Is it illegal or dangerous to leave a kid in the car for 5 minutes? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 10:30 AM
 
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I would personally never feel safe to leave my child alone in a car. We live in a pretty rural - everyone knows your name type of area as well. There are just too many 'what if's'. Though rare, bad things still do happen. And my son is pretty free-range. ...But a lot of those 'what if's' - invovle my son strapped and secure in his car seat (5 point harness) which he is unable to get out of, so even his free-range childhood self wouldn't be able to react appropriatly in some of those 'what if's' situations where he would otherwise be fine (such as playing outside in the garden).

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#62 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 10:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by i*wish View Post
I'm a mom who has left my babe to run in where i can see the car the whole time...BUT I have to share a horror story (of course).

Recently in our town a mom left her kid in the car for a minute when she ran to drop a video in the slot... when she was running back across the parking lot aisle she was hit by a car. Her child was about three years old and SAW THE WHOLE thing.... The mom lost consciousness briefly but was in and out for the most part...the ambulance came and she could see her daughter watching, screaming and crying in the car but she COULD NOT COMMUNICATE to the EMTs that she had a child in the car! She finally got it out and they called her spouse to come for the child but this woman was almost taken to the ER with her child left behind in the car....!
The woman was ok for the most part but mentally she is totally messed up from seeing her child like that and ALSO the child is in counseling for what she witnessed....
food for thought.
Wouldn't the kid have been hit by the car too if they'd both gone? It would have been a bad situation either way.
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#63 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 11:00 AM
 
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you're right mamazee... never thought about that! we'll never know... just thinking about it, though, i bet she was preoccupied with getting back to the car and her child and that's why she wasn't paying attention and got hit (i'm not speculating about the 'not paying attention part' ...she was definitely not paying attention for fact-- neither was the driver--)

it's never a good idea to share a horror story now is it!
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#64 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 11:09 AM
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I wouldn't do it.

what I have done is DH and I went to lunch once. we parked literally in front of the outside table we were sitting at so the car was facing us, with the windows down and my baby sleeping in the carseat in the back.

another time we parked in front of a picnic table. the distance between us and baby would be comparable to going camping and having baby in the tent. it was one of those restaurants where they have tables on the side walk in front of the restaunt and the parking spaces are right in front of the sidewalk.
face the sidewalk.

I would never leave a child unattended for ANY amount of time in a car or otherwise though.
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#65 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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When my child is out in public, she is never out of my sight.
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#66 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 02:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AstridS View Post
No. We don't think you're uptight. You are just living in a much more violent (and maybe more paranoid) culture.
Also, we generally have wireless babymonitors in the pram when we leave our babies outside to sleep, so we can hear when they wake up. So we will hear if someone is approaching the pram and unbuckling the babyharness. And the monitor will sound an alarm if the two units are more than 25 metres apart, so if someone tries to take off with the pram with the baby in it we'll hear it too.
I never leave my babies in the car anywhere but in my own driveway. I'm afraid the car will be run into or something. But I'm not afraid of kidnappers or well meaning strangers calling the authorities. I know that won't happen. Not because strangers don't care about the safety of babies, but because it is generally considered safe to leave a sleeping baby in a car for a few minutes.
Wow! That is fascinating! I had no idea such a thing existed.
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#67 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 07:36 PM
 
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Wouldn't the kid have been hit by the car too if they'd both gone? It would have been a bad situation either way.
You don't know that. It takes longer for mom to get herself and a three year old out of the car which means she could have been crossing the street back too late to be hit by the car.

Every choice we makes affects the future.

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#68 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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Someone might call the police if they see the kid alone in the car and no one around. In some places it's illegal, but that would be a local or state law and not the same everywhere.

Depending on what kind of car you have, it could be very dangerous. My 2 year old is adept at getting out of her carseat when she wants to. One of our cars does not lock the shifter in place (it's a less expensive car, so it doesn't have that safety feature). You can move it to neutral without pressing the brake down. That means that a 2 year old could be in a moving vehicle, rolling into the street, a lake, whatever. My daughter could do it in 30 seconds if she felt like it.

