Come for the sunshine, stay for the laws the criminalize rational parenting decisions!

Proposed Florida Law: Leave Kid in the Car for 1 Minute, Go to Jail for 60 Days

The dysieisdan
Tallahassee Democrat reports that a bill filed by Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton would make it illegal to leave a child age 6 or younger in the car for any length of time.

But why? Considering more kids die in parking lots than in parked cars, and that the kids who DO die in parked cars were forgotten there for an average of 4.6 HOURS, not a few minutes, this bill is motivated by a misguided sense of danger.

No one thinks kids should wait in cars for a long time, but that is already against the law in Florida. Making this new law just seems to criminalize convenience, as if convenience = negligence = death.

The proposal (HB 115), filed for consideration during the 2018 legislative session, would be stricter than current law. Adults currently can’t leave children in vehicles for more than 15 minutes or for any period of time if the motor is running, the health of a child is in danger or a child appears to be in distress.

Under Slosberg’s proposal, violations would be punishable by a second-degree misdemeanor charge, which carries a penalty of up to $500 and 60 days jail.

Violating current law is considered a noncriminal traffic infraction that carries a fine between $50 and $500. Felony charges are already in place if a child is harmed.

The word for this kind of bill is overkill. It’s as if, desperate to prove, “I care about kids!”, a representative casts about for a bill that will shout her child-caring virtue. And if that legislation already exists, as it does in Florida, they then have to bump it up, as if to say, “I care MORE!” Which means the next legislator will have to say, “Even kids under 12 should never be left alone in the car!” And the next: “Parents who let their kids wait in the car while they get the dry cleaning should face a year in solitary!” And the next: “No more driving kids in Florida!”

Which, come to think of it…

Anyway, here’s where I plug the amazing study that looked at why we keep criminalizing parents for activities we disapprove of that aren’t statistically dangerous. (It has to do with moral disapproval.)

And just because I received this letter on the same day as this proposed bill, here’s how this obsession with kids waiting nanoseconds in the car plays out in the real world:

Dear Free-Range Kids:

I thought I would share with you what happened to me this morning. I was dropping one of my children off at preschool. The school has a carport right next to the front doors, once inside those front doors is a computer you punch in your kiddo’s code, and off they go. It doesn’t even take 2 minutes. School policy is if you use the carport, do not turn your car off. That is how quick they plan the “dropping kids off” should be.

The last 3 weeks I have parked and carried in my 3-year-old while dropping off my 5-year-old. And it has been nothing short of dramatic. My 3-year-old throws epic — EPIC meltdowns. Kicks me, screams, cries, she wants to go to school too! But she can’t. So anyway this morning I decide to try what I have seen other parents do, pull up, leave the younger kiddo in the car, drop and dash.

Wouldn’t you know it that the ONE day I do this, a older mom is writing my tag number down and told me she is reporting me for neglect!!!

I wasn’t even in there 2 minutes. I followed school policy, heck they suggested I do that because of how disruptive my youngest is. And this no good nosey sanctimommy is writing my tag number down telling me she is reporting me to authorities. 😡

It is impossible to be a parent these days. We have to bubble wrap our kids in false domes of safety, actually causing harm to them because they don’t learn vital skills and no matter what we do we are wrong. My situation, I’m wrong for a tantrum-throwing 3-year-old, and I’m wrong for following suggested school policy. This war against parents has to stop!

Agreed. Let’s start by stopping this bill in Florida.


Come for the sunshine, stay for the laws the criminalize rational parenting decisions!


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34 Responses to Proposed Florida Law: Leave Kid in the Car for 1 Minute, Go to Jail for 60 Days

  1. Beanie September 4, 2017 at 10:12 pm #

    A legislator in my state tried a similar bill a couple years ago–it was no kid under 12 in a car for more than five minutes. His reasoning? Some safety group in California has those rules. No need for us to think about it, if California does it, it must be right!

  2. Abigail September 4, 2017 at 10:14 pm #

    Why even raise the kids we birth? Lois Lowrey was onto something with her dystopian view of the future if we look for guarantees where dynamic life should be.

    And so I ask: where the fuck did free will go? Will our children realize we traded their rights for a false sense of security?

  3. George September 4, 2017 at 11:10 pm #

    California law says that you cannot leave a child under 6 in the car if you are also leaving the key in the ignition.

    So don’t leave the engine running, and take either the key or the child.

