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At what age is it ok to leave them in the car? - Page 2

post #21 of 42
Ya know, I grew up being left happily in the car for all sorts of things. Brother and I loved it.

But I just can't imagine doing it.

One time when DS was still in the infant seat (he outgrew it by height BEFORE 4 months old) I left him in the car while I walked up a curb, across a sidewalk, and checked my mailbox...was 5 feet away from the car, walked backwards even. That was just too much. Next time I checked the mail with him in the car, that was the ONLY time I ever popped the baby bucket out of the base (so heavy!) to haul him over that same 5 feet so I wasn't leaving him alone in the car. Then I stopped checking the mail when driving into apartment complex.


So I just can't imagine leaving him somewhere else, even when older.

and I think it's not legal in my state. Just what I remember hearing...

Possibly you could call the police station to see if it's legal in your state?
post #22 of 42
For me it is not an age, it is more of a check list.

-old enough to stay home alone/babysit
-nobody in the car that would unbuckle and try to drive (like a 3 or 5 yo)
-child is okay with it
-I don't think anybody wil bother me or them about it

It isn't just what other people will do nor is it just what the children in the car will do, even on accident. (removing the parking brake in a car with a manual transmission, bumping the gear stick, opening the door or window to talk to people they know, etc)

If I just have my boys with me (12 and 1 yo) I make ds1 sit in front so that people will know I didn'tleave the baby alone. I don't assume I will be able to watch the car the whole time. If the errand is that easy I can send ds1 in to handle it.
post #23 of 42
I've been doing it since dd1 was a newborn. My car has a remote start feature and temp sensing climate control. So I remove keys, lock doors and start car. It will turn on the heat or A/C as needed. If someone were to break into the car and take it out of park w/o the key in the ignition, the engine dies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MisaGoat View Post
Quick story:

When my husband and his sister were about 9 they stayed in the car while their dad ran into the drugstore. They released the emergency brake and rolled back in the parking lot and their dad ran out and got behind the car to stop it.
This could only happen if the car has a manual transmission. I would definitely be more wary in that case if the kids were able to get out of their car seats.
post #24 of 42
This topic always gets a wide variety of answers.

I leave my 6 year old in the car to drop of packages, grab us a drink at the convenience store .. anything where the car will be right out front, in my sight and the errand will only take a few seconds.

I found this link that seems to have info on current state laws, and proposed ones, for those who are interested.

http://www.kidsandcars.org/legislation.html
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
Where I live, there's no such thing as ANY errand that's guaranteed to be "a matter of seconds with the car in sight the whole time."
I'm sure it depends on where you live.

Where I live is in the country. I know everyone almost every place I go and I usually get in and out quickly, especially at the post office. I left my oldest in the car alone at the age of 10. I didn't do it before then because my kids never liked sitting in the car anyway. But I usually leave the kids at home and my oldest (almost 14) is in charge if I run an errand. Between DH and I someone is always in and out since we both work from home most days. And we homeschool and my kids don't like to go everywhere with me and prefer to stay home. Like I said, we live in the country, no visible neighbors so I don't really worry. We've gone over and over the safety rules and what to do in emergencies.

I think kids are much safer home alone (if they are mature enough and the right age ) than they are sitting in a car in a parking lot without me. But thats JMO.
post #26 of 42
I just wanted to add - when my young son was a few months old, I took him in his car seat into our library to drop off books. I was literally gone, perhaps 3 minutes to 5 minutes tops. I could see the van from where we were standing in library but turned my back on the van.

So I return to my van and find it has disappeared.

The van was stolen in less than 5 minutes and I was left standing there with my son in his car seat wondering what had happened!

So even though I'm pretty confident my kids could survive alone in the car for a few minutes (if they were strapped into seats). I'd be nervous someone would try to steal the car!

