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Leaving sleeping children in the car for under 3 minutes - Page 17

post #321 of 407
Originally Posted by LilyGrace View Post
I was reading one of the stories under "miscellaneous" that seemed to fit this. A 9mo, left alone in the car for under 4 minutes while her mom ran inside the grocery, became tangled in a carseat strap and strangled herself.

That seems to fit almost exactly within the scenario given.
Scary stuff, but...

Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
The scary thing is, couldn't the 9mo have also choked herself on her carseat strap while mom was driving and thought she was asleep? Aren't some children still rear-facing at this age? I'm not saying I'd feel comfortable leaving my baby to go into a grocery store -- but this seems like a case where something was wrong with the carseat strap, for her to be capable of strangling herself with it.
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
My conclusion was that she either had a faulty car seat, or she did not have her child properly buckle in, in which case this has ZERO to do with leaving the child alone, and everything to do with user-error. The child could have done the same thing while she was driving.
...this is also absolutely true.

Originally Posted by LilyGrace View Post
Or it could have been an unused tether strap. If the child had done the same thing while she was driving, there probably would have been noise - a wheezing at the least.
Maybe there would have been a noise. If the child is rear-facing, the mom wouldn't necessarily have known anything was wrong. My kids make noise all the time while I'm driving. If the child choked to death in under 4 minutes, then it could have easily happened while the mom was driving...and depending on the circumstances, there's absolutely no guarantee that the mom could have done anything about it. There are places where pulling over safely is nearly impossible. I'd guess that the most likely scenario would have been that the mom would have arrived at her destination and found her baby dead. Something went very wrong there.
post #322 of 407
I don't know if any one has mentioned this,but, what if you have a freak accident while your child is locked in your car?

I once was about to lock dd in the car(in her seat) while I stepped 3 spots over to the cart spot. Then Irealised that if a car went out of control or a hole opened up or some other freak occurance happened, dd would be all alone in the car and no one would know to check for her
That is why I don't leave kids alone in a vehicle- ya just never know.
post #323 of 407
there was a case recently near me where a cell phone charger left plugged into the cigarette lighter caught on fire, even though the car was turned off and the keys were not in the ignition.

for some strange reason, the van door was open while it sat in the driveway, and two little girls were playing in it.

One of them was airlifted to ICU.

I personally would not leave my child out of my sightline in a car.

I do leave him in the carseat while I check the mail or go to the ATM (pull up to the firelane next to the machine). I feel that there are times when the potential risk from standing that close to traffic (the mailbox) or possibly running off and into the street while I am endorsing a check are greater than the risk of being in the car, 5 steps away from me.
post #324 of 407
Some people are just looking for it, I feel. I left dd's favorite toy in a small shoe store. I called and the woman said she would leave it on the counter by the cash register. I pulled up in the handicapped parking space right in front of the store, at the same time that another woman pulled up 2 spaces down. DD was crying and she saw me get out of my car and RUN in. The doors were propped open, and the store was small. I was about 15 feet from dd. I was in the store for only 10 SECONDS, and when I came out, she was standing beside my car, looking right in and gave me a dirty look. I think she was bored and just had her mind set on a situation that never really came about. I almost think she was bummed out that it wasn't worse, so that she could tell me off.

I'd do the same as well, but only because it was a 711, she could still see the car and was only gone for 30 seconds and only because it was 60 degrees out and she was parked in shade.
post #325 of 407
Yes I will let you know the end result of this. I have contacted several lawyers who said that the police cannot prove anything. However, we don't have $10K or more to pay for a lawyer. The prosecuter said, 'I would NEVER leave my kids in a car for a few minutes." I wanted to ask, 'when did this become about personal opinion? I would NEVER circumcise my kids."
However, he was so rude and would not let me say anything. He attempted to belittle me and treat me like I was an idiot.
He did 'offer' a plea deal. He said they would reduce the charge to disorderly conduct, which the entire situation has NOTHING to do with that. He stated that ,"you just can't leave a 4 and 6 year old in a car, you just can't. You need to be punished in some way."
Prior to this instance, I would have never fathomed the possibility that I could be put in a position like this. I now realize how many persons slip through the cracks in our judicial system who are truly innocent.
The fact remains that obviously the prosecuter thinks this is a somewhat ridiculous case. He yelled at me at one point, "I just want to HEAR you say you were wrong." i think he needs this tidbit of info in order to 'get' me in court. I simply replied evenly, "I did not endanger my kids."

