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Leaving an infant alone in an apartment?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
My MIL has told me a few times that when my DH was a baby/toddler (he's the firstborn) she would have to leave for work during his nap so she'd leave him asleep in his crib, lock the door to the apartment, and the lady in the apartment next door would turn on a baby monitor. When he woke up and cried, neighbor lady would go fetch him and bring him back to her apartment until MIL and FIL were home from work.

Does that sound totally scary to anyone else? She says it like it was 100% normal, totally fine, not a problem in the least. The thought of this scenario makes me so nervous though, and it happened 20+ years ago!

Would this be illegal in this day and age? What about in the mid-late 80s when this occurred?
post #2 of 35
It seems wrong to me and I would have put the baby down for a nap at the sitter's.

But it also doesn't seem so much worse than working in the yard or being on a different floor from your sleeping child either.
post #3 of 35
Considering neighbor had a baby monitor, to me its just like having a big house and being inthe basement while your lo is alseep. It just sounds worse because babe was technically alone in the actual apartment. Plus it was probably nice for you dh to go to sleep in his own bed with his mom.
post #4 of 35
I don't think I would really be ok with that. One wouldn't be aware of issues that might not make a baby cry.
post #5 of 35
I don't see how thats much different from being outside while my boys sleep, or downstairs or anything with a baby monitor. So... yeah, I'd be OK with that.
post #6 of 35
My gut reaction didnt have any bells going off, and I am the biggest worry wort on the planet! I am one of those idiots who wont leave my kids in a locked, cool, car to go in the station and pay for gas with cash or buy a gallon of milk. Like PPs said, with the monitor in hand, it just seems like being outside while the baby was inside sleeping.

Hell, I just did this with DS1 yesterday during his nap. He went down, but DS2 had already had a nap and it was to beautiful out to sit inside for 2.5 hours. So I just kept popping my head in the sliding glass door to make sure he hadnt woke yet. We were prolly 20 feet from him.

My only question is did MIL lock the front door to the apartment and the neighbor lady had a key? If Not, and she just left the door unlocked, then YES, that would be a problem for me.
post #7 of 35
I'd be okay with that. It doesn't sound any different than leaving a baby sleep inside while mom is out working in the yard or in a different part of the house.
post #8 of 35
The fact that she needed to lock the apartment makes it unsafe to me.

If she felt safe enough leaving her apartment unlocked and the neighbor lady peeked in on the baby about every half hour then it'd be fine.

When we leave a baby to go do laundry in the basement or outside for yardwork or what have you, we come back in from time to time to check on things.

Personally, in that situation, I'd feel more safe rolling the crib to the neighbor's place.
post #9 of 35
On the surface, it sounds bad to me-baby alone in an apartment. But when you think about it, I have put my little one down for a nap in the house upstairs, and then taken the moniter out into the yard to work in the garden. And I am not sure that's all that different.

Now, when you say apartment next door, I am thinking apartment building where the units are actually right next do each other with adjoining walls, making the neighbor's apartment just as close as the next room really. If what you really mean by next door is like next building over in the complex, that's too far for me.

Today though, even with neighbor being right next door and having a monitor, I can absolutely see this resulting in a DFS investigation at some point.
post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
The fact that she needed to lock the apartment makes it unsafe to me.

If she felt safe enough leaving her apartment unlocked and the neighbor lady peeked in on the baby about every half hour then it'd be fine.
It doesn't matter how "safe" where I live is. I'm locking my door regardless of the potential for someone breaking in or not.

Since the door was locked and the neighbor had a monitor, I think it was just fine. No different than being downstairs or upstairs or in the basement or outside.
post #11 of 35
We did things like that all the time when I was a kid. It was totally normal back then.

Parents would leave the kids sleeping at home while they did a quick grocery shopping or took the older kids to school, or took dad to work. I remember having a friend who's sons were little when we were in high school. She refused to even leave them alone in the house while she went out front to water the lawn. We all thought she was crazy.

We wouldn't do it now, but at that time, it wasn't uncommon.
post #12 of 35
I don't love the idea, but it doesn't sound too terrible. As long as someone was paying attention to him.

My mom used to leave the babies asleep in their cribs while she walked to the store for milk and stuff. Now the thought of that makes me panic a little.
post #13 of 35
20 yrs ago? Doesn't even raise my eyebrows. My stepmother told me she used to give her son whatever anti-colic thing was popular then--perga-something?--because it would make him sleep, and then she'd go down to her complex's pool, leaving him 100% alone in the crib. She said she needed a break.

