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Leaving a kid in the car

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
At what age do you feel comfortable leaving your child in the car when you go in a store. I'm not talking about running in to pay for gas, I mean leaving them playing a video game or whatever and they can join you if they care to.

Opinions?
post #2 of 73
Maybe 9 or 10 IF they had a cell phone with them, and I probably would have them stay in the car, so I'd make sure it was not parked in the sun on a hot day. And I wouldn't leave them for more than 15 min. or so.

Lydia
post #3 of 73
It depended on the child's personality.
post #4 of 73
my son is 11 and refuses to go into certain thrift stores with me so he stays in at those I can see the car from almost every part of the store.
post #5 of 73
I left my middle son when he was 8.5 and he got out the car to come find me. On the way into the store a do gooder stopped him, got the checkout girl to call out for me and then chewed me out. It was a small store and my son knew where I was. I told the lady to mind her own business and to stop over reacting! My son had done exactly what I told him to do if he got bored so I felt fine leaving him for 10 to 15 minutes.

A year later he normally comes in with me but his 10 yr old brother would rather stay in the car with his DSi. If I take too long though (30+ minutes) he wil start to get upset.

i try to do all errands when the kids are in school so they don't need to sit in a car or get bored shopping but underdstand thats not always an option.
post #6 of 73
I don't think I will ever be comfortable with my dd staying in the car alone while I am off shopping. If she is old enough to stay home alone (13) then I will let her choose to do that. I remember having to stay in the car sometimes and it got very hot and uncomfortable, I don't want my dd thinking she has to endure that.
post #7 of 73
I wouldn' do it. If something were to happen I wouldn't forgive myself... and I think its good for the kids to be involved in every aspect of my life, including shopping etc...
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post #8 of 73
9ish, depending on maturity level. That's the age I would feel ok with them taking their bikes to the store/library/etc without me.
post #9 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
I don't think I will ever be comfortable with my dd staying in the car alone while I am off shopping. If she is old enough to stay home alone (13) then I will let her choose to do that. I remember having to stay in the car sometimes and it got very hot and uncomfortable, I don't want my dd thinking she has to endure that.
this
post #10 of 73
gosh, I can't even imagine my kids not wanting to go into the store with me. In fact, as soon as we pull up somewhere, all four are fu-reaking out b/c they want to come inside with me - and I have to choose who to leave (with DH) in the car and who to take in...or if I'm in a mood, I leave them all and let him deal with their craziness.

No, but seriously, I dunno. Maybe 12-13? My older two kids are 9 and 7 and even if I could talk them into it, I don't think I'd feel comfy leaving either one of them while I go shopping. If it were a quick in and out thing like gas/library books/dry cleaners/pizza pick-up - then maybe.
post #11 of 73
My boys are 7 and 4 and beg to stay in the car when I'm doing something "boring." I leave them, with the heat on in cold weather or the windows cracked in nice weather. I would not leave them if it was over 75º out. They lock the doors and stay in the car talking or reading. I only leave them if they are together. They know not to unlock or open the doors unless there is an emergency.
My 7 yr. old walks home from school alone and will probably be allowed to stay home alone within the next year or two. He's proven himself over and over to be responsible and capable.
My mom always let me stay in the car reading as a kid, I biked over a mile to school at 6, I stayed home after school with my little sister starting at 7, and was babysitting other peoples' children at 10. Every memory I have of these things is of feeling trustworthy and competent and I don't believe the world is a more dangerous place now. My kid is more likely to be hit by a car crossing the parking lot with me, or get in a fatal wreck on the way to or from the store, than to be what? kidnapped from a locked car in a store parking lot? sitting in the car for 10 minutes.
post #12 of 73
I'm not sure because we're not there yet. DS is 5 and LOVES to go into every store. I would say around 10, but it would totally depend on the kid too.
post #13 of 73
My 8-year-old sometimes stays in the car for a couple of minutes while I run into someplace that only takes a couple of minutes. I let her do that before, but only if the car was within my sight the whole time. Now I don't mind her being out of my sight in the car for a few minutes.

