Yay! Another Car Story — But Much Happier!

Hi Readers — When you get right down to it, a lot of Free-Range Kids ends up being a plea for more community. More helping each other, more trusting each other, even more hanging out with each other. And here is a story of just that: A brief glimpse of how nice it is when we create community, instead of accusation.

Dear edaanbfbrb
Free-Range Kids: My 8-month-old son hates riding in the car, generally, but he loves visiting Grandma, who lives 3.5 hours away. So it’s a very long trip home. Late in the evening, we pulled into a convenience store to pick up caffeine for the ride– just as he dropped off to sleep. In front of the store was a local police officer.

I got out of the car, sized up the lines of sight, and then asked the officer, “Is it legal in this state for me to leave my son asleep in the car while I run in to get something? I can see him from the window, and I hate to wake him up.”

The officer hesitated and then said, “Go ahead in, I’ll be here and I’ll keep an eye on him.”

I said, “Thank you. We’ve got a long drive ahead of us, and he just fell asleep. You know how it is, once you wake them up…”

The officer joined in “you never get them back to sleep.”


I ran in, bought my tea, and ran out again. Thanked the officer, and we were off.

That’s it. End of story. Beginning of new era? — Lenore

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71 Responses to Yay! Another Car Story — But Much Happier!

  1. toyfoto November 4, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    It could be … we just have to start talking to strangers more.

  2. Jan S November 4, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    A lot of this problem does boil down to the break down of community in our society. No one is on the same cultural page anymore, people are too busy, moms are in the workforce, families are smaller and often broken.People are very mobile and less invested in their neighborhoods and communities. Between TV and internet it’s easy to get social and entertainment needs met from the insulation of your own home.

  3. theerin November 4, 2009 at 11:34 pm #

    that cop could have been a child molester in disguise! i can’t believe she didn’t request a background check, his blood type, his mother’s maiden name and when his family came to america!


    good for both of them!

  4. Jennine November 4, 2009 at 11:35 pm #


    You mean the mother didn’t think that the police officer may have been a criminal dressed up in a police costume… waiting there just to steal her baby??

    Inspiring story!

  5. MFA Grad November 4, 2009 at 11:51 pm #

    Now that was a refreshingly pleasant story to start off the day. Would it be too much to hope for more of them in the future?

  6. Shauna November 4, 2009 at 11:51 pm #

    Stories about the use of sense and reason are encouraging! One reason for the breakdown of community is that efforts to build community are often discouraged or even penalized, as the recent news about the woman watching neighborhood kids before school and getting in trouble for running an illegal daycare demonstrates.

  7. PaulB November 4, 2009 at 11:58 pm #

    A very nice personal story that many of us can relate to. This is how society should work,… in fact this is how it does work, just as long as we talk to each other.

  8. kari_marie November 5, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    This made me happy. Nice to see people NOT overreacting for a change. 🙂

  9. april November 5, 2009 at 12:06 am #

    Hmmmm …. I don’t think so. I sympathize with that woman, but I don’t think leaving our babies alone in cars is ever a good idea.

  10. Emily November 5, 2009 at 12:16 am #

    Two thumbs WAY up for a) the mom having the presence to alert the officer to the situation before just hopping inside and b) the office NOT being a big Jerk and helping out.

    I love it when adults behave like adults. The world just spins that much more smoothly.

  11. Heather K November 5, 2009 at 12:19 am #

    Yay! She asked for help! That’s what I keep talking about. We all just need to ask each other for help. Keep up the good work, mom!

  12. Marion November 5, 2009 at 12:25 am #

    LOL! So April, you don’t think a police officer is a good judge of a situation as well as a decent protector of a child? That cracks me up!

    Personally, I think the mother handled it well, and the police officer did too.

  13. april November 5, 2009 at 12:39 am #

    Well, I know that I’m in the minority here … but … I just meant that I don’t think this is the start of a trend. I admire Lenore and a lot of what she says, but my gut reaction to leaving babies in cars in that it’s not a good idea. And no, I wouldn’t just assume someone’s a good guy simply bc he’s a cop, though I’m sure the mom in this story did a perfectly safe thing, and trusted her assessment of the police officer and her ability to keep an eye on things. But, no, I don’t feel like it’s the start of a new era.

    But I’m glad I could give you a laugh, Marion!