My mom left my brother and I alone in the car in the 1970s quite a few times. I think the doors weren't even locked! I think she was more naive about things that could "go wrong".
post #27 of 42
I leave my 3 year old in the car to run into the corner store, but I live in a very tiny community and I know everyone.
post #28 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla
Where I live, there's no such thing as ANY errand that's guaranteed to be "a matter of seconds with the car in sight the whole time."
It must depend upon where you live. I live in a suburb of Phoenix and even though it's a busy suburb, there are plenty of places where I can park and just run in. Even the post office - I print up all my postage online, attach it to the box so literaly, it takes me seconds to walk in the big glass doors (car still in sight), walk 10 steps across the lobby (car still in sight), dump the package in the barrel and turn around and walk back out.

Same with the dry cleaner. It's never so busy that I can't pull right up to the open doors, walk 10 steps to the desk and hand them my clothes.

Now, if there were someplace where there was a possibility of being detained - like I had to wait in line at the PO for something then, no way would I leave my kids in the car. But, if it's a guaranteed couple of seconds, I am feeling like it's safe?
post #29 of 42
If I stop and really think about it? When they have a driver's license.

But if I am feeling less paranoid ... I'd say at the age when they are mature enough to be left home alone, so 12 or so.

And it's cars that I'm scared of, not abductions or anything.
post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuesday View Post
I just wanted to add - when my young son was a few months old, I took him in his car seat into our library to drop off books. I was literally gone, perhaps 3 minutes to 5 minutes tops. I could see the van from where we were standing in library but turned my back on the van.

So I return to my van and find it has disappeared.

The van was stolen in less than 5 minutes and I was left standing there with my son in his car seat wondering what had happened!
Were the keys in the ignition? Was the van left unlocked? If you had left the baby in the van, you probably would have locked the door and taken the keys with you, right?
post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustVanessa View Post
I leave my 3 year old in the car to run into the corner store, but I live in a very tiny community and I know everyone.
I am not trying to bait, I have left my kids in the car but I do want to point out that you don't know everyone that might pass through or visit or be having a mental break. Also, there are probably people in town you wouldn't leave your children with; knowing them doesn't make them safe people.
post #32 of 42
To some extent this probably depends on where you live. I live in a pretty small town with a very low crime rate. This would be no big deal at all to me. But if I lived elsewhere, I'd probably have a different opinion. So long as I can see the car, I'm fine with dd waiting there for me.
post #33 of 42
When I was younger my mom used to let me stay in the car and read while she ran errands. I've left DD to return a movie or drop off dry cleaning, but both of those places, you can pull up to the curb and are literally a step away from the car. I do try and run quick errands when she's not with me, or when someone else is. I especially hate having to get her out when she's sleeping just to return a book at the library. That is the one reason I have library fines!
post #34 of 42
I leave my ds in the car (since he was about 2) in the following places:

-ATM machine with car parked about 20 ft from me, and I can see the car at all times
-small newsstand, running in to grab the paper and leave a dollar on the counter, with car parked about 20 ft away (it seems like a frivilous errand, but ds used to nap in the car all the time and sometimes I didn't have anything to read or do for 2 hours)
-post office, running in to dump mail in a slot, with car in sight at all times

I also leave both kids in the car with the doors locked while I unload groceries in our driveway. I leave the bags right inside the door, so I'm not actually in the house, but my back is turned.

I should probably check the laws in NJ, but none of these scenarios seem unsafe to me. Seems more unsafe to wrangle young kids on busy street or parking lot.
post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuesday View Post
I just wanted to add - when my young son was a few months old, I took him in his car seat into our library to drop off books. I was literally gone, perhaps 3 minutes to 5 minutes tops. I could see the van from where we were standing in library but turned my back on the van.

So I return to my van and find it has disappeared.

The van was stolen in less than 5 minutes and I was left standing there with my son in his car seat wondering what had happened!
The thing is, you really have no idea what is going to happen. If your son had been in the car, maybe the thief wouldn't have taken it! It's one thing to get in trouble for stealing a car, yet another thing altogether to get arrested for kidnapping!