I agree that in larger cities, the police are doing important things! Any charge I have read about pertaining to a parent leaving a child in a car, the temperature has been hot and it's usually for at least 30 minutes and the police are there before the parent so they have 'proof'. None of these applied in my situation.

Anyhow, it's the Board of Nursing who would take my license. Any conviction of child endangerment in Ohio causes you to be unemployable (because it's a VERY serious charge). Plus I have spent my entire career (I'm only 28 though =) in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit which is with babies, so the charge would be even worse considering where I work.

If anyone would like to write this prosecuter, or call him and ask him to drop the charge, just e-mail me and I can give you his info. I need all the help I can get in this horrible situation!
take care!!
post #326 of 407
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
Sorry, but I refuse to perpetuate the use of a euphemism whose primary purpose is to disguise from both master and servant the nature of the job being performed, the enormity of the economic disparity that goes with it, and the attendant powerlessness and frequent exploitation of this job. OBVIOUSLY not everyone is exploited -- and the same is true of other professions in which there is frequent exploitation, such as prostitution -- but exploitation, as other posters have pointed out, is fairly rampant.

I refuse to subscribe to a term that lends some air of artificial glamour to this profession. "Au pair" sounds adorably French, as if one went around in a starched black-and-white uniform carrying little hatboxes from Fauchon. "Nanny" has the lovely English glamour of Mary Poppins and makes one sound Earl Grey efficient. The reality for most servants is quite different.
None of my au pairs had much "economic disparity" from us. Our Au Pairs were Students from upper middle class homes in Spain and (from an upper class home) in Mexico. Their parents were respecitively, Doctor, Lawyer, School Principal, Artist and Business Owner.

Like many young people they were in a work/study program. They were here to learn the language so that they could continue to pursue their profession as teachers/school administrators at the highest levels. (All of my Au Pairs were studying at the college level to be teachers)

They took college classes here (Which is REQUIRED UNDER FEDERAL LAW for all real au pairs) and babysat for my kids a few hours per day as part of the program. They recieved room and board, full health benefits and paid time off including vacations. They spent their time off at school or going out with friends.
post #327 of 407
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post
there was a case recently near me where a cell phone charger left plugged into the cigarette lighter caught on fire, even though the car was turned off and the keys were not in the ignition.

for some strange reason, the van door was open while it sat in the driveway, and two little girls were playing in it.

One of them was airlifted to ICU.
And I would imagine it took a lot more than three minutes for the van to be up in flames from an small electrical fire. You are talking about children playing, unsupervised in a vehicle.
Totally different from children sleeping in a vehicle that the adult is watching.
post #328 of 407
Ocean2- It seems that since the death of the little girl left in the car in Clermont county ( we live in Ohio in the county next to Clermont) everyone around here is watching for people who have left children in the car. There are a lot of very angry people that the Mother wasn't charged with anything. I wouldn't leave a child of any age in a car for a second around here these days.
post #329 of 407
It was a very sad case about that little girl. She was 2 I believe. It's fine if the town where I live wants to slap me on the wrist and say don't do it again, even though I had no idea you could not leave a 4 and 6 y/o in a car for minutes. Obviously I would have never done so if I knew I was about to lose everything. It seems a bit ridiculous to me that they want to put me in jail, fine me $1000 and of course, like I mentioned, everything that I've worked for in my entire life will be gone. I'm sure it will be great for my children for me to have to go back to college right now and get another degree in something that I won't need a license for.
My husband and I are seriously considering moving back to California, where we moved to Ohio from just last year. In California, you can leave in kid in a car for a little bit if the car is not running or keys are not in a car or if the conditions won't harm the health of the child. If you violate these, they still aren't going to charge you with a felony, you get a $100 fine, but you aren't considered a 'criminal' like where I am currently.

I though it was logical to surmise that since Ohio does not have law, it wasn't illegal. Last Tuesday, I followed the California law to a 'T'.

Sigh....If the prosecutor won't drop it, then I will be on 'probation' for 6 months and have a 'record'. I'm afraid to nurse my baby in public now as well. She is one and we all know that one year olds constantly try to take the blanket off of their head. I can just see someone calling the police for "indecent exposure".

anyhow,take care,
post #330 of 407
Ocean2 - I couldn't read this thread w/o offering hugs and support. I am so sorry this is happening to you. I would like to believe that prosecuters in ANY city have better and more important things to do than to pick on someone like you. Considering there is no law, specific to leaving your child unattended in a vehicle, I don't understand how you broke any law? Good luck and please keep us posted.