  14. theerin November 5, 2009 at 12:46 am #

    april, read your blog, can we be friends? anyways.

    i think each situation is different. if the mom in the story was going to shop around for awhile in the c-store (btw, my husband’s family owns c-stores, so you all need to shop till you drop, okie-dokie?) then yeah, leaving kids in the car would have been a bad idea (imho). this woman ran in to grab a cuppa joe and run back out.

    i fully admit i have done the same. there have been times where it would not have been possible to see the kidlets while i was in the store and so they were dragged in with me.

    that is my level of safety. i completely understand if your level of safety involves bringing the kidlet in with you. hell, my best friend won’t let her 7 year old walk the two blocks to our house in our neighborhood in our town that has NEVER had a case of a child abduction.

    i think i rambled. please forgive moi.

  15. Marion November 5, 2009 at 1:05 am #

    “I wouldn’t just assume someone’s a good guy simply bc he’s a cop,”

    This also cracks me up. Sure, there is a slim chance that he could be a complete slime. But honestly, what is the chance a police officer in uniform, on duty, is a baby-snatching creep waiting for an opportunity? Also, he is in a place where there are probably security cameras, and mom is coming right back out and can offer a complete description of him. Um, no.

  16. Brian November 5, 2009 at 1:10 am #

    April – I’m confused. Is the problem that leaving the kid in the car? Or leaving him alone at all. Is there something problematic with letting a child sleep in a car seat when the car isn’t running?

    In this situation, I’d say that the child was actually safer under armed guard than if he had been asleep in his mother’s arms as she walked through the store (she could have dropped him, or spilled hot tea on him or even had him snatched away by a crazed pedophile).

    Balancing the near certainty of something uncomfortable (crying kid on a long drive home) against the infinitesimal risk of something catastrophic (child abducted from locked car in lit parking lot within sight of mother) is sometimes difficult. But this case is a total no-brainer! The child had police protection!

  17. AirborneVet November 5, 2009 at 1:20 am #


    The kid wasn’t alone. He had a policeman watching over him.

  18. Carolyn November 5, 2009 at 1:22 am #

    Why would you leave kids alone in a car?? This is ridiculous!

  19. april November 5, 2009 at 1:26 am #

    In this instance, the baby sounds like he was perfectly safe. And I can relate to not wanting to wake up a sleeping baby, trust me. My feeling though is that this story doesn’t sound to me like the start of a new era, or a new trend. I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea, in general, of leaving babies alone in cars. That’s all. I’m reacting more to the notion of it being an indicator of a new direction in parenting, than to the particular instance.

  20. KarenW November 5, 2009 at 1:27 am #

    Why would you leave kids alone in a car? She explained why!! Her son was finally asleep and she just needed something to drink for crying out loud. Even without the police officer right there, she could see her car just fine. Come on, is this really so unreasonable? The only reason we are talking about this is because we’ve already seen one example of a total jerk cop, so it’s good to remember that there are also some kind, decent ones.

  21. Steve November 5, 2009 at 1:33 am #

    “Beginning of new era?”

    As long as there’s a cop at every 7-11 in America, I guess so, sure.

  22. KarenW November 5, 2009 at 1:34 am #

    I think the “new era” idea is not about everyone leaving their kids in the car. It is about being more helpful to others, and at the same time more trusting of help given by others. I’ve voluntarily watched other people’s kids (and dogs!) when I’ve seen them in cars, as I’ve mentioned here in the past. Too many people are just out to see who they can get busted, instead of using the opportunity for an act of kindness.

  23. Helen November 5, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    April – I’m with you on thinking it’s not the beginning of a trend (and I’m all for leaving babies in cars for a short while when it’s safe and convenient). I’m all about the data and one incidence does not a trend make. When we start seeing laws that codify this sort of thing removed from the statute books I’ll start to think things have turned around at last.

  24. Theresa November 5, 2009 at 1:42 am #

    Assuming it’s not hot and there are no heat stroke issues, what exactly is the safety difference between leaving a sleeping baby alone in locked car where the parent CAN see the car the whole time, and leaving a sleeping baby alone in an upstairs bedroom while mom or dad is downstairs and CAN’T see them? Remember, Polly Klaus was abducted from her own unlocked bedroom window while sleeping.

    And what is the safety difference between leaving a sleeping child strapped in a car seat alone in a locked car where I can see her and letting her wander 15 feet away at a park where I can see her?