For that and other reasons, I consider it too dangerous to ever leave a kid in the car unattended. I also think that if it becomes a habit, it becomes much easier to forget the child is even in the car, and then tragedy is more likely.

The only time a child is left in the car is if we're in the driveway and bringing groceries in. The car is in sight at all times and the time of absence can be counted in seconds.
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#69 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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They just passed a law in a community where I live that it would be illegal to leave your child in the car even if you were in plain view of the car, even just a few feet away. They were saying on the news that if you pulled up to the mailbox and couldn't reach it and got out of the car just to stand up so you could reach it would be in violation of the law.

When my oldest was a baby he would never nap except in my arms or his car seat. If you tried to pick up the car seat he would wake up. I would go shopping in the afternoon and get food for supper and he would fall asleep on the way home. I would pull up under the carport and the side house door opened to the kitchen. I would leave the car window down some and the house door open and fix dinner. I was within 15 feet of him at all times. That would be illegal under this new law. Even if you are on your own property you can't leave the baby in the car.

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#70 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post
They just passed a law in a community where I live that it would be illegal to leave your child in the car even if you were in plain view of the car, even just a few feet away. They were saying on the news that if you pulled up to the mailbox and couldn't reach it and got out of the car just to stand up so you could reach it would be in violation of the law.

When my oldest was a baby he would never nap except in my arms or his car seat. If you tried to pick up the car seat he would wake up. I would go shopping in the afternoon and get food for supper and he would fall asleep on the way home. I would pull up under the carport and the side house door opened to the kitchen. I would leave the car window down some and the house door open and fix dinner. I was within 15 feet of him at all times. That would be illegal under this new law. Even if you are on your own property you can't leave the baby in the car.

that is a bit excessive. that means if you got out of your seat to get your baby out of theoir seat you would be in violation of the law. it would take the same amount of time to open your door and stand up to grab the mail as it would to open up your door and stand up to get the child out of the car...
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#71 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 08:34 PM
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i don't get the arguement of child abduction being rare. it may be rare, but its possible, and its a risk we dont HAVE to take, so why take it?

I also agree things like carrying in groceries, using the ATM, dropping off a video, checking your mail - all things with your child in sight the whole time - it different then running into a store or preschool for a few minutes, with child out of sight.
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#72 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 09:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
You don't know that. It takes longer for mom to get herself and a three year old out of the car which means she could have been crossing the street back too late to be hit by the car.

Every choice we makes affects the future.
What absolutely would have happened isn't the point. The point is that the parking lot isn't necessarily safer than the car.
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#73 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 09:15 PM
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which is safer the parking lot of the car? indetermindable.
which is safer - a child unattended in public or a child within sight of parent/caregiver in public? child attended of course.

those are 2 seperate risk factors.
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#74 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 09:24 PM
 
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which is safer the parking lot of the car? indetermindable.
which is safer - a child unattended in public or a child within sight of parent/caregiver in public? child attended of course.

those are 2 seperate risk factors.
I agree that they are different issues, and like I said I personally don't leave my child in the car unless I can see her, although really it's because I'm afraid she might get out of the car and walk in the parking lot. I see parking lots as pretty significant threats. There are so few child abductions I don't see that as a realistic threat worthy of my worry, and this area has no real threat of car theft either.
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#75 of 102 Old 03-11-2009, 09:51 PM
 
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I will never do it again. I left my then ten year old son in the passenger's seat for what I thought would be ducking into the store for five minutes. It took longer than I expected, but I wasn't worried because he was a BIG kid, and if he got too hot, he could always get out of the car, couldn't he?

He could have but he didn't. I told him to wait in the car and he didn't want to disobey me.