post #331 of 407
Thanks mama2ablessing,
it means alot to me that others don't think I'm a 'criminal'. When I was in court last week, I heard other cases since I was waiting (I asked for a continuance for more time so I go back next week), there were many people who had either a DUI or theft or whatever. Only one or 2 got jail time, the others were just fined. It seems so ridiculous to me that I am now a 'criminal'?
I am going to write the police dept and the prosecutor (since he would not let me talk and the person who hired the prosecutor to complain. This man was extremely rude! My husband said that a man sitting near him had a question for the prosecutor and was very rude to him as well. The man turned to the police officer who was overseeing everything and said, "Is he always this rude and mean to people?". I tried to tell the prosecutor that i could see the kids the entire time I was in line (which was the majority of the time) and he interupted yelling, "OH so your going to sit here and TELL me that you could see your car. Is that what you are going to say, COME ON!"

Even though there is no law, I was told that they consider it "child endangerment". The prosecutor told me that "what if a person hits your parked car?" Then said, "I know that is far fetched, but..." um, yeah, it is. Besides my kids were in their car seats and how fast can you go in a parking lot???
The police dept said, "what if your car blows up?" I suppose it is quite common for vehicles to spontaneously combust! I had the keys with me for goodness sakes!
Anyhow, my homebirth midwife is writing a letter as well and she has forwarded my e-mail to many people. So hopefully the prosecuter will see that many people are watching this case closely.
thanks for your support!
take care!
post #332 of 407
Thread Starter 
Ocean2, you need a lawyer. I know it seems like a huge expense, but compared to losing your ability to practice your profession or the cost of going back to school to get a new one and the long term stigma of being considered a criminal, it is reasonable.

You should be getting one free if you cannot afford one, but really find a way to get a lawyer. This is ridiculous and a good lawyer can make sure a judge sees it that way.
post #333 of 407
Hi Siobhang,
I have contacted 2 lawyers and a magistrate that my aunt and uncle know (who works in the judicial system in my town) and ALL have told me that this is outrageous and I was not endangering my kids. My only concern is that if I pay 10 or 15 thousand dollars, what if I don't win? What if the judge decides that i need to be an "example"?
The prosecutor decided on Thursday that he would also let me have a 'plea bargain' on disorderly conduct instead. I have no idea how it correlates, but he said it is a lesser charge. Or he would do a diversion program for the child endangerment (because he realizes this is idiotic).

he stated that 'I realize that this wasn't as serious as most child endangerment, but you still must be punished. you just can't leave a 4 and 6 year old in a car. if I let you off, then I'll have to do it for everyone."

So I assume to help him justify himself, he so kindly 'offered' the diversion program. However, the board of nursing does not care about the diversion program, for my license I still must write any conviction regardless of a diversion program. Also, for a disorderly conduct, some boards of nursing are Ok, they might fine you extra or whatever some aren't. the Ohio board of nursing won't say whether they will let you or not. I've read that some will allow you to practice as an RN, but not an advanced practice RN. I had decided that when my kids are older (like youngest is in first grade) that I was going to get my masters to either be a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist. Plus, who knows in a few years if any boards of nursing will allow persons with a misdemeanor to practice at all. I might still be able to be an RN in california, but it would mean selling our house that we just purchased a year ago and moving 2500 miles away from family and friends again.

I have a friend who graduated from Standford law school a few years ago and she obviously thinks this is outrageous, but she also said that she finds no correlation with the disorderly conduct and child endangerment.

Anyhow, I am off to obtain a copy of the police report. I was told that this police officer is fairly new (obviously) and I want to be sure he wrote the facts correctly. If he didn't, I would assume this can be thrown out. For example, I know that he didn't see the kids alone in the car because I was out there before he arrived since I was inside for such a short time. If he writes that he saw the kids in the car or whatever, I will just acquire a copy of the security tape.
I will see what I can find out and if I can find enough relatives to borrow $ if needed.
Take care!!!
post #334 of 407
Originally Posted by rharr! View Post
I don't know if any one has mentioned this,but, what if you have a freak accident while your child is locked in your car?

I once was about to lock dd in the car(in her seat) while I stepped 3 spots over to the cart spot. Then Irealised that if a car went out of control or a hole opened up or some other freak occurance happened, dd would be all alone in the car and no one would know to check for her
That is why I don't leave kids alone in a vehicle- ya just never know.
Do you shower while there are no other adults in your home? What if you slipped and fell while in the shower? What if you had some kind of health emergency while alone with your kids. If you follow this line of thinking no one should ever be alone while in the care of children "just in case".

Freak accidents can occur at anytime...
post #335 of 407
Just adding my observation here...