    I regularly leave my 2 1/2 year old twins strapped in their car seats in a locked car while I get out to use the cash machine at my corner bank. I can see them, and they can see me the whole time. And that is a much MUCH safer situation than having two toddlers on a sidewalk mere feet away from a busy parking lot on one side and a major intersection on the other. There is NO WAY I would risk them running into traffic while I was distracted with “Press here for English” and “Do you want to check your balance”!

    Of course, I *could* take 15 min to take out the stroller, unstrap the kids from the car seats, strap them into the stroller, wheel the stroller less than 10 feet from the parking spot to the cash machine, then unstrap the kids from the stroller, strap each one back into their car seat and fold up and repack the stroller BUT it defies logic and common sense parenting to go through 15 min of that in order to complete a 2-min transaction.

    Why are parents being denied the ability to make common-sense parenting decisions for themselves?

  25. ejly November 5, 2009 at 1:43 am #

    Bravo to this mother in finding an option that worked and didn’t leave a child unsupervised in a car.

  26. Ines November 5, 2009 at 1:46 am #

    Good to see that there are nice and helpful people out there. However, I am not entirely sure why it is the law that kids cannot stay in the car for a limited amount of time like 5 minutes?

    I do not think it is a bad idea to leave kids in the car for a limited time while you get to the store, return a shopping cart, fetch a left diaper bag left in the house, or even drop something off at the post office.

    How would the reactions here be, if she had asked a random male stranger?

  27. pipu November 5, 2009 at 1:48 am #

    So, are you helicopter parents just trolling this blog to stir things up? Why the hell are you commenting here?


  28. Jan S November 5, 2009 at 1:55 am #

    Ines— actually, women are the ones most likely to kidnap a baby statistically speaking. They are usually women who are infertile I believe, who want a baby of their own.

  29. Birdsong November 5, 2009 at 2:14 am #

    A lovely story that brightens my day… hope is often where you find it.

  30. Dirk D November 5, 2009 at 2:19 am #

    There are only 14 states in the country which have specefic laws concerning leaving a child in a car, of those, Washington specifies that it’s only illegal if you’re going into a bar, and Texas’ law states that periods of less than 5 minutes are acceptable.

    The only legal issue that could arise is if you left the child intentionally in a position where there is a high degree of predictable danger, ie car in the sun with the windows up and the child unable to open the doors.

    When people assume something is illegal because it’s different/sane, they only feed into the culture of fear that pervades throughout the so called “Free world”.

  31. Noel H. November 5, 2009 at 2:22 am #

    Bravo to this police officer! It was such a small inconvience to help out and everyone went away happier for it. Very refreshing to see common sense and community prevail!

  32. pentamom November 5, 2009 at 2:25 am #

    The people arguing against this are making NO sense. The baby WASN’T left alone in a car — he was left alone with a law enforcement professional watching him. That is SAFER than almost any possible situation you could imagine, including his very own mother flinging her body across him with just enough space for him to breath. Unless someone wants to argue the absolutely untrue point that any given police officer in uniform hanging around a 7-11 is a genuine risk to be someone who seizes opportunities to hurt children, that is.

    Cops aren’t always good. The worst cops are almost never people waiting around to seize a chance to hurt a child. Almost no person is that — even hardened molesters look for genuine opportunities, they don’t sit around public places hoping someone’s going to ask them to watch their kid for a few minutes and then seize their chance in full view of the parents, security cameras, and other patrons.

  33. Jan S November 5, 2009 at 2:28 am #

    8 month old babies aren’t normal the object of lust of even the most perverted deviant. They are more likely to be snatched by a childless woman longing for a baby.

  34. Jan S November 5, 2009 at 2:33 am #

    And if you lock your car, how many people are really going to smash the window, in plain view of everyone around, just to snatch a squalling baby? Its not safe just to run in to get a coffee? Really? First, you would need to have the rare person who wants to steal a baby happen by, then you need to have that person be stupid enough to want to smash the window, grab the crying kid, and make a run for it.

    And how often do babies get raped? You don’t even see that on Fox News but once every 10 years.

