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I called 911 on someone today for the first time . . .

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
We were at Walgreens to pick up a prescription for dh. I was driving, kids in the back seat. We parked and dh started to walk in, then came back to the car. There was a minivan in the parking lot a couple of spaces away from us. The large sliding door was open, and a toddler was strapped into his carseat in the seat nearest the open door. He was crying, and there was no one else around. No one in or around the car; no one else in the parking lot. I asked dh to check and make sure there was no one else in the car, and he said there wasn't, so I called 911. (FYI, it's very cold here right now - my car said it was 9 degrees F at the time.)

I felt a little bad because I thought there might be a good reason why someone would do that (i.e., leave their child strapped in the carseat with the door open while shopping). An emergency or something. But it also occurred to me that if I was in trouble like that and had an emergency, maybe I would need the police, too. I could not find a good reason why I would leave my toddler in the car while going into Walgreens (especially with the door open . . . and if the kid got the door open himself - not sure how that would be possible from the carseat - obviously he wasn't safe to be left alone in the car).

Dh comforted the kid. He stood back but said, "Don't worry, it'll be okay. You're not alone. It's going to be okay. Your mom will be back soon." Before the cop arrived, the mom came out. She had bought some bottled water and laundry detergent. Dh isn't afraid of confrontation, so he told her that her kid had been crying and the door was open when we arrived. She said "Yeah, okay." Then he said something about how dangerous the temperature was for kids, and (getting a bit melodramatic) said that kids die in temperatures like this. Her response was: "So?" And then she drove off.

So I didn't feel bad about calling 911 after that, since she couldn't have cared less that her kid was crying, upset, and freezing cold, nor that anyone could have taken him or he could have gotten out and been hit by a car or wandered off and frozen to death. : Dh was being a bit melodramatic, but it's true that kids DO die in this weather. We have a death every couple of years.

Anyway, dh ended up making a full written report and we had given the 911 dispatcher her license plate number, so hopefully they can find her and maybe a visit from the police will wake her up. It was clear from the way she behaved that she does this all the time. I hope that we did the right thing.

I just feel so bad for the kid. He was so scared. Dh said it looked like he was about 3 years old.
post #2 of 58
I'm not a parent (yet - due Jan 6th) but you definitely did the right thing!! It's too bad the cops didn't get there before she came out of the store!!
post #3 of 58
I'd call in that situation too. Poor kid.
post #4 of 58
I think it's wonderful that not only did you call 911, but that you and your husband stayed with that little child until his mother came back. She might not have said anything, but hopefully the fact that you were worried will make her think about her actions and take more care of him in the future.
post #5 of 58
Its nice that you noticed and were not afraid to step in
post #6 of 58
Awww, poor little boy.
post #7 of 58
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. I wouldn't want anyone to call the police or CPS on me because my dd took her socks off in the car on a cold day or because I need to vaccuum, but on the other hand, afterwards dh and I talked about it and we couldn't think of a good enough reason for what was happening, and it seemed so unsafe, that we had to call.

Dh did consider running in the store and yelling that there was a kid freezing in a car with an open door, but decided it was more important to stay with the toddler, who was very upset (he did calm down after dh talked to him).

It occurs to me that maybe he was asleep, and she ran in thinking he wouldn't wake up, but he did, and opened the door, and started crying? I know how much I wouldn't want to wake up my toddler in that situation, but at the same time, it just seems way too dangerous a thing to do. No way would I leave my little one in the car.
post #8 of 58
Yikes. Poor kid.
post #9 of 58
Sounds like you did the right thing. I would have done the same. I can think of no situation that would justify leaving your child in the car alone, with the door open, in 9 degree weather.
post #10 of 58
Good for you! I think you definitely did the right thing and I'm happy your husband stayed and talked to the toddler and confronted the mother. What a lousy response she gave! Poor kid. I think it's important that children see that adults will stick up for/protect them. We all need to look out for the little ones. Hopefully she will think about how dangerous that was to leave her child like that.
post #11 of 58
I think you did the right thing. Especially after talking to her and seeing that she could care less about what she did. Seems she might do it often if she didn't think it was a big deal at all.

Your dh is amazing to stay w/ the child and confront the person responsible for doing this! Mine never would. I know it's hard to call the police on another parent b/c sometimes they are called for silly reasons (like being too loud in their yard, etc) but this is not one of those times. That was very dangerous and horrible to do to a child! It was cold and someone could have taken that child or he could have gotten out and then what? You really did the right thing and I hope she realizes she needs to keep her child safe when running errands and at ALL times, even if it's harder on her.
post #12 of 58
At 9 degrees out, I would've called 911 as soon as I couldn't see an adult anywhere near the car.

Given minivan doors, I think it's far more likely that she left the door open "for fresh air."
post #13 of 58
Quote:
She said "Yeah, okay." Then he said something about how dangerous the temperature was for kids, and (getting a bit melodramatic) said that kids die in temperatures like this. Her response was: "So?"
Wow. Sounds like parent of the year material right there. Yipes!
post #14 of 58
Do you know for sure it was his parent? Maybe she was actually someone who had kidnapped him and you'll be a big hero to his parents.
post #15 of 58
I would have done the same thing. In my state it is illegal to leave children under a certain age unattended in the car.
post #16 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
Do you know for sure it was his parent? Maybe she was actually someone who had kidnapped him and you'll be a big hero to his parents.
I don't know for sure, but dh did say that he asked the kid where his mom was, and when the boy didn't answer, he asked, "Is your mom inside?" and he replied, "Yes." Of course, it is a 3 year old. But it seems most likely she is his mom.

If not, we got the license plate # to the police, so hopefully they would be able to track him down if there was anything funny going on.

This reminded me of how much I love my dh. He told me right away when he saw the little boy, without leaving the kid's sight. He decided it was more important to stay with the scared child than to go in the store to look for the mom. And he wasn't afraid to talk to her about it being a dangerous situation for the child. I was nervous but I didn't really hesitate to call 911 once dh said there wasn't anyone else in the car (and there was obviously no one in the parking lot). I've never done it before and I hope not to have to do it again . . . glad that the kid is okay and hoping the mom is more careful in the future.
post #17 of 58


You two did the right thing!! I hope that the "mom" is given a stern talking to and that her child is better taken care of.

You can always contact the police and ask for a follow up, they may be able to let you know of any further action taken.
post #18 of 58
What on earth was she thinking?! Glad he was ok.
post #19 of 58
that poor little kid!
post #20 of 58
I think it's great that you called, she may or may not have been on a quick run into the store. Children die in the summer and winter every year here because their parents just leave them and take a few minutes longer than they think they will have to take. Even if your kid is asleep, you still need to wake them up and get them in with you.
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