  4. Anna September 4, 2017 at 11:33 pm #

    I’m so thankful for the sanity of my son’s preschool – and I didn’t realize at the time how unusual it was. The school director – a lovely and giving person – stood at the door to let all the students and parents in every morning, and those with little babies routinely parked in a lane right by the door. I’m 100% certain, from the way things were done, that if any nosy parker made a complaint, the preschool director would have explained that she was watching the babies left in the cars. And indeed, some parents went so far as to bring the baby-carrier in the front door, and leave it right next to her while they dropped their kids off in their classrooms.

  5. Theresa Hall September 5, 2017 at 9:14 am #

    Why can’t the busybodies focus on people who insist on pushing people buttons instead of people just trying to their best to raise responsible people?

  6. jennifer September 5, 2017 at 9:26 am #

    Do they make any concessions for private property? Like when I take my toddler out, put her in the car in my driveway and then go back in to get my infant (or vice versa?) so that we aren’t all sitting in the freezing cold and/or rain? What if I’ve loaded the car and one of the kids decides that they need to use the bathroom – do we all have to get out? What if I decide that I do? What if I forget something inside once all the kids are in the car? When I had bunches of young kids these scenarios happened nearly every time we left the house – I can’t even imagine putting this law into effect on a practical level.

  7. MonicaP September 5, 2017 at 11:35 am #

    I was raising my kids with a free-range philosophy until recently. I let my 4-1/2-year-old go to the park across the street from our house quite a bit during the summer. She had a wonderful time, and I was delighted by how responsible and independent she became. I spot checked her from the porch a lot to make sure she was still following the rules I established for her being allowed to continue. Now I am under police and Child Welfare investigation for neglect. I don’t want to go into too many details because the investigation is still in its early stages. The charge will almost certainly be substantiated. There was video evidence, I’m told, and apparently my kid was nearly hit by a car. I will likely never see the evidence presented against me, so I don’t know what happened.

    Facts don’t matter when it comes to dealing with Good Samaritans. Free range parents need to understand that the real risks to our kids are the Very Nice People who live around us. We DO need to fear people, just not for the reasons we think. I used to be very community minded. I believed stronger communities kept our kids safe. Now I’m not getting involved. I can’t afford to be visible here if I want to keep my kids.

  8. En Passant September 5, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    Lenore wrote:

    The word for this kind of bill is overkill. It’s as if, desperate to prove, “I care about kids!”, a representative casts about for a bill that will shout her child-caring virtue.

    Virtue signalling – the first resort of the least virtuous.

  9. AmyP September 5, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    On my way to dropping my now four year old off at daycare, I would often stop at the convenience store to pick up a coffee. She always waited in the car. It seemed like a natural thing so it never dawned on me that it would be a crime of some sort. And then I found the state laws via this website and it is indeed a crime to leave a child that young in the car even for brief periods of time. Since ignorance of the law does not excuse you from obeying it, I could have been arrested many times over. It seems like there shouldn’t be ignorance because things that are against the law should be obvious! But now we have to look up every detail because even normal decisions that don’t hurt anybody can make you a criminal. How many loving parents will be put in jail, given the financial burden of a large fine, or be investigated for child abuse simply by being unaware that normal everyday harmless actions are now somehow crimes?

  10. AmyP September 5, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    Edit: I mean to say a crime in my particular state.

  11. David (Dhewco) September 5, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

    I’m surprised hospitals and schools don’t hand out guidebooks whenever a new nanny law is handed down from our perfect parent legislatures.

  12. Lyndsay September 5, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    We have effectively legislated away the rights of parents to use their judgement. There are times when it’s perfectly safe to leave a child in a car and times when it is not. If laws like this become the norm, we no longer have the right to decide on a case by case basis. It reminds me of the discussions we had last year when NJ implemented much stricter car seat laws. Yes, they follow national guidelines based on what is safest, but they don’t give parents much room for judgement. We turned my middle daughter forward facing at 11 months old (with the blessing of our pediatrician) because she was getting carsick every time we put her in the car. While she was safer rear facing, her life was most certainly improved by not vomiting on every single car ride. Three years later, if my youngest had been as sensitive, we no longer had the room to make that informed choice for ourselves. We kept her rear facing until age 2 or faced a steep ticket. Meanwhile, these same rules say that my 3’11, 45 lb third grade can theoretically ride without a booster by virtue of turning 8 in 10 days (she will not be). When did we decide that no one can make their own decisions?

  13. Shawn D. September 5, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    While I think these proposed laws are asinine, that school’s policy to leave your car running while you take a few moments to go inside is asking to have your car stolen — possibly with kid(s) inside. Never leave your car running unattended — it’s a safety risk whether or not your car is stolen or whether or not you have kids inside.

    (NOTE: I’m not talking about remote-starting locked vehicles with no one inside — that’s completely different)

  14. Resident Iconoclast September 5, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    Is it any wonder that the Democrats ended up being a bunch of crooked losers? That they could lose to Trump is proof of that.