  35. Jocelyn H November 5, 2009 at 2:36 am #

    I have been doing this since my kids were tiny babies. I still do it. In the winter I leave the car running so they stay warm. In the middle of summer, when temperatures soar, I leave the car running with the AC on so they don’t bake. I always lock the doors so that no one can get in that shouldn’t be getting in. Rules are: stay in your seat. Keep your seat belt on. No fighting. And they always keep 2 of the 3 (the first two!) and face consequences if they break the third. When they were babies, it was preferable to leave them in the warm vehicle when I was running errands rather than trying to carry an infant and an almost-toddler (my kids are 16 months apart & we lived in a part of the world where winter comes for 9 months a year and temps dip to -40) through piles of snow and ice and in the FREEZING cold. I have never had any issues with people trying to take my kids, expose themselves to my kids, etc. I know some people freak out at the idea but I am not going to fight with my 9 year old and force her into the store with me if she really doesn’t want to get out of hte car. I’m going to simply lock the doors and do my errands as quickly as possible, police or no police!

  36. pentamom November 5, 2009 at 2:45 am #

    “How would the reactions here be, if she had asked a random male stranger?”

    My reaction to anything anyone did with so little consideration that it could be called “random,” if it potentially affected the welfare of their child, would be negative. But there’s a lot of real estate between “random” and “only a cop.” Any man who is apparently there with his family, a group of other people of some sort, or otherwise is in a situation where it really would not be feasible for him to grab your child and stuff him in his car and flee, or otherwise act out against your child, is probably safe. And there are lots of people like that in the world.

    Would I leave a child alone in a car at night with the only people around being rootless looking people (of either sex)? No. But that’s where good judgment comes in, and that’s what all this is all about — good judgment, not automatically followed rules that prevent even the most unimaginable of situations, but interfere with the normal functioning of both the child’s and the parent’s life to a significant degree.

  37. Joette November 5, 2009 at 2:47 am #

    Ines – if the mother in the story had asked a random stranger, the reactions here would most likely be exactly the same. *Most* people are good people and would be pleased to help out for a moment if asked.

  38. Greg November 5, 2009 at 2:50 am #

    “‘I wouldn’t just assume someone’s a good guy simply bc he’s a cop,’

    This also cracks me up. Sure, there is a slim chance that he could be a complete slime. But honestly, what is the chance a police officer in uniform, on duty, is a baby-snatching creep waiting for an opportunity? Also, he is in a place where there are probably security cameras, and mom is coming right back out and can offer a complete description of him. Um, no.”

    I claim the same goes for just about any adult, not just a police officer! This is a big part of Lenore’s message. It is irrational fear that leads us to suspect every stranger is someone you can’t trust your kid with. The reality is that we can trust 99.999% of the people in most neighborhoods to stand in front of a car in plain sight of you to watch your kid. People really ought to stop watching crime dramas on TV and get to know their neighbors instead. Oddly, it turns out the vast majority are not criminals out to get your children!

    It’s ironic because it seems that people who actually live in dangerous war zones where their kids really are in danger trust each other more. It’s in the safest suburbs of the safest countries in the world where people live in fear of their neighbors.

  39. Dirk D November 5, 2009 at 3:03 am #

    OK, I did some digging, and as far as I can tell, the 14 states number that I quoted from a previous commenter (on the last kid in car post) appears to be a bit high. I found 9 states with specefic “child in the car” laws, with one other state (Georgia) considering one. Here are summaries.

    California: It is illegal to leave a child six years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle when:
    * There are conditions that present a significant risk to the child’s health or safety. Example: Leaving a child in a closed car on a very hot day.
    * The vehicle’s engine is running, the keys are in the ignition, or both.

    Connecticut: Anyone who leaves a child under the age of 12 unattended in a vehicle long enough that it represents a substantial risk to the child’s well-being, could be found guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Should this happen between 8 p.m.-6 a.m., the charge rises to a class C felony.

    Florida: If you’re supervising a child under the age of six, you’re legally allowed to leave the child unattended in a vehicle for a maximum of 15 minutes.
    However, you cannot leave the child unattended for any period of time if the vehicle is running, or if doing so places the child’s health or safety in danger (such as on hot days).

    Kentucky: It’s illegal to leave a child under the age of eight unattended.

    Nebraska: According to Section 28-710, it’s considered child abuse and neglect to leave a child who is six years old or younger unattended in a motor vehicle and goes against the Child Protection Act.

    Nevada: Leaving a child younger than seven in a vehicle without proper supervision (someone at least 12 years old) is considered a misdemeanor, if doing so endangers the child’s health and safety.

