literally drive up to the various bins, get out of the car, walk a few steps, and toss in your recyclables. One day I got a call from a woman who was the mother of a 2-month old baby. She was concerned about leaving her baby in the car (strapped in his car seat) to toss her recyclables into the bins. At the time the law on base was that kids under 9 couldn’t be left unattended in a car. My response to her was that she was only a couple of meters away from her car and easily within reach of her baby if he started to cry or fuss. At two months he was also not physically able to get out of his car seat and run away. The military police were not going to give her a ticket for an unattended child when she could see her baby at all times while doing the recycling.

    In the meantime I was thinking, “If that baby at age 2 months has the motor coordination to get out of his car seat and wander off, he’s going to grow up to be a brain or heart surgeon.”

    My son and I had a running joke when I would leave him in the car while on base to go into the mail room or Commissary when he was under 9. Sometimes we still say it for fun. I tell him, “If anyone tries to kidnap you, tell him to pick a different kid because he won’t be able to afford to feed you.”

  62. Janet September 22, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    @Maree, not sure which state you’re in but it is not illegal in NSW. I keep the particular NSW law bookmarked on my phone, just in case I end up suffering a case of “busybodyitis”.

    I’m sure if you search for the relevant law in your state, you will find it is similar to the CA law, where the child must be “at risk of harm” for it to become an offence.

    The NSW states: “A person who leaves any child or young person in the person’s care in a motor vehicle without proper supervision for such period or in such circumstances that:

    (a) the child or young person becomes or is likely to become emotionally distressed, or
    (b) the child’s or young person’s health becomes or is likely to become permanently or temporarily impaired,
    is guilty of an offence.”

    I will leave my 7yo and 5yo in the car on a rainy day, while I spend 5 minutes collecting my 3yo twins from preschool. I will leave my 3yo twins in the car on a cool winter’s day while running in to school to drop off a forgotten lunch or library book. I will not leave any of them in the car on a hot day, ever. Because THAT would be illegal.

  63. Amy C September 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    I have 4 children and on one of my mom message boards I actually had someone suggest I had too many kids if it was too much trouble to unload all of them to drag them into the gas station to pay for gas. I pointed out that it was probably more likely that one of them would run off or get hit by a car in a parking lot than anything happening in the minute I went to pay for gas. Later there was another discussion with the same woman and a couple of others that was far worse and made me leave the board for a while. I eventually went back because there are some really wonderful ladies there but I’m very careful about what I post publicly.

  64. LRH September 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    The problem here, which perhaps has been mentioned & I failed to notice, is that extreme & negligent examples of leaving your kids in the car taint people’s thinking to where normal examples of it get mixed-in with the negligent, and now all of a sudden in people’s minds it’s all the same, when it isn’t.

    There is a difference between leaving kids LOCKED up in a car for 2 hours on a 95’F day with the windows up, parked NOT in the shade, and the air conditioner not on, all while you’re shopping–versus leaving a sleeping infant in a warm car on a cold 45’F windy day while you pay for gas or pick up your mail from the post office, versus waking them up, dragging them out into the windy cold, risking them being hit by a car, with your arms tangled up holding them preventing you from being able to easily reach for your wallet, carry a package (if you’re picking up or buying anything).

    Then, of course, you have the self-righteous twits who like to grumble “well if you didn’t want the responsibility you shouldn’t have had them,” to which I reply “well thankfully it’s not up to you, now is it?” Since when does being a parent mean that factoring your personal convenience into a situation isn’t allowed & basically makes you a monster?

    And by the way, no, I don’t typically purse my lips to keep them from becoming angry and calling the department–heck, I once told a CPS worker herself that she needed to “crawl back into whatever hole you crawled out of.” I kid you not, I actually said that.

    With the jerks we have out there, you HAVE to stand your ground, just like the woman suing the police department, the policeman himself AND the neighbor who phoned in to the department just because she let her 6 & 9 year-olds play in the street article video clip. Too many people roll over & dumb down their free-range parenting (or discipline too sometimes) on account on not wanting to upset someone whom they think may call, I prefer (although I’m not always like that 100% of the time myself) to instead be bold and throw all of your might against the tidal wave in an effort to throw the insanity back into the ocean where it should stay.

