Julie Gunlock: “Let Parents Decide If They Want their Kids to Wait in the Car”


Wow. I’m so impressed by Julie Gunlock standing her, well, guns, when talk show hosts try to suggest she might have done something wrong letting rbattefbyn
her three sons (9,7 and 5) wait in the car
while she got a rotisserie chicken. Poise, compassion and common sense are going to win this! – L

P.S. Here is the list of state laws about waiting in the car that Julie refers to.



Julie Gunlock: One cool cucumber!

Julie Gunlock: One cool cucumber!


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33 Responses to Julie Gunlock: “Let Parents Decide If They Want their Kids to Wait in the Car”

  1. bob magee May 16, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    very good representative for the common sense parent movement. Ms Gunlock made a decision for her children based on their personalities and the surrounding area.

    In other words, she parented.

    Liked that she did not denigrate other parenting styles. Parenting is hardly one size fits all.

  2. Beanie May 16, 2016 at 10:33 am #

    Great interview! Yay for parents making decisions based on their knowledge of their own kids!

  3. Theresa May 16, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    Mr.I’m the FBI should be taking care of real crime not kids old enough to manage without parents watching them all the time. Mom should not have say sorry just because of a worrywart busybody.

  4. Linda May 16, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    This is a great interview! Julie did an outstanding job. And I like the way the moderators brought up the critics’ arguments without taking sides. It appears the pendulum is slowly swinging back. (compared to similar interviews with Lenore when this all started)

  5. Dee May 16, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    She rocked it!

  6. Tatsu May 16, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    Is it worth trying to correct the wrong website address she gives out (she says ~.org)?

  7. John May 16, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

    I watched this video on a computer with a slow server so I had to watch it in bits and pieces until it would catch-up but from what I saw, Julie did a splendid job of explaining herself and I also thought the talk show hosts were very fair to her. Of course they didn’t lob her softball questions as they would not have been doing their job if they did BUT neither did they inquisition or ambush her on the parental decision she made to allow her kids to wait behind in the car. The fact that she articulated herself very well in answering their questions also helped matters very much for her.

    She mentioned that Legislatures need to back off in pushing these type of laws but all these laws are is a typical American over reaction to toddlers or young children who were forgotten while they were sleeping in the backseat. These 0 tolerance laws prohibiting children from waiting unattended in a parked vehicle will not prevent anybody from FORGETTING their sleeping young children in the car. The prevention, I believe, lies with technology where the car can somehow alert the driver of a sleeping person in the backseat after the car is immediately shut off. Now if it’s a conscious person deliberately remaining behind in the backseat, the driver would have the option of turning off the alert but only after it’s activated.

  8. Jane Howard May 16, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    Poised, calm, assertive and unwilling to let the turkeys get her down. I like it.

  9. Vicky May 16, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    Don’t have to slap me in the face. I know when I’m not welcome.

  10. Alex T May 16, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

    “What if the grocery store got robbed?”


  11. SKL May 16, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    Nice job. 🙂

  12. Avin Squires May 16, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

    Awesome interview! She was amazing and spoke the truth.. As competent parents we know what our kids are capable of doing and we should be the ones who decide what situations are safe for them.

  13. Avin Squires May 16, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

    Also, nice plug for the site Julie Gunlock! 🙂

  14. BL May 16, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

    @Alex T
    ““What if the grocery store got robbed?””

    Indeed. And what if an asteroid hit the earth, knocked it out of its orbit and into the sun?

    She’d sure be sorry then.

  15. intlreader May 17, 2016 at 5:03 am #

    off-topic but could not find mention on the blog. Congrats to FRK and Lenore S for ample quotes on a feature (front cover of the magazine section of the Sunday edition) on Le Monde (respected french daily) . http://www.lemonde.fr/m-perso/article/2016/05/13/et-si-on-lachait-la-bride-a-nos-enfants_4919151_4497916.html
    (Title translation “and if we let our kids have a free rein).

    Nice pics too.

  16. Vicki Bradley May 17, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    I was thinking about the problem of parents accidentally leaving their children in a car (I believe it happened last week in the US), and I wondered if the solution to this problem is to disable the airbag on the front seat passenger side and put the child in the front seat. That way parents can never forget that they have a child with them in the car. I guess it would be inconvenient if there are two adults travelling in the car but if, for the most part, it’s usually one parent dropping off the child somewhere during the week, this might work.

    In terms of consciously leaving older children in a car for a quick errand, that decision should be 100% up to the parent, who knows his/her child better than anyone, especially some random stranger passing by. I think that we can all agree on.

