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#1 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 03:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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since I figured I would get flamed. But maybe it will make someone else think, so that would be worth it.

Dh and I were out of town with the kids for the weekend. Today before heading home, we stopped to do some shopping. I went into a home decor store, while dh stayed out in the van with the kids. I found some stuff for the house, but wanted dh to see it before I bought anything, so I went over the window (he was parked right in front of the store) and motioned him inside. He came inside, saw the items I wanted him to see, and then I asked him to look around a little bit to see if there was anything else he saw. He was in the store for maybe ten minutes, tops.

One of the things we bought was an area rug, so he took that out to the van while I paid and finished up inside. As I left the store, I saw a police car parked next to our van, and two officers talking to dh.

Apparently whoever was parked beside our van noticed when they were getting in their vehicle that the kids were in it alone. The police officers were at a nearby restaurant, so the people drove over and told them.

I swear they were doing the "good cop, bad cop" routine -- one was (IMO) really rude. He made a huge deal of the fact that there were four kids in the van (I'm not trying to make light of it, but would it really have made a difference if there were only one or two?) Then he gave us (well, me) a huge lecture about how some crackhead could smash the window and just take off with our kids and we would never see them again...









But he's right. And I feel like shit.

I have never been so scared in my life -- I was terrified I was going to lose my children. And over something so stupid. I could have stayed at the van while dh went in. We could (in theory) have all gone in -- it would likely have resulted in some "you broke it, you buy it" purchases, but we could have done that. So many other options, but this one was the most convenient for us -- dh and me.

Now comes the hard part... admitting that I have left my kids alone in the van before. Lots. When I drop dd#2 off at school, the younger ones stay in the van. No more. My convenience is NOTHING compared to my children.

Oh, God, please, don't flame me. I'm sure some of you want to, but really -- I don't think I can take it. : Just learn from my lesson, and never ever leave your children in a vehicle.

I know I won't, ever again. I am just grateful beyond grateful that I didn't learn this lesson a harder way.
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#2 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 03:45 AM
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I don't really see the problem with leaving the oldest in the van for a few minutes, but the younger ones? No way. Still, I've done it too. I left DS alone in the car when he was 2 or 3 while I ran into the post office and I've felt bad about it ever since. Nothing horrible happened, but someone from work saw and yelled at me for it the next day

It's not totally your fault anyway. Your DH was out in the car with the kids and he should have brought them inside with him.
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#3 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 03:46 AM
 
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How about I not flame you but the cops? : I'm sorry you were made to feel badly. Your oldest should be old enough to babysit (in Oregon it's legal anyway) and that negates the whole problem.

ETA: I noticed after I posted your are in Canada and I don't know babysitting laws there, but still, bad stuff could happen to a baby sitter at home, hell, a crackhead could smash in the window with you right there (which is probably more likely, as they think you'd have money to steal).

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#4 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 03:53 AM
 
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to you and your family! No flames here. When I was a little older than your 2nd dc (I remember being 8 or so) my parents left me in the car by myself for short periods of time somewhat frequently. Definately when I was your oldest dc's age. And my little brother would be left with me, and he's 4.5 years younger than I am. Not saying it was right, but it definately wasn't as "wrong" as it is today. I wouldn't want to go in with them and would read a book instead. We knew to keep the doors locked and all that.
I don't know if I really had a point, but I just wanted to offer a and tell you I'm glad you learned from this, and that I don't think you are horrible for this, if anything, your a great parent from feeling bad and learning instead of just getting mad and blaming it on someone else!

Wife to D (12/03) and totally smitten Mama to DD (4/05) DS (2/09) and expecting DD#2  6/23/11
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#5 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 03:57 AM
 
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Your oldest is old enough to be alone in a car briefly, IMO. Leaving the younger ones for very long wouldn't work for me, but I might leave a younger sib with an 11 year old depending on each of them. (Each kid is different, etc.) So even though I agree your Dh should have taken at least the wee ones in with him they didn't have to be rude to you.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#6 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 04:04 AM
 
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Umm, I am pretty sure in this province that an 11 year old can babysit. I would have left kids in the car with an 11 year old (depending on the 11 year old).
No flames here mama, that sucks that the cops gave you a bad time.

Vanessa belly.gif, wife to Kev , mama to Byron (5) wild.gif and Billie (2) and  due in June
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#7 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 04:27 AM
 
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They were alone for only a few minutes, and your oldest is 11? Sheesh, the cops had no reason to yell at you! A baby left for a long period of time, yes, that would be a problem, but what you did, absolutely not.
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#8 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 05:31 AM
 
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Wait, your 11yo was in the car and the cops were called? That's a bit odd, because in many places, 11yo's can legally babysit. Maybe whoever called didn't see him or thought he was younger?

I leave my 14yo in the car with my 4.5yo when I run into the bank or such.

"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston

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#9 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 05:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna View Post
They were alone for only a few minutes, and your oldest is 11? Sheesh, the cops had no reason to yell at you! A baby left for a long period of time, yes, that would be a problem, but what you did, absolutely not.

Totally agree here. You were in a store, you could see your car and the oldest in the car was 11!!!

I"ve left my kids in the car for a brief run into the gas station to pay. I've always been able to see them (obviously talking about when the older ones were younger) through the store window.

I actually asked a policeman friend once about this and he told me technically leaving the child in the car in not illegal but when they can/do call CPS. He told me stories about a 1 yr old sleeping in the carseat of a food store parking lot, someone called, and when mom came out she was mad at the police for interfering. She was food shopping - not even a quick run in!
Or once at the mall, three kids and the oldest was 4 or 5, left alone in the car. Crazy stuff!