He was okay, just a bit groggy and not himself for a few minutes after I got back, but I still haven't forgiven myself after seven years. He's not even a particularly obedient kid.
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#76 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 01:15 AM
 
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Personally I wouldn't do it, not with the age of my kids. I understand how tempting it is, but 5 minutes is especially too long imo. I pay at the pump when getting gas, so the kids are right there in the car next to me. I think it also depends were you live.
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#77 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 05:14 AM
 
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Wow, that's nuts! If my kids are too stupid to be left alone in a car by the time they're 15, I'm not sure I'm taking them out of the house anymore...
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[QUOTE=ginadc;13340394]Wow. That's respectful. So at least half a dozen of us on this thread are MORONS, then.
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I think much of your outlook on this issue will hinge on where you live. It's very easy to paint this as a black and white issue, and to feel superior ('I don't take chances with *my* kids') but really, it's never that easy.
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#78 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 09:21 AM
 
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We don't drive, but I do leave my two year old buckled into his bike trailer outside the front door to our appartment building if I have to run back in to get something. If he happens to be asleep when we come home, I leave him sleeping and go ahead and unlock/open the doors and then bring him inside.

We have some friends (who are Dutch, incidentally) who will leave their baby asleep in the bike trailer outside while they go inside a shop or, the last time I saw this happen, a museum. They took turns going out to check on her every 10 minutes or so, but the whole thing made me really uncomfortable.

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#79 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 09:35 AM
 
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In the scenerio you describe my answer is no. I leave my kids in a locked car to run into a gas station and pay for my gas, assuming there are windows to see my kids...maybe I'm paranoid, but that's the only time I do it. I think if you can't see your kids you shouldn't be leaving them in there.

Although I remember going places with my dad where he'd run into a store for a second and leave me and bro in the truck with the truck running. We were elementary school, but still not safe.

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#80 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 11:30 AM
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I agree that they are different issues, and like I said I personally don't leave my child in the car unless I can see her, although really it's because I'm afraid she might get out of the car and walk in the parking lot. I see parking lots as pretty significant threats. There are so few child abductions I don't see that as a realistic threat worthy of my worry, and this area has no real threat of car theft either.
I see all the the things you mentioned as threats, and as you said, some are worse then others. the parking lot being more dangerous then the people in it. but the reality is, child abduction is still a threat, even if its a very very small one. its still possible. and its one of the things that is much less possible if child is in your sight then if child is not in your sight. so that's how I assess risk. while something may not be VERY dangerous, it can still be MORE dangerous (even if only a little) then my other options. KWIM? I agree with you though, the other things you mentioned would be my bigger concerns as well.
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#81 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 11:37 AM
 
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I see all the the things you mentioned as threats, and as you said, some are worse then others. the parking lot being more dangerous then the people in it. but the reality is, child abduction is still a threat, even if its a very very small one. its still possible. and its one of the things that is much less possible if child is in your sight then if child is not in your sight. so that's how I assess risk. while something may not be VERY dangerous, it can still be MORE dangerous (even if only a little) then my other options. KWIM? I agree with you though, the other things you mentioned would be my bigger concerns as well.
If you have two choices, walking your child through the parking lot or leaving them in the car, then the risk assessment isn't both or neither, it's one or the other.

I really do think in many cases, walking the child through the parking lot is a greater risk than the other. Especially in the winter. But there are so many more parking lot accidents than strangers who take children out of cars that it seems like if we looked at this objectively it would be obvious which would be safest. The only reason the predator risk seems big is because the few times it does happen, it's on the news for weeks straight, and kids get hit in parking lots often enough that it isn't even a news story so we don't hear about it.
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#82 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 11:38 AM
 
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If we're talking about abduction as the risk then I wouldn't have my child out of arm's reach... Someone could snatch your kid very easily while you watch through the gas station window...Then what?
When I drop off/pick up at preschool, if I really don't want to take the baby (e.g. she's sleeping), I ask one of the other mom's to keep an eye while I run in...usually by the time they're done buckling their child(ren), I'm back! Maybe that would work, OP?
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#83 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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Well, it is generally illegal, so it that worries you then you probably shouldn't do it.