  17. pentamom May 17, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    The store could get robbed?

    So then your kids would be safely in the car, while the store was being robbed. The problem is?????

  18. Anna May 17, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    “I was thinking about the problem of parents accidentally leaving their children in a car (I believe it happened last week in the US), and I wondered if the solution to this problem is to disable the airbag on the front seat passenger side and put the child in the front seat. That way parents can never forget that they have a child with them in the car.”

    As a matter of fact, hot car death became common right when infant seats were turned to be backward-facing and put in the back seat (because of airbags). Before that (early 90s) it was extremely rare.

  19. Vicki Bradley May 17, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    Anna, that’s what I thought. I realize it’s not a common occurrence for a child to be forgotten in the car and to die in this manner but there has to be a way to prevent this from ever happening. It breaks my heart every time I hear of a baby dying in such a horrible way. Any inventors out there who can design such a car seat?

  20. Anna May 17, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    “Any inventors out there who can design such a car seat?”

    I think the problem is one of regulation, not invention. Current rules allow airbag deactivation in only a very small number of circumstances (e.g., unusual medical conditions that require the child to be within reach of the parent, extremely short drivers).

    Apart from safety issues, I think it’s too bad kids can’t sit up front anymore for social reasons. As a kid, I would certainly have hated being stuck in the back alone instead of being able to see the road ahead and chat with my mom if we were out together. My son hated being in the car as an infant – until the day we were allowed to turn him forward-facing, when the crying magically stopped. The current way of transporting young children treats them more like inert, passive baggage than as thinking, breathing people.

  21. Donna May 17, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    “there has to be a way to prevent this from ever happening”

    There will never be a way to prevent this from EVER happening. There may be ways to lessen the happening, but not to ensure that it will never happen.

    Say we decide today that all cars must have a switch that allows the airbags to be disabled so that infants can be put in the front seat, that does nothing for the millions (billions?) of children whose parents own perfectly functional cars built before today.

    Also, car wrecks are much more common than forgetting a child in the car. Does altering the placement of the child and disabling the airbags make people less safe in the much more common scenario of a car wreck to protect against a much smaller possibility of forgetting a child in the car? My guess is that the answer to that is a definite yes. Disabling the airbags clearly makes adults who sit in the front seat less safe. Relying on brains that can’t even always remember that they have children in the car to remember to properly turn switches is probably not the best idea. Things not being perfect either, you are always going to have the occasional malfunctioning switch that enables the airbags when not wanted and/or disables when wanted. And I don’t think that the only reason that it is recommended that children sit in the backseat is because of airbags; there are other safety protections to being in the backseat that the child would lose.

  22. Warren May 17, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    So you want auto makers to spend more on R&D then add more equipment to their vehicles which will reflect in higher costs to the customers.

    Then you would have to make it law to move the car seat to the front when only one adult is in the vehicle. Resulting in time and hassle for the driver. More ways to fine, and charge parents. Or have some parents stranded because they can’t move the car seat and properly install it themselves. And yes I know people that physically can’t do it.

    All this forced on the vast majority of parents because it might save just one kid?

    I would fight this sort of move. You want your kids to ride up front like all mine did…….buy a pickup.

  23. Bob Cavanaugh May 17, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    Where’s the interview? I’m not sure if my screen reader is missing something, but I don’t see a link or imbedded video.

  24. Steve May 17, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    In Europe the airbags are nowhere near as explosive because of strong laws on seat belts. In the USA the airbags have to be VERY fast because seat belts aren’t anywhere near as widely used.

    Also, I never saw ‘seat belt cutters’ on sale anywhere else in the world, what is it with North America and distrust of seat belts?

  25. Emily May 18, 2016 at 8:27 am #

    @Vicki–I don’t think it’d take a major re-design. For a rear-facing car seat in the back seat, maybe a movable flag could be added, like on mailboxes. Parent puts the child in the car seat, and flips up the flag, as a visual reminder that the child is there. I’m thinking these flags could also be sold separately, and affixed to pre-existing car seats. I know, it plays into the culture of “child as checked baggage,” which I don’t love, but it might come in handy in the case of a child who’s either pre-verbal, asleep, or both, which would cover a lot of kids who are young enough to be in rear-facing car seats. I have to say, though, most kids who get forgotten in cars don’t get forgotten on short errands, but rather, when there’s a change in routine, like, when the parent who doesn’t normally take the child to day care or whatever, has to do it as a one-off because their partner is sick or something, but absent-mindedly drives straight to work instead. Even then, it happens infrequently enough to make the news, but ironically, as soon as one of these infrequent (albeit tragic) occurrences makes the news, everyone goes crazy and acts like it happens all the time. Even if they know rationally that these things don’t happen often, they’ll jump on the “If it saves one child…….” bandwagon. I know that the “correct” ending to that sentence is, “If it saves one child, it’s worth it,” but the “real” ending is, “If it saves one child, it often deprives a lot of other children age-appropriate freedoms, and inconveniences a lot of adults in the process.” But, nobody ever wants to say that out loud, because it implies apathy towards that hypothetical One Child.