I think it depends on the child, the weather, the area (and crime rate), and that kind of thing. But my daughter is in more danger walking with me across a parking lot than she is alone in a locked car for two or three minutes.
post #14 of 73
I don't think I would ever be comfortable with that. I don't go many places. Ok, I only go one place. The grocery store. Child can stay home with daddy or go with me. I could never leave a child unattended. I lost a child before due to SIDS and you never want to lose a child. Children are snatched anywhere, anytime. I saw a thing about a girl taken at a little league ball game, she was playing with her friends catching fireflies, paused at her car to dump the sand from her shoes and then was gone. I feel I have a more developed sense of judgment than my child and know how to react to situations (ie I would know if someone were following us around a store or if I was being watched in a parking lot). I suppose to give an answer, I would say that I would not leave the child alone in the car (and this depends on where you are, for instance a parking lot with easy freeway access may be more prone to an attack than a downtown one) until they were old enough to go out alone at night, say, 16? (with a cell phone and a group and in a place like a movie theater or mall) It also depends on the child and how attractive they are probably. I do leave my child (6yo) in the car when I go to the post office to check our PO
Box, the entire front is glassed and I can make eye contact with her the whole time (which is about 30 seconds). If I could not get a front park there, she would come in too and I would make it fun telling her she gets to check the mail....
post #15 of 73
The same age that I would be ok with leaving them home alone.

If the kid is goign to sit in the car, I would leave them home in the first place. I would rather have them at home where they can lock the door, use a phone if they need to etc. vs. being alogn in the car where they could be too hot/too cold, get bored and do something dumb etc.
post #16 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by karika View Post
It also depends on the child and how attractive they are probably.


I would likely not be comfortable leaving a child in the car for any length of time (dropping a book in the library book return that's five steps from the parking lot is different). By the time I'd be comfortable leaving her in the car alone, I'd also be comfortable leaving her home alone, and I think I'd prefer that.
post #17 of 73
Many states have laws specifying an age; I'd check on that first!
post #18 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post
My boys are 7 and 4 and beg to stay in the car when I'm doing something "boring." I leave them, with the heat on in cold weather or the windows cracked in nice weather. I would not leave them if it was over 75º out. They lock the doors and stay in the car talking or reading. I only leave them if they are together. They know not to unlock or open the doors unless there is an emergency.
My 7 yr. old walks home from school alone and will probably be allowed to stay home alone within the next year or two. He's proven himself over and over to be responsible and capable.
My mom always let me stay in the car reading as a kid, I biked over a mile to school at 6, I stayed home after school with my little sister starting at 7, and was babysitting other peoples' children at 10. Every memory I have of these things is of feeling trustworthy and competent and I don't believe the world is a more dangerous place now. My kid is more likely to be hit by a car crossing the parking lot with me, or get in a fatal wreck on the way to or from the store, than to be what? kidnapped from a locked car in a store parking lot? sitting in the car for 10 minutes.


Thank you for writing this. I find it very disturbing that many parents seem to live their lives (and rule their kids lives) with a worst case scenario mentality. One woman I babysat for wouldn't let her 10 year old ride around their upper class, virtually no traffic neighborhood on his bike. Another family had me ride with their seven year old's down the street of their upper class neighborhood to their friend's house.
post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetpeppers View Post


Thank you for writing this. I find it very disturbing that many parents seem to live their lives (and rule their kids lives) with a worst case scenario mentality. One woman I babysat for wouldn't let her 10 year old ride around their upper class, virtually no traffic neighborhood on his bike. Another family had me ride with their seven year old's down the street of their upper class neighborhood to their friend's house.
Maybe the worst possible thing happened to them so they know how easy it is to happen to a child and they want to protect their kid from that pain. I don't see how other people's decisions as knowledgeable parents should in any way disturb someone who isn't in that family. It isn't as though they are making everyone in the parking lot come into the store with them so it in no way affects the people who choose not to believe that something bad will ever happen to their kid.
post #20 of 73
I'm with Sweetpepper & MJB on this. I don't know, as we're definetly not there yet, but I'd guess somewhere around 6-8yrs depending on maturity. Thats also the age I could see leaving them home alone for a half hour to an hour while I ran into town really quick. Kids get 'snatched' very, very rarely. Kids die in cars *EVERY* day. The paranoia over kidnapping is insane and way, way, way overblown. We can't protect our kids from everything. Some things are worth being 'extra' safe - erf, for example. Other things, like never, ever, under any circumstances leaving kids in the car till their 13 or 14, or not leaving them home-alone till 10 or 12, just aren't. But whatever.
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