Kim , mom to Amanda (16):, William (13), and Annie (5)
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#10 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 06:12 AM
 
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That's nothin'....I was a police dispatcher and got a call about a baby (6mo) in a car alone....in Texas...inSUMMER...for an hour!!! Her grandma did it...her excuse "Uh, she's in the shade, and the windows opened." Oh, and it was the mother and baby of a fellow dispatcher...who was not very happy when we called and told her how her mom "babysat"!

Anyways...I think what you did is reasonable, with the 11 yo there and the short timeframe and all.
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#11 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 06:19 AM
 
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Hun an 11 year old in Indiana is a legal babystter. I think those Cops were just bored imo. Don't feel bad at ALL! Your babies were very safe imo with your 11 year old!
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#12 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 06:58 AM
 
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I don't think the cops were out looking for people to yell at, the OP stated they were eating in the area and somebody else brought the van to their attention, or they were getting in the car and saw the kids.

I won't flame you, but I'm glad you have rethought your stance on this.
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#13 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 07:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SquishyKitty View Post
I don't think the cops were out looking for people to yell at, the OP stated they were eating in the area and somebody else brought the van to their attention, or they were getting in the car and saw the kids.
She also stated

I swear they were doing the "good cop, bad cop" routine -- one was (IMO) really rude.

And I do know MANY MANY cops in our area who do this for no reason just so they have something to do. My mom worked in Dispatch and dealt with a lot of them.

With an 11 year old in the van I don't think the cop had a right to give her a long lecture and be rude about it. That's obviously just me though :
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#14 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 08:41 AM
 
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An 11 yr. old is old enough to be alone for 10 min. - geez! Sorry they were like that...

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#15 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 10:10 AM
 
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Tiny detail, the oldest child is 10, not 11.

But that's still plenty old enough to be left in charge of siblings for a few minutes. That cop had no reason to yell at you in that situation. I am glad that you've rethought leaving your youngest in the car.
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#16 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 10:16 AM
 
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I'm sorry the cop was such a jerk to you.

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#17 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 10:36 AM
 
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I have an 11 year old daughter. I leave her in the car with the two year old when I run in ths store. I don't have a smidgen of a problem with it.
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#18 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 10:50 AM
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I'm glad you learned your lesson
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#19 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 10:57 AM
 
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Add me to the list of those who think your 10-year-old is perfectly capable of being left in charge of your little ones for a couple of minutes while you and DH are within a few feet of the vehicle.
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#20 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 11:00 AM
 
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yes ITA, a 10 year old is old enough to watch their siblings in the car for a few minutes.
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#21 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 11:03 AM
 
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Depending on the 10/11 year old i dont see an issue with them being in the car in sight of you. I babysat for 10 hour days at 10 and was left in charge of a 1 year old at 12. I took that baby on walks around the neighborhood, crossed busy streets etc. I think it depends on the kid.
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#22 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 05:15 PM
 
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I leave my 11 (well, she'll be 12 in a few days) year old dd in the car with my almost 4 year old occasionally. This would be for something like going in to pay for gas at a gas station, or dropping something off at a friend's house when I don't want the kids to get out. I would not leave them in the car together if the little one was not buckled into her car seat. Also, I do not plan on ever leaving my older dd in the car alone with the infant I'll be having any day now. I don't think the OP was in the wrong though, if her dd is old enough to legally babysit wherever she lives. She just has a different comfort level than I have.
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#23 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 05:45 PM
 
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I am normally all about not leaving the kids in the car for any reason ever because you just never know BUT as many others here have said, I was babysitting by that age. I am certain an 11 year old can manage a few younger kids in carseats for five minutes when s/he can SEE Mom and Dad from where s/he sits.

It's not like you parked them with the keys in, windows down, middle of winter, a gun, and a fifth of vodka outside a crackhouse while you went in to "take care of some business."

Safety is great, caution is wonderful, but at some point people are just losing sight of the point.
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#24 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 06:34 PM
 
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#25 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 06:34 PM
 
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* wow, my first triple post. way to go, computer!!!
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#26 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 06:35 PM
 
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i'm with those that think a 10 year old is perfectly capable of staying with the kids in the car for a few minutes. in my neighborhood, it's quite common.
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#27 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 08:02 PM
 
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ITA, 10 yo is old enough to watch siblings for a few minutes - and I have a 10 yo as my oldest.

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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#28 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 08:20 PM
 
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No flames from me either. 10 almost 11 is definitely old enough to sit in the car for a few minutes IMO. But if you feel bad enough to never do it again I think that's very big of you.
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#29 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 08:31 PM
 
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Maybe it's because I live in a very small area, but I have left my 11 year old in the car with his 2 year old sister while I ran in to pay for gas, etc - I have also had him watch her while I take a shower. He's a huge help, very responsible, and an excellent big brother. My mother left me home alone with my sisters when I was nine, let alone left us in the car, with heat or whatever, while she did short errands. I really don't get why they made such a big to-do about it, honestly. Was it a long ten minutes? I suppose I've never gone more than probably 5, but still, sheesh.
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#30 of 36 Old 04-10-2007, 08:36 PM
 
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Then he gave us (well, me) a huge lecture about how some crackhead could smash the window and just take off with our kids and we would never see them again...
With that rationale, you should just kill yourself now, b/c you're not safe in your home, either.

I'm sorry those cops made such a big deal over this and I'm sorry you felt so chastised and bad about it. It was not a big deal, IMO. I suppose if you agree with the cops, that's your right, but I certainly don't.
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