  26. Vicki Bradley May 18, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    Emily, I totally get what you’re saying about jumping on the “If it saves one child…” bandwagon, which I wasn’t actually going for. I just know know, from personal experience, how easily this type of incident (a child being inadvertently left in the car). Fortunately, in my case, everything turned out fine. Despite what Warren and Donna think, I didn’t mean to imply that I would want more government interference or some expensive solution to this problem but there has to be a way to prevent infants from being forgotten in the car, even if it is a rare occurrence. In cases where parents are consciously making the decision to leave their children in the car for a short time, which should be totally their prerogative, nothing needs to change.

  27. pentamom May 18, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    Bob Cavanaugh, the first image is the video.

  28. Warren May 18, 2016 at 10:59 am #

    Vicki and Emily

    The only way to prevent it from ever occurring is for humans to never reproduce ever again.

    Humans make mistakes. Always have and always will. Your lives will be much easier once you accept that. If you believe we can make a world where people never make mistakes that lead to death, I suggest you seek professional mental health help immediately.

  29. Vicki Bradley May 18, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    Warren, I don’t know why you so often resort to telling people to get professional help for voicing their concerns about an issue. I usually agree with your comments, even the ones delivered in a “rough-around-the-edges” manner, but I think you need to expand your repertoire of “advice” that you give beyond people needing to seek counselling (especially when you don’t agree with them). Just my two cents worth…

  30. Warren May 18, 2016 at 11:49 am #

    When people insist that the impossible needs to be done such as you are, well enough said.

  31. Vicki Bradley May 18, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    Yeah, that’s what I said.

    Over and out.

  32. Donna May 18, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

    Vicki – There is absolutely no way whatsoever to ensure that all children are never forgotten in cars except to stop reproducing or cease the existence of cars or at least ever putting children in them.

    You are dealing with a situation that is nothing more than an extremely unfortunate result of the amazing proficiency of the human brain. It isn’t intentional. It isn’t even forgetful. It is our brain overdoing something we generally want it to do. The human brain is designed so that we don’t have to think through routine, mundane tasks each and every time that we do them. They simply come naturally because the brain has converted them to autopilot responses. This is a HUGE evolutionary advantage in that our energy can go to other things rather than focusing on routine actions. If we had to actually think through every single act we did every day, we would be too exhausted to do much other than exist. My mother had a stroke last year that hit the executive functioning part of her brain. She essentially lost her autopilot. Until she rebuilt those connections, each day she had to actually think through step-by-step tying her shoes, buttoning her shirt, driving a car, navigating the town she had lived in for more than 30 years. It was absolutely exhausting for her. A woman who worked full time at a physical job while undergoing chemo and radiation suddenly had to take naps every day (despite not being able to work since she couldn’t do her job).

    The vast majority of kids forgotten in cars happen in situations when the adult is going someplace they very routinely go without the child, but now suddenly have the child. A father who never takes his child to daycare on the way to work having to do it one day. Dad heads our the door for work exactly as he does every other day, and his brain says “this isn’t something we have to think about” and shifts into autopilot and things outside the routine don’t get done. The chances of this happening are even greater if daycare is on the way to work.

    Nothing you can think of to change this will work 100% of the time because that thing, whatever it is, is also outside the routine. Say I put my cell phone next to the baby (a common suggestion). Great, now both the baby and the cell phone will remain in the car until I need the phone because there is no reason to believe that a brain that has forgotten that the routine is different today because there is a baby that is never there in the backseat will still forget the baby but somehow remember that the routine is different today because there is a cell phone that is never there in the backseat. Even something that you think would be really evident, like leaving a shoe in the backseat, is not going to work 100% of the time because it isn’t going to be used even close to 100% of the time. Many don’t understand the phenomenon, think it could never happen to them and will not employ any method because only bad parents forget their children (read the comments after any article about one of these incidents for confirmation). Even in those who are open to the idea that they could possibly forget their child, some will forget to do whatever it is because whatever it is is outside the routine.

  33. Shelley Rigger May 26, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

    Wow! Put her on the payroll!