    So Slosberg, a Democrat, plainly is advancing the cause of womens’ rights–allegedly a fundamental faith of the Democratic Party–with her legislative garbage. Who does one suppose will be the principal beneficiaries of all of those 60-day sentences? Women, of course. Democrats have become such synthetic Republicans these days that it has given life to the famous George Wallace quote, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference, between the Republican and Democrat parties.”

    It’s probably icing on the cake that Slosberg served in a variety of “Childrens’ defence” outfits. Apparently, protecting children from their mothers.

    It appears to me that Florida is the place where mean, angry New Yorkers go to retire. They have produced a state that fries anyone for just about any crime. It’s probably $1,000 fine and 60 days for spitting on the sidewalk. But Medicare fraud? Why, no, we somehow never have time to deal with that.

    No wonder the voters have decided to stick it up the exhaust of the two political parties, by un-electing hundreds of Democrats nationwide, and feeding cyanide in the form of Trump to the Republicans. Everyone will be cheering when they both go down in flames.

  15. eric s September 5, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

    Note to self…stop visiting Florida. Or any other State with idiots making up these stupid laws. Consequence of action. Not all “good” ideas, are actually good ideas. For some law makers, it’s “good” in their heads. Just like some delusional people think they are “the most awesome person in the world”. Just because they think it, doesn’t make it so.

  16. Reziac September 5, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    ” this bill is motivated by a misguided sense of danger.”

    No, it’s motivated by the fact that all the laws we really needed were passed decades ago, and everything since then, ESPECIALLY crap like this, is legislators justifying their jobs, and incidentally stumping for votes next time around, because “we helped stop child neglect”.

  17. Maggie in VA September 5, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

    I suspect the impetus for this may lie in the sad case of Kathleen Steele, a Florida woman who left her young sons and infant daughter in a car in warm weather. One of the boys killed the infant. The circumstances of her case were unusual and tragic, and I do see how states with frequent temperature extremes could decide to take a hard line on leaving kids in cars. At the same time, though, wrangling multiple toddlers in a parking lot is almost bound to be more dangerous overall than the chance of a parent committing such an act of negligence or poor judgment. I hope that reason will prevail.

  18. Lena September 5, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

    We’re on extended vacation in Germany, and child care is a lot more relaxed and reasonable, e.g.
    – my 12-old rides her bike to the supermarket for small errand
    – my 10-year old rides his bike to soccer practice
    – the public pool has a sign “Children under the age of 7 must be accompanied by an adult”. (I conclude that for kids 7 and up it’s ok to be there without an adult.)

    We also spend a few days in Paris and saw groups of kids that looked liked 8-12 year old walk (run, play, ride scooters) in the city without an adult. American tourists were probably the only ones who noticed.

  19. lollipoplover September 5, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

    The mire laws I see proposed, the more it’s our car culture creeping in on basic parenting decisions.

    I hate these stories.
    There needs to be a hashtag #BADSamaratian for these asshat sanctimommy parents that think involving authorities is helping when instead,they can wait by rhe car if it botherdms them that much.

    My suggestion? Team up with those moms at school doing the same thing, those *bad moms*. Meet at the same time, have one parent walk the bigs in while the other one waits with the littles still in their cars.

    Give hairy eyeballs, stink eyes, and make growling noises at busybodies who come near your cars. Beat the system and call out these parenting assholes that gain satisfaction from feeling superior- they are not your village.

    Parents CAN win if we help each other instead of competing and acting like car police. How hard is it to meet a fellow parent at school and ask if they need a hand?

  20. Donald September 5, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

    This bill is about:
    10% -“I care about the safety of your children”.
    20% – “I’m employed to propose new laws. I have to push this law in order to justify my existence”
    70% – “I’m a politician. I need more votes. How do I get more? I know. I’ll tap into the hysterical people and the busybodies”!

  21. Donald September 5, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

    There are a lot of insecure people and they use many different outlets in order to cope. One outlet is to find any excuse to feel superior and to condemn someone.

  22. Donald September 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm #


    I’m very sorry for your dilemma. Please don’t leave this blog. I understand that you don’t want to be seen. Change your name.

  23. MonicaP September 5, 2017 at 5:27 pm #


    Thanks. I appreciate that. I’ll stick around on this blog. By “here,” I meant my neighborhood. We have to figure out how to be completely invisible. The people who reported us are directly across the street.

  24. Backroads September 5, 2017 at 8:15 pm #

    I want to see the politician who doesn’t care about that kids. “I’m proposing Bill Such n Such because I hate kids.”