    Tennessee: Knowingly leaving a child under the age of seven in a vehicle on public property without the supervision of someone who is at least 13 years old can be considered a Class B misdemeanor (with a $200 fine) if any of the following are true:
    * The vehicle’s engine is running
    * The child’s health or safety could be at risk
    * The keys to the vehicle are inside the car

    Texas: “The Law of Five and Seven”
    The key numbers to remember are five and seven. That is, if you leave a child age seven or under alone in a vehicle for five minutes or more, the law kicks in. A person age 15 or older is considered adequate supervision.

    Washington: It is a misdemeanor to leave any child under 16 unattended in a standing vehicle with the engine running. Any subsequent violations will result in having your license revoked. (apparently the specification of an alcohol-serving location has been removed)

    You’ll notice that the great majority of these laws include the statement that there must be a foreseeable danger to the child, such as hot weather or the keys in the car. Common sense seems to be less common now than when these laws were written.

    Source: http://www.dmv.org
    Yes, I know it’s not an official part of any state government, however I stopped double checking with state DMV sites after the third state where the quoted laws matched verbatim with state driver’s manuals.

  40. pipu November 5, 2009 at 3:36 am #

    @ Greg: “It’s ironic because it seems that people who actually live in dangerous war zones where their kids really are in danger trust each other more. It’s in the safest suburbs of the safest countries in the world where people live in fear of their neighbors.”

    I’ve found this to be true with regard to general neighborhood friendliness. I’ve lived in rich neighborhoods where 99% of the people do not make eye contact or say hello on the street. I’ve also lived in poor neighborhoods where 99% of people DO make eye contact and usually go further to say hello or ask how you are. I’ve ALWAYS felt safer in poorer neighborhoods, because I know that my neighbors know who I am, and have my back if there’s an emergency (like the time I experienced a house fire and had dozens of offers of meals and places to stay). Seems like most folks in richer neighborhoods are so busy getting their SUV into the garage so they can rush into the house and interact through the world through a screen, they just don’t have time for a “hello”.

    (I know, gross generalization, but it is a pattern I’ve noticed growing up in Berkeley and Oakland, California.)

    Something else you said really stuck with me… the irrational fear of strangers. I wonder what the correlation is (if any) between the implementation of “STRANGER DANGER” programs in the 80s (is that when they began?), and those kids growing up to be the first generation of helicopter parents and overly protective bureaucrats we have today?

  41. Ines November 5, 2009 at 3:45 am #

    Mmh. It seems like people misunderstood my comment. I am saying it is perfectly acceptable to leave a child in the car to get something quick, fast and within plain sight. I do that at the post office, at the coffee shop, at the vet, or at the dry cleaners. All at busy streets where I feel my child is safer than walking without holding hands because I have to carry packets or laundry.

    I was just negatively surprised by those people saying it was not okay to leave a child under the supervision of a cop. I wonder how negatively they would have reacted if she had asked a random stranger (female or male).

    I constantly ask other mothers to watch my child if I quickly have to run with the second child to the bathroom… at playgrounds or malls. It is usually no problem. People are nice.

  42. Alexicographer November 5, 2009 at 3:45 am #

    Jan S — do you have any statistics on that? The vast majority of abductions (of kids of any age, I believe, though I don’t have stats) are by family members and people a child knows. I’m not aware of any source of statistics that breaks down infant abductions by the fertility status of the person doing the abducting, so I’m just wondering if you’re generalizing from a few highly publicized cases or have actual numbers to back the claim up.

    What strikes me as exceptional about this story, as compared to the others Lenore posts, is that in this case the parent behaved pro-actively, identifying and seeking help from another adult (a stranger) in caring for her child. I say good for her, and that this seems to me a useful and underutilized (per Lenore’s reporting, which may not be representative — I know she picks stories “of interest” not “at random”) — strategy for free-range parents.

    I leave my kid in the car all the time, either at my home, where I often strap him in and then run back into the house to grab something, or at locations where I can see him while I’m out of the car, e.g., ATMs. Why on earth wouldn’t one? (He’s not capable of getting out of his car seat, so I’ve got no concern about him starting the car / putting it gear, etc.)