    Thus, when my kids were younger, I did in fact leave them in the car when it was more convenient & frankly a more sensible decision. There were times I went to the PO box to pick up the mail, it was cold and windy, and my 1½ year-old son was fast asleep taking his nap. It hardly made sense to wake him up, upset him doing so, expose him to the cold, expose him to cars while carrying him, have to deal with carrying him AND the mail (often-times a large package) trying not to drop either–when all the while he could’ve been resting comfortably getting his nap enclosed in the warmth of the vehicle (I dind’t leave it running, but during those 1-2 minutes it’s hardly going to get anywhere near as cold as the outdoors). I knew if people saw they didn’t approve–oh well, let them be that way I said. It didn’t stop me.


  65. marilyn pescatore September 23, 2012 at 5:08 am #

    I live in NY and i am not a young mom, i am 46 now and things were alot different when i was a kid and it should be like that now, but unfortunately it is not.

    i think it comes down to common sense. I would not let my 6 year old fend for herself to navigate to where i parked my car with the car keys for a water bottle that i should have not forgotten…to me that is just plain lazy. and i would be more worried they would drop the keys down the sewer, which with my luck would happen, or they would lock the keys inside forgetting to take them with them.

    but there have been recent times l left my then 7, 11 and 13 (all or some of them) in the car to grab something fast. but i would not start chatting with people i run into for “a while” because then that is an open invitation to lose track of time. if nothing else, it gives the perception of ill regard.

    if i needed to run errands and i didnt want to have to take them when they were younger, i did them while they are in school or i did them when my husband is home to watch them.

    i let my kids play in the front when they were small – i was out there with them, playing with them or reading or on the phone near them. when they got a bit older, i would say 9 and 7, I felt comfortable to let them stay in the front alone while i kept checking at the door or window. if my then 3 year old wanted to go too, i would sit on the stoop and watch . ( i live in brooklyn, we have stoops here) . not because i was afraid of them being taken, but of cars that frequently make U turns in driveways or are going in and out of driveways on my block and may not see a kid scooting by on a bike before they back out.. i have heard so many horrible stories of people (usually in the suburbs) backing out and running over their own kids. my greatest fear when they are outside. drivers here arent very cautious and i live on an avenue, not a main avenue but one where there arent any lights for a big stretch so cars tend to speed to make time.

    i think it all comes down to your gut instincts. the law is not what is important – it is what your conscience tells you. that little birdie on your shoulder. i would not do an entire shop even if it is supposed to be a small shop with them in the car watiing . we all know wallmart is never a short shop. i would feel to badly that i left them, has nothing to do with the law. besides which, they need to see how you shop, see how you interact, help you find what you need. i would rather them shop with me than leave them. it also teaches them how to behave in stores – that sometimes you go shopping for things that have nothing to do with them,.

    of course if i am going to pay for gas, i leave them in the car while i run in, doors are locked. no one need to take the kids out to walk 5 feet to pay and return.

    true that i don’t have to worry about excruciating heat for the most part here, but i see the concern. too many horrendous stories of parents that forget and then have to live with the “if only i’d…”

    if when they were younger and fell asleep in the car, yes i left them in the driveway and waited till they woke up but i kept a close eye not because i was afraid someone would take them, but because i didnt want them to wake up and i wasnt there. or if i came home very late and they were asleep, i first opened the door and then one by one took each of them in, no biggie

    again, common sense. and good judgement.

    because you can look up all the laws and/or statistics you want and how there are no abductions….its not only that that can happen. i would be more afraid of them getting out when they are too young to be “roaming around in parking lot not knowing where i am” and then feeling “lost”
    i remember getting lost in stores as a kid and it seemed like an eternity when it probably wasnt but if i can still remember it, i must have felt panicked and lost.

    like i tell my kids all the time, i’d rather you cry for the moment than me cry for a lifetime.

  66. AztecQueen2000 September 23, 2012 at 5:10 am #

    When my kids were babies, my DH would sometimes take them with him to run errands. If they fell asleep in the car, he left them. This worried me, because…I was afraid some meter maid would see them and call ACS!