Honestly, I think the hands-on/AP/helicopter parenting we see now is a direct result of the horribly lax parenting of the 70's-80's.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Honestly, I think the hands-on/AP/helicopter parenting we see now is a direct result of the horribly lax parenting of the 70's-80's.
I believe it. I know that sometimes I go overboard with giving my kids time/attention/things they don't really need cause I'm trying to prevent them from feeling like I did as a kid (neglected).
post #15 of 35
I live in an apartment complex and my neighbor has left me with a baby monitor while her kid sleeps and she needs to do something. The distance from her baby's room to my living room is the same as the distance between the kitchen and master bedroom in my parent's house. I wouldn't do it myself, but I'm too paranoid to let my kid sleep in a crib. No kidding, I'm afraid to let her sleep on a separate surface from me and dh.
post #16 of 35
Honestly, I think the hands-on/AP/helicopter parenting we see now is a direct result of the horribly lax parenting of the 70's-80's.[/QUOTE]

I think it may be due to 24 hour news channels. People were way more laid back in the 50's and earlier.
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Considering neighbor had a baby monitor, to me its just like having a big house and being inthe basement while your lo is alseep. It just sounds worse because babe was technically alone in the actual apartment. Plus it was probably nice for you dh to go to sleep in his own bed with his mom.
I would choose an alternative (because I am paranoid). But I agree with this.

My children sleep in a room in our house that is farther from me than a next-door apartment would be. On another floor.

Because apartments have shared hallways, the locked door makes sense and doesn't mean it's any more dangerous. I lock my doors too, not because we're in a dangerous area, but because I don't want the possibility of random strangers walking in (especially the neighbor kids, who are prone to wandering.)
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
The fact that she needed to lock the apartment makes it unsafe to me.

If she felt safe enough leaving her apartment unlocked and the neighbor lady peeked in on the baby about every half hour then it'd be fine.

When we leave a baby to go do laundry in the basement or outside for yardwork or what have you, we come back in from time to time to check on things.

Personally, in that situation, I'd feel more safe rolling the crib to the neighbor's place.

I dont see how this is relevant. I never used to lock my doors. We are one block over from the police station and the neighborhood is filled with a few SAHMs and a lot of elderly who love to sit in their bay windows watching the world go by. One morning I awoke to a strange man sleeping in my basement on the couch. Judging by looks and cleanliness he wasn't homeless. He was dressed in dress pant, shirt, and tie. Dh and I didn't know who was or why he was there. Before waking him, we checked out the house, purse in plain sight was still there, back sliding door that we did always lock was open, all electronics and jewelry were there. Turns out our neighbors had friends from out of town for a wedding. We live in a mirror-image duplex, and the dude was too wasted to know which house was which. He was completely innocent, and embarrassed beyond belief but I will never again leave my doors unlocked.
post #19 of 35
good question. i wouldn't do it, but then i'm probably a bit paranoid.
i've heard of moms leaving their babies in the crib sleeping while they went out for a jog around the neighborhood or taking their older kids to the park down the block leaving their baby at home in a crib, so the apartment scenario with a monitor actually sounds pretty safe in comparison.

my mil used to send my husband down to the lake fishing for the day when he was 5 (and drownings were fairly "common" where they lived). by himself. not in view of the house. and would tell him to come home for supper. i don't know, people were a lot more lax back then i think.
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottishmommy View Post
Honestly, I think the hands-on/AP/helicopter parenting we see now is a direct result of the horribly lax parenting of the 70's-80's.
I think it may be due to 24 hour news channels. People were way more laid back in the 50's and earlier.[/QUOTE]

There's another thread going on this but I think it's a perception that it's due to news scare tactics and that may well be part of it, but I can assure you that most of my more "helicopter moments" come from the way we were left on our own as kids and not an irrational fear of stranger danger or whatever.

OP...speaking of which, it's probably not entirely rational since I too gardened outside with a baby monitor when my son was little but I don't think I'd be super comfortable with that.

But yes for sure - my mother used to walk me halfway to JK (7 blocks total) or go to the corner store while my sister was back in the house sleeping. (mid-70s) Many parents would also set up a playpen in a shady spot and stick an older infant/younger toddler in there for a couple of hours outside while doing chores inside so that the child would get fresh air.

I don't think people wondered or cared if it was illegal. It was really common at that time.

So if you're feeling all mama-bear horrified at the practice, just remember that one way or another we're all products of our time and culture. It doesn't mean you have to do the same!
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