  43. pentamom November 5, 2009 at 4:06 am #

    “Stranger danger” goes back at least to the 70’s. I started school in ’70 and it seems like it was there from the beginning. I remember being surprised by it because my parents’ had never taught me that “strangers” as such were to be feared — I don’t remember precisely how they approached it, but it was probably just a common sense approach like “don’t leave the yard without letting me know where you’re going,” “come straight home from school unless you have permission to go somewhere else” and specific places that it wasn’t considered safe to go alone. Since my parents operated a retail business, where I hung out a lot as a child, teaching me to be afraid of anyone I hadn’t met before would have created some rather odd scenarios.

  44. Jan S November 5, 2009 at 4:29 am #

    Alexographer— I’m an RN and have been to hospital inservices where they cover abduction of infants. The profile of someone abducting an infant is that of a woman of child-bearing years we were told.

  45. Christie November 5, 2009 at 5:45 am #

    I am wondering how the situation is changed if it had been a UPS driver outside the convenience store. You’ve got to watch out for those guys you know.

  46. Jacqui November 5, 2009 at 6:35 am #

    I agree with toyfoto. I think a little communication goes a really long way in helping us trust each other.

  47. Nicola November 5, 2009 at 6:52 am #

    Glad to see she asked for help. I’d love to see more stories like this on the blog – like someone else mentioned.

    As far as the trolling goes – the idea is that we open our doors to the helicopter parents and then let them slowly change their minds. We shouldn’t hold ourselves in two camps – after all, if we can get one uptight parent (as I used to be) to see that letting go is not only good but safe – then we’ve won a small victory in reclaiming childhood for our children.

    We may not agree – but we shouldn’t prevent or get upset with anyone for posting. Let them come. Let them post. Let them learn. 🙂

  48. Uly November 5, 2009 at 8:22 am #

    That’s the profile of somebody abducting an infant – a small subset of child abductions. (And I’m not sure, even then, that it wasn’t intended to be a profile of a STRANGER abducting an infant.)

  49. owen59 November 5, 2009 at 8:50 am #

    Remember the days when parents would tell their children that, if they ever needed help they could find a policeman on the beat and they just needed to go ask. “The policeman is your friend” which went with a warning that, if you were misbehaving “the policeman will kick your b…”. As community became bigger, more segregated, the police officer has just become a check and balance that often needs a bit of checking and balancing themselves, rather than an integral part of community guidance for youngsters. But, even now, I know if there is non-conflictual contact police officers seem mostly amiable and caring.

  50. RunTime714 November 5, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    “Washington: It is a misdemeanor to leave any child under 16 unattended in a standing vehicle with the engine running. Any subsequent violations will result in having your license revoked. (apparently the specification of an alcohol-serving location has been removed)”

    Age 16? Doesn’t this seem overly broad? Here you can get your learner’s permit at 15 years 8 months and your licence on your 16th birthday. While anyone on a permit can’t drive without a licenced driver, I would hate to think that you couldn’t give them the keys to warm up the car without being cited for endangering their safety. They can DRIVE but can’t be alone in a car with the engine running. Amazing!

  51. Steve November 5, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Finally, a happy ending! 🙂

  52. Jan S November 5, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    8 months old is an infant, no?

    in·fant (nfnt)
    1. A child in the earliest period of life, especially before he or she can walk.

  53. swa101 November 5, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    Next thing you know, people will be letting their kids walk to school and stuff.

    I don’t think it’s really a start of anything, seriously, but it’s nice to read something good.

  54. Angeline November 5, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    It is all about communication. Lack thereof breeds mistrust and misunderstanding in just about every situation.

  55. Alexicographer November 5, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    Jan S,

    Thanks, that helps. I have to admit I figure infant abduction by strangers must be so rare it’s difficult to profile!

  56. Jan S November 5, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    Alexographer… Most people are trying to avoid having infants with every roll in the hay. They are a veritable pain in the ass,…sleepless nights, endless demands, poopy diapers. They’re too young to use for sexual gratification except for the extremely rare totally deranged pedophile that is utterly beyond the pale.

    Common sense would tell us that logically only a woman with unfulfilled maternal instincts would want a baby.

  57. Tracey R November 5, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    @Runtime74: That’s hilarious! So if you have your learner’s permit and are behind the wheel, your dad can’t hop out to pay for the gas he just pumped? But you could run into the store by yourself (oh, the humanity) and that would be fine, even without Daddy holding your hand across the parking lot! A perfect example of a law made up by a committee, eh?