  67. Bridget September 23, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    22-years ago I took my 4-year old and the dog with me to the store. I needed to go to the ATM. The machine was outside and the store has parking spots reserved for the ATM and the pharmacy right in the front. I locked the car and was on my way to the ATM when a woman came running at me. She did not scream, but she was clearly freaking out. She said you are not leaving that child in that car. It was not a question, it was a demand. I looked at her like she was insane….which is what I felt. I told her to back off and kept walking. She stepped in from of me and blocked me and said again that I was not leaving my child in the car. I said look lady, I am going to the ATM….I can see the car at all times, the car is locked, and that dog who is growling at YOU will not let anyone near the car.

    She said if you leave her in the car I am calling 911 right now. I was so pissed. I was not sure what the cops would do. I grabbed my daughter and told the lady she was a beech and started off the the ATM. The lady followed me keeping up a constant stream of how I should say thank you that she saved my daughter from being kidnapped and that I should work harder to be a better parent. I finally turned and said, if you do not back off now I’m going to call 911 to come and pick you up from the sidewalk.

    I’m not really proud of how I handled the situation. I was pretty young. I lost my temper. When I look back I really wish I had just ignored her and gone to the ATM.

  68. Holly September 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Here in Connecticut in the USA I would have been arrested for leaving my kids unattended..
    They are now 23,21,18 and 14 and I can safely leave them to their own devises with out worry of imprisonment.
    However when they were younger I did encourage them to walk to the park ( 8 houses down from my mothers) and play out of doors. At 13 or so my older 2 were walking 10 or more miles a day around town (with out me)
    Having someone try to abduct my kid sister when I was 21 did leave me a bit over protective of my kids, but I still allowed them to walk to the park where the man tried to take my sister. I just told them they had to be in groups. They could not go alone as in just one child.

  69. mollie September 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Sometimes my husband leaves ME in the car to go in and pay for the gas, run in and get something at the store, etc.

    I’d love to see the stats on how many cars with unaccompanied grown women have been hijacked. I think quite a few. Far more than those with kids in them and no adults.

    And yet… sometimes, as a 43-year-old woman, I STAY IN THE CAR ALONE.

    *rueful laughter*

  70. Warren September 24, 2012 at 3:47 am #

    How dare you leave a dog inside a car like that? LOL, just kidding.

    I would have told the lady to go ahead and try to get in the car. Just do so at your own risk.

    This is why I love car alarms, whenever I see someone checking out my kids, dogs or all five combined, I usually set the alarm off. Works everytime.

  71. Elizabeth September 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    I had a very similar situation at the bank while I was pregnant out to THERE with number four, and just couldn’t deal with hauling the other three inside (and then having to resettle and buckle them all) for the ten minutes I would be inside. Only I didn’t get called “ballsy”, which at least could be taken as a compliment. I was told I’m an idiot, by a man who was completely incredulous that I would leave my children in the car 20 FEET FROM THE PLATE GLASS WINDOWS!

  72. linvo September 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    “I would not let my 6 year old fend for herself to navigate to where i parked my car with the car keys for a water bottle that i should have not forgotten…to me that is just plain lazy. and i would be more worried they would drop the keys down the sewer, which with my luck would happen, or they would lock the keys inside forgetting to take them with them.”

    That comment really bothered me. Why is it lazy to expect your child go get HER water bottle? Why was it not said child’s responsibility to remember to bring HER water bottle in the first place?

    What is wrong with thinking of your own convenience anyway? It’s all kids seem to do if you let them!

    I get my 7yo to make me cups of coffee because heaven knows I do enough for her already and it’s about time she starts doing something to earn her keep. And I usually (but not always) refuse to do things for her that she can just as well do for herself. Like remember to bring her own water bottle from the car or go get it. I refuse to let her treat me like her servant! I really have more important things to do. Like teaching her independence.

  73. Nancie September 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    The problem is with laws on leaving kids in the car, isn’t necessarily an abduction problem, but an overheating problem. A few dumb parents have left their infants unattended in the middle of summer while extensive shopping, partying, gambling, etc, etc, and they died from the heat.

    So some states, (and some countries) have made it illegal to leave your kids in the car, regardless if it’s 30°F out or if you aren’t away long enough for the air conditioned car to warm up.