I remember in a similar thread on LWAB, someone was saying she took her child out of the car even when paying for gas because someone hit her car (or someone else's car) at a gas station and it exploded, or something like that. But what if she was carrying her son in to pay, and someone hit her and her son while they were walking? Then maybe she would be of the mind to always leave her child in the car, yk? Or what if you took your child into the bank with you and there was a hold up? You might think it would be safer from then on to leave them in the car, because going into a bank is a risky thing to do.

I am not trying to say you should leave your child in the car in the hopes of deterring someone from stealing it . What I'm saying is that it's not exactly accurate to say, "I took him out and my car was stolen, therefore if I had left him in my child would have been taken too." You just can't know if that's how it would have happened.

The chance of something happening to my child while I run to the ATM or drop something in the mail box is miniscule, in my opinion. Much smaller than the risk of being in a car accident, which is something I risk every day getting in my car and taking my children places. Not saying bad things don't happen. They do. Children are abducted, and people get into car accidents. It is not possible to protect ourselves from every bad thing that happens in life. You can do things to try to minimize that risk, but even that can backfire (as in the examples I gave above). It doesn't mean you don't try to minimize risks, but each person has their own comfort level, as evidenced by the many different responses to this thread. We each just have to figure out what works for our family .
post #36 of 42
Do those who don't ever leave the kids in the car chaperone them from car to sidewalk, or do you trust them to get out on the other side of the car and safely walk up to the curb?

I send my oldest to drop off packages and stay in the car with the youngest, as long as I can see her the whole time.
post #37 of 42
My neighbor left her kids in the car while she ran into a store to grab milk or something. The kids were in plain sight of her. Well, someone ran up and jacked her car--with her child still in the seat in the back (the carjacker didnt see the child). It was horrible! she was running down the street chasing after the car...the guy pulled over took the child out and kept going. THANK GOD.

I dont leave my kids in the car for even a second. I just picture someone running up and breaking a window and trying to steal something while they are sitting there. I know it may be unlikely but still...
post #38 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elvenom View Post
My neighbor left her kids in the car while she ran into a store to grab milk or something. The kids were in plain sight of her. Well, someone ran up and jacked her car--with her child still in the seat in the back (the carjacker didnt see the child). It was horrible! she was running down the street chasing after the car...the guy pulled over took the child out and kept going. THANK GOD.

I dont leave my kids in the car for even a second. I just picture someone running up and breaking a window and trying to steal something while they are sitting there. I know it may be unlikely but still...
I don't see how this is possible unless she left the car unlocked and with the keys in it.

If you lock the car and take the keys, it would take someone some time to break into the car and then hot wire it. Certainly enough time for a mother who was watching the entire situation to do something.
post #39 of 42
I have done it before too.....where I could see it the whole time and would only be gone a minute. I haven't done it in a while though and I recently saw an episode of Dr. Phil where a lady left her 2yo in the car asleep just so her and her other kids could go put some change in the donation kettle in front of Walmart. She was arrested on the spot and although the charges were eventually dropped, they are still dealing with people who are mad the charges were dropped and think she is a terrible mother. That scared me a little.
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by KMK_Mama View Post
I have done it before too.....where I could see it the whole time and would only be gone a minute. I haven't done it in a while though and I recently saw an episode of Dr. Phil where a lady left her 2yo in the car asleep just so her and her other kids could go put some change in the donation kettle in front of Walmart. She was arrested on the spot and although the charges were eventually dropped, they are still dealing with people who are mad the charges were dropped and think she is a terrible mother. That scared me a little.
I saw that too and it's crazy. There was more danger that the 2-year-old could have gotten hurt slipping on the ice, or could have been dropped if the mother had carried her, or could have been hit by a car that slid on the ice. The child was in no danger in the car. People are just looking for things to complain about.
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