  58. Ben November 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm #

    Hurray for the cop. His approach certainly beats that of the other cop who refused to give in even after he was proven wrong. If only more people were friendly enough to help out once in a while.

  59. Rich Wilson November 5, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    Actually, I don’t see this as good news. The cop agreed to watch over him? Why? She could see him from inside the store. Does the baby ever sleep alone? And if so, why is the baby asleep alone in a crib any more safe than a baby asleep alone in a car, when you’re in view so you can see if he wakes up? It was evening, so heat doesn’t sound like an issue.

  60. Helen November 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    Rich – I kind of thought that too at first. But after Reading comments here I think there’s a lot to be said for the community building aspect of such an exchange. By sharing their joint experience that a woken kid doesn’t get back to sleep and providing the offer of support (however pointless) the cop helped build a “we’re all in this together” feeling rather than a “you’re on your own” feeling. Also, he may not have known if it was legal (which is what the mother asked) or he may have thought she was nervous about leaving her child unattended, so instead of being nasty about it he covered all bases in a helpful and friendly way.

  61. pentamom November 5, 2009 at 9:32 pm #

    “The cop agreed to watch over him? Why?”

    Because she asked and he was willing to do her a tiny favor?

    If someone asks you for a favor that costs you next to nothing, is it a bad thing if you say “sure” instead of arguing all the reasons why doing the favor isn’t necessary in the first place? So what if it wasn’t “necessary” — it was helpful and made her more comfortable about leaving the kid. I don’t have to believe that my child is inches from death to think it might be good if someone kept an eye on him.

  62. Helen November 5, 2009 at 10:36 pm #

    Pentamom – according to the story she didn’t ask anyone to watch. She asked the cop if it was legal to leave him in the car.

    I didn’t get teh impression she was at all concerned about having someone watch over him. I read her actions as being more about covering her butt because there was a police officer there. i.e. if the cop hadn’t been there and it had just been a UPS guy 🙂 she would probably have gone in without asking and just hoped no-one phoned CPS. But that interpretation is probably because I’ve been reading all the stories on this blog!

    Either way these are our own interpretations not things supported by anything explicit in the story Lenore related.

  63. Jan S November 5, 2009 at 11:46 pm #

    Helen— I agree, she was covering her butt because a cop was there. Good point. It was a wise move on her part.

  64. Alexicographer November 6, 2009 at 2:17 am #

    Jan S — you write “logically only a woman with unfulfilled maternal instincts would want a baby.” Well, maybe. Actually a single man or a gay man would have a much harder time having a child (on average) than a woman. Sure, there’s infertility, but “situational” infertility (no suitable partner) tends to be much harder for men to overcome than women (women can conceive with donor sperm, men have to secure a surrogate).

  65. pentamom November 7, 2009 at 1:05 am #

    Helen, even if she was just covering herself, it was still an instance of someone being helpful in the situation instead of starting a lecture about what her feelings should be in the situation. I just can’t see it as a bad thing either way. Like it or not, there’s REASON to be concerned about leaving a child alone in a car, whether for real safety reasons, or meddling-people reasons. So if a cop steps forward to reassure her that not only will she not be in trouble, he’ll make double-sure the kid is fine, I can’t see where that violates any higher principle. It’s all well and good to say that people “shouldn’t” or “shouldn’t have to” worry about leaving a child in a car in a safe situation, but that’s not the world we live in.

  66. Render911 November 8, 2009 at 5:55 am #

    today I parked right in front of the door of the bagel shop. Left the car running, kids inside as I got my bagel. I could see them and they are 8 and 6 so I trusted them to not get out of their seats.

    I feel good about my decision – thanks for letting me share it

  67. Elise November 9, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    @ Render 911… I certainly would leave my 8 and 6 year old in the car but not with it running…That would make me way too nervous..maybe it’s just my 8 year old, I feel she might be too curious and perhaps play with the gearshift.

  68. Frances Bean November 11, 2009 at 12:03 am #

    If she hadn’t said something to the cop, I guarantee she would have gotten a stern warning…or worse.

  69. the pilatesbiz February 9, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? Ive been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you

  70. Anjo July 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    I guess she just recognized the authority since he’s just there. It’s rude not to talk to the officer especially if you don’t have any ideas about the traffic rules of a particular state. Perhaps the unofficial dmv site can guide us about traffic issues in every state we’re at http://www.dmv.com/


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