  74. EricS September 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    What is it with these “know it all”, “nosey”, “holier than thou” people? Is there something bad happening to the kids? No? Then mind your own business. Personally, I would have confronted the man and said, “Why the sudden interest in my kids? Why are you eying them so? Are you planning on abducting them as soon as my back is turned?” I’d throw his own fears back at him, and make him see how ridiculous it is when HE’S put in the hot seat, for the very thing he was trying to make a point of. I really do enjoy having those conversations with people. lol

  75. Sarah September 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Her kids are 13 and 8? My Grandma got her drivers license @13. And a work permit.

  76. Warren September 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm #


    Can we get flip I.D’s made up for us parents. So that when we are confronted by these welling meaning, yet overly intrusive people, we can just show them.

    Kinda like a federal law enforcement ID. Free Range Parenting…on one half. Back the Hell Off! on the other half.

  77. linvo September 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    @Nancie: in the vast majority of cases of infants or toddlers dying from heat exhaustion, the parents had not left them knowingly, but had simply forgotten they were there in the car. Most parents know about the dangers of overheating. And really, if they don’t know, they are most likely not going to know about this law about leaving kids in cars either.

    This law seems to suggest there are scores of parents out there who are willing to knowingly endanger their kids’ lives to go shopping. I don’t believe this is the case and that a targeted education campaign would be way more effective than yet another punitive law.

  78. TressaRay September 24, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    I decided to check on my own state’s laws about leaving your kids in the car. According to the Utah Dmv website, “It’s a misdemeanor to knowingly leave any child under nine years old unattended inside a vehicle. If you see a child you believe to be endangered, call 911 and stay with the car.”

    Maybe it’s time for a little civil disobedience?

  79. Donna September 25, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    @linvo – I don’t see how a targeted education campaign helps either. The number of infants who have perished in cars due to overheating and were intentionally left in the car is extremely small.

    Most infants who die in cars do so because they were forgotten. Most of the time it is a result of a change in routine. Mom, who always takes baby to daycare, is sick and dad does it and spaces out. Humans are very much creatures of habit. It is hard for us to adjust to changes in things we do every day – like drive to work.

    And for those who can’t imagine it happening — I have a good friend who is extremely organized – pretty anal actually – but who rarely takes her child to school. Her husband almost always does it because, although she drives past the school everyday on her way to work, her work schedule doesn’t match drop off times. One day hubby has to go to a meeting so she takes the boy. Gets well past school before boy says “hey, you missed my school.” She has no doubt that she would have made it all the way to work without remembering him if he hadn’t spoken. Luckily, this was an awake 5 year old and not a sleeping infant. Once she got on the path to work, her brain just zoned out expecting it to be every other drive to work.

  80. Amber September 25, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    I do data collection for a child safety organization dedicated to preventing children from being injured or killed when unattended in/around vehicles. After 7 yrs doing this, I have read horrifying cases of kids seriously injured/ killed from being left in or around a vehicle for less than 5 minutes. Please don’t be someone who says, “this could never happen to me.” I completely understand the inconvenience of loading/unloading/reloading, it is exhausting!!! BUT…we must NEVER forget we simply must put our child’s safety above our own convenience.
    Here are a few examples of “less than 5 min cases” I’ve personally seen: tons of vehicles stolen with kids inside (Yes! This happens even in the safest neighborhoods) , power window strangulation or amputation (thousands of kids injured or killed by power windows), abductions are rare but DO happen, child gets out of vehicle and struck by another car, child falls out of vehicle, choking on something in vehicle, starting a vehicle fire, seatbelt strangulation, and too often kids knock vehicles into gear! (keys dont have to be in ignition for this or power windows to engage, FYI) AND… believe it or not, children of all ages have been known to “take the car for a spin” – even the most well behaved angels…
    One car theft case that I will never forget: A mother ran in to pay for her gas in a VERY nice, safe neighborhood. The car was in her view the whole time she was in the store. A thief jumped in her car, so she ran out to the car to try & grab her baby from his car seat. The thief took off as she was pulling the boy out. He became tangled in the strap and was dragged to his death right in front of his mother’s eyes. There are countless cases just like this one that would make any care giver cringe at the thought of leaving a little one alone to run in somewhere.
    Our hope is that every parent is educated about these terrifying incidents that happen everyday in all types of communities. These are NOT risks you want to take.
    Learn more about the many dangers of leaving children alone in vehicles at http://www.KidsAndCars.org. They even recently started a chapter in Canada!