For me the greatest danger in leaving kids alone in a car is not abduction or freak accidents, but interior temperature of the car. It is mysterious and frightening to me how quickly and how high the temperature inside of a car can rise, even on a cool day. For that reason, I don't dare leave my kids in a car with the windows closed, even if it's below freezing out, not even for a minute. And so because, with the windows open, they'd be more accessible to passersby than I'm comfortable with, that means that I pretty much don't leave them alone in the car. I'd skip the coffee, pay at the pump, go out of my way to go to a drive-through ATM. The only time I've "left" either kid in the car is when they're fast asleep and we're home and it's mild weather. Then I'll roll down the windows, park in the driveway, slip out of my seat and go relax on the porch about 20 feet away. Hmm, I guess I also leave them momentarily as I unload groceries into the house. Even then, the back hatch is open so they're getting plenty of fresh air.
post #336 of 407
With humidity a car can heat up pretty quickly. In my instance, I knew it wouldn't heat up in less than 10 minutes because we had just gotten into the van that had been sitting in a parking lot at the gardens for an hour and a half and it was not hot. It was sitting in the sun as well. I had long pants on and a short sleeved shirt and I did not even turn the air on once we got in to head over to the store.
My son also had long pants on and the girls each wore a dress and had a jacket.

For anyone who is interested, I did obtain a copy of the Police Report and the officer stated, "They (the 4 and 6.5 year old) did not appear to be in distress, in fact they were smiling and looked happy."

OK, this just makes me more upset. I am glad that the cop didn't lie and was fair, but the fact that they had no evidence to charge me with???

take care!!!
post #337 of 407
I just have a feeling this is all going to be resolved (in your favor) way faster than you think. I DEFINITELY wouldn't do any kind of a plea bargain. You know, and everyone concerned knows, that you did nothing wrong. I hope the case is dropped before you have to go in debt for a lawyer -- but if not, I agree with Siobhang that it's worth the cost to keep your career and your good reputation.
post #338 of 407
Oh, and maybe the judge just feels pressured to act like he takes these cases "seriously," because of the tragedy with the 2yo girl.
post #339 of 407
Originally Posted by aran View Post
I'm going to have to disagree with the PPs and say that I think the au pair was just plain wrong to leave the kids alone. I would not have been comfortable if my nanny did that. I wouldn't worry about heat in the scenario you described, but about not being able to get to them quickly in case of an emergency, or mistakenly locking keys in the car, or one of the kids waking up and being scared and confused.

In my state it is illegal for licensed family daycare providers to leave a child unattended in a car... at all. I know that's not the same as an au pair, but the concept is the same.

If it were me, I'd wait until my boys woke up and go in all together (since we're going to the park anyhow... they need to wake up for that) or go through the Dunkin Doughnuts drive thru for water/milk, or I would have foregone the drinks.
I agree. I would never leave my child in the car alone for any amount of time.
post #340 of 407
Mammal mama,
Thanks, I hope so. I haven't typed them yet, but I have written a letter to both the police chief and the prosecuter. No matter how this is resolved, I am going to write a letter to the prosecutor's superior for the extremely rude behavior he exhibited.

If he doesn't dismiss it, I may take the plea bargain. I'm just afraid, "what if" the judge decides to make an example of me. Then I will be worse off and will probably have to go to jail. I now understand COMPLETELY how innocent people end up in prision. It is so sad. As a law abiding citizen, I would have never comprehended myself to be in this situation. I also grew up in a very small town and many people left their small kids and babies in a car with the windows down. Since I have researched this topic extensively now I have found that in some states, you must be 14 to be home alone! 14!!!!! I was babysitting children aged 6 months when I was 12. I'm 28 that wasn't THAT long ago. It amazes me.

My parents (who are both teachers by the way) left me at home alone with my younger sister when I was 8 if they needed to go to the store briefly or something. I suppose nowadays, she would be arrested and myself and my siblings would be in CPS custody. It's ridiculous.

Another thing on the police report. When the witness called about the kids in my car, they guessed that they were both under the age of 4! My 6.5 year old is 4 feet tall. He's pretty tall for his height. I've never met a 3 year old who is 48 inches! My 4 year old is 42 inches tall. I'm guessing that since we require our kids to be in booster seats, she wrongly 'assumed' that they were under 4 since that is the 'law' in Ohio.
I suppose I could start calling the police on parents who don't have their children in a booster seat if they are over the age of 4!
I feel a bit better today and have even been able to eat a little better, I am so emaciated from not being able to eat from the stress.

Anyhow, keep praying, I know that God can and does make miracles!

Take care!!
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