  25. David N. Brown September 5, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

    From the facts in the article, I think Fla already has quite reasonable laws: 15 min is about what it takes for a car to heat up, and it’s the kind of time frame where it would be easy to get distracted by other things. Going lower than ten is just trivializing the problem.

  26. lollipoplover September 6, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    think the state of Florida has more important things to worry about (like a Category 5 hurricane in it’s path) than to conduct these parenting time trials 1 minute, 15 minutes…turning neighbors into patrols and getting good parents into legal nightmares. Cellphones and caught on tape *evidence* to help judgmental busybodies to achieve moral superiority. Not neighborly at all.

    Florida- make sure you have water and emergency shelters. Get children out of mobile homes and flood zones. Get that right first as a government before legislating parent races in parking lots to beat the CPS buzzer of 60 minutes to return a shopping cart.
    Parent Frogger.

    Stay safe Florida!

  27. Ericka Courtney September 6, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Why do you think its OK to leave little children in your car without An adult? Lol like where do they do this? I’m not a super mom, but its just as easy to take My child with me than to leave them behind even for two minutes. A lot can happen in two minutes. I never trusted anyone with my children. They are MY responsibility until 18. You guys are being lazy. Just lazy. And if your child throws tantrums and that’s your excuse for not taking them with you, that’s a lame excuse. Why don’t you try addressing that issue by not giving in to the tantrum. Parenting is extremely difficult, but when you put your child first and not complain, that makes it easier. If you don’t know how to raise a child, then don’t have them. Don’t EVER EVER leave your kid unattended in a running or non running car.
    Convenience isn’t always the safest.

  28. Ericka Courtney September 6, 2017 at 11:23 am #

    Lol I’ve seen people take the groceries in first BEFORE their child. Why? That’s a kid out there in the car but you place more value on your groceries. If you’re worried about children running around in the parking lot, Train them. Teach them not to.
    Example? You have three children. A 3 MONTH old and two toddlers. Take the baby out first. Make sure you have a carrier to put the baby across your chest. You know those shoulder strap carriers? I used to dress my baby and put the strap on myself before I left that way when I got to my destination I just slid their little legs through and they werer secure. With the toddlers, take one child out at a time and hold their hands. You have to train children the way you would train your pet. Giving orders like, NO, STOP, BAD DOG, NO TREAT, STAY! And especially when they are small you MUST have a reward system. If you’re worried about your child needing the restroom all the time, allow them to wear pull ups when in public. When they are Good reward them, when they are bad, withhold the treat.
    Worse case scenario, the older child is old enough for school, why can’t they run inside by themselves? What is the problem with the school where you HAVE to walk them inside? You can’t sacrifice the safety of one child and neglect the other because of some stupid rule. There should be an administrator there watching each parent drop off their kid. If this isn’t the case, you’re gonna have to take a few extra steps and actually walk. It won’t be this way forever guys. Kids do actually grow up and walk on their own.

  29. lollipoplover September 6, 2017 at 12:13 pm #

    “Convenience isn’t always the safest.”

    And being sanctimonious doesn’t mean you’re right.

    Please research statistics(many on this website) before calling people names.

    “, whose members oppose children being left in cars, estimates that 45 kids have died this year after being backed over by vehicles in places including driveways and parking lots, and another 23 were killed after cars rolled over them while going forward. Also, 265 child pedestrians were struck and killed by cars in 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”

    More kids are killed WALKING through parking lots.

    So next time you give advise to train children with dog commands or risk being called *lazy* perhaps instead you could put yourself in someone else’s shoes and not lecture them on what is *safest*.

  30. Backroads September 6, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    “” Giving orders like, NO, STOP, BAD DOG, NO TREAT, STAY! And especially when they are small you MUST have a reward system. If you’re worried about your child needing the restroom all the time, allow them to wear pull ups when in public. When they are Good reward them, when they are bad, withhold the treat.””

    MUST have a reward system? I’m not altogether opposed to reward systems, but there’s plenty of evidence that sort of parenting doesn’t work. My kids learn to behave because that’s how the world works, not so I can give them candy.

  31. Andrea Drummond September 6, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

    Don’t these people have anything better to do?

  32. lollipoplover September 6, 2017 at 1:47 pm #


    I think she’s using the Ceasar Milan parenting approach do a bully stick or a meaty bone would be the reward. Or milkbones.

    On the flip side- why have kids if you’re going to treat them like dogs?

  33. A Reader September 6, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    via GIPHY

    Sorry, couldn’t help it.

  34. Workshop September 7, 2017 at 9:15 am #

    Erika, you’re new here. Welcome. You might want to educate yourself prior to spouting off crazy talking points.