  81. Warren September 26, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    I understand that collecting all this data, can be heartbreaking.
    I took your link and viewed some of the stories, from the site.
    Unfortunately children were killed. But like many of these groups, they are looking for the gov’t and manufacturers to solve the problems. Please tell me why it is their responsibility to protect our children? I thought that was my job, and I have between all my kids, over 40 years of keeping them safe.
    For those people that “forgot” their child in a hot car, I am sorry they lost their child. But the blame falls squarely on the parents. And as terrible as it is to lose a child, the adult responsible should be in prison. My line of work calls for extreme on call hours, and I have been known to be going 48 hours straight with no sleep. I am still well aware of where my kids are and what they are doing. Being tired, zoned out, change of habits are all excuses. Sorry, just my opinion.
    One story of how a kid ran behind a moving vehicle. A backup camera would not have done anything for that child, and yet they use it to try and mandate them. Backup cameras are a double edged sword. Yes an enhanced view of the area behind a car, but while backing up using them, drivers become oblivious to the front and sides of their vehicles.
    Though there may be some true accidents, most of them are caused by drivers. Caused by poor driving habits, laziness, poor eyesight gone untreated, poor training and a lack of awareness of their surroundings. Example, the one that ran behind the vehicle. The driver should have been more aware of all persons around their vehicle, and the moment they lost track of one, on the brakes, untill all were accountable in mirrors or windows. Pure and simple, poor habits. The driver was more concerned with waving goodbye to people than watching those people. Driver fault.
    Now your group wants the gov’t to make laws that will affect those who do not need them, and the manufacturers to put cameras in our cars, at our expense, when we do not need or want them.
    Stop making me, the gov’t and manufacturers responsible for those who cannot be responsible for themselves.

  82. linvo September 26, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    @Donna, I know. It was more a “if you really feel you must do something, an education campaign would fit the requirements better than punitive legislation”.

  83. Sarah September 26, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    Those stories are horrifying, and a good reminder to me to keep my baby closer (a real baby, not an 8yr old). The author of this story is not writing about young children, she specifically states that her children are 8 and 13. Throughout most of history these children would have been considered nearly autonomous. As I mentioned earlier, my grandmother had a drivers license at 13. And a work permit. My great grandmother rode a horse 12 miles round trip through the Oregon backcounty to school at 9 years old, armed with a riffle because there was a real predator threat- bears. This was all less than a hundred years ago. Now an 8 and 13 year old cannot wait in a car? Should it be expected that we completely remove all risks from the lives of children?

  84. Kim September 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    My kids school reminded us at parent orientation that “leaving children in the car alone is unlawful”. I left my kids in the car for a parent teacher conference after school (they were happily watching a movie) and my oldest’s teacher freaked out. She wanted to go outside and be near the car. The parking lot (which holds 12 cars total) was completely visible from her room. I compromised and we sat at the window seat inside. So silly. I leave them in the car when I run inside stores quite often and they are always fine.

    My friends and I were just talking about how we would be left in the car all the time while our moms grocery shopped. My favorite thing to do (and my mom’s least favorite) was to turn on the radio full blast, turn on the lights, and turn on the windshield wipers and wait for my mom to come back out to the car and start it up. Scared the bejeezus out of her every time. I think she started taking me in the stores after a few times, lol.

  85. Warren September 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    My kids are left in the Sante Fe and my work truck all the time. When I have a bunch of stops to do, they do not feel like getting in and out and playing follow the leader. They would rather be in the vehicle with the dogs.

    Funny thing is, they are both company vehicles with our cell numbers displayed on both sides, and yet no one has ever called to complain.

  86. Nicole September 28, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    “Illinois law that went into effect Tuesday, parents who leave their children unattended and out of their view can face child endangerment charges that carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

    The law applies to children age 6 and under who are left inside a car for 10 minutes or more–whether the vehicle is running or not–without someone at least 14 being with them or within eyesight.”

    Makes me even more glad I now have a 14 year old 🙂 And that all my kids are over the age of 6

  87. Gena October 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    One time my mom and a friend of hers wanted to go to the show, during the day and I had to sit in the car by myself for the longest 2 hours of my life. Early 80s, can’t remember why I didn’t get to go in but I lived and I’m not scared for life, I don’t think anyway.(lol)