Also if you are asking opinions on this then you are bound to get to hear all of the worst. I've never seen any other thread on this discussion go the other way.

You will have to evaluate the situation and make your own decision. Then you have to feel strongly enough about it to live with the risks.

It also may depend on your children.

The fact of the matter is we all could be abducted, tortured and killed at any moment but here we are.... I don't think scare tactics and 'have you heard this story...' have ever helped me be a better parent.

But I do my own thing, so I might be different.

Personally, I do leave my kids in the car sometimes. They are secure, I don't leave the car running or even unlocked, I do not do it when it's extremely hot or cold (duh) and I usually can pretty much maintain the sight of the car.

If it were me, and I was out of sight of the car for awhile and knew I might end up chatting, I'd bring in the sibling. But, if pick up time was pretty fast and the sibling was sleeping (and I felt pretty confident he/she would stay alseep) I'd leave them wait.

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#84 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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If we're talking about abduction as the risk then I wouldn't have my child out of arm's reach... Someone could snatch your kid very easily while you watch through the gas station window...Then what?
No, they could not. Not if your car doors are locked with the alarm set. How long do you think it takes to run / sprint 10 feet when you see someone trying to break into your car to kidnap your child? How many abductors are going to continue to try to get into your car, in public, with the alarm going off?

As for what the OP does, there is no way I could leave my child in a car out of my sight.

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#85 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
If you have two choices, walking your child through the parking lot or leaving them in the car, then the risk assessment isn't both or neither, it's one or the other.

I really do think in many cases, walking the child through the parking lot is a greater risk than the other. Especially in the winter. But there are so many more parking lot accidents than strangers who take children out of cars that it seems like if we looked at this objectively it would be obvious which would be safest. The only reason the predator risk seems big is because the few times it does happen, it's on the news for weeks straight, and kids get hit in parking lots often enough that it isn't even a news story so we don't hear about it.
i think the predator issue seems big because even if it only happens once a month (that's about how often it happens at minimum where I live) while that is still not a lot in the scheme of things, its a big issue because of what it means not because of how long they talk about it on the news.

I feel that a child is safer WITH me in a parking lot then alone and out of sight in the car. because *I* know how to be safe in a parking lot - that is not including some bizarre freak accident such as a car flipping onto you - or one the other end of things some freak accident like your car exploding while you are in the store. however, as you can tell by my first post in this thread, the issue is separate of leaving the child in the car while you are still watching them.
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#86 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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No, they could not. Not if your car doors are locked with the alarm set. How long do you think it takes to run / sprint 10 feet when you see someone trying to break into your car to kidnap your child? How many abductors are going to continue to try to get into your car, in public, with the alarm going off?
Personally, I believe it *could* happen but we're talking about excruciatingly rare situations....I don't doubt too much in this world.

That said I completely agree with this...

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The fact of the matter is we all could be abducted, tortured and killed at any moment but here we are.... I don't think scare tactics and 'have you heard this story...' have ever helped me be a better parent.
...even though I shared the horror story. I just can't even believe that happened to someone I know! But, like I originally said, it hasn't deterred me from occasionally leaving my kids in the car...I just use my best common sense and *I* think I'm a reasonably cautious and smart woman.
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#87 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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The only time I *ever* leave kids in the car is if I am pulling right up to the place, can see them the whole time, am only going to be a second, and I ALWAYS lock the door. (like to pick up dry cleaning, for example. My car is like 6 feet away.

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#88 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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NO, I'm bein honest, I would never ever do it. The first thing that enters my head is 'kidnapping'

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#89 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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#90 of 102 Old 03-12-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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How about this: it's winter, you've bundled up the kids and gotten them into their car seats to go to day care/preschool/school and you realize that you've forgotten something in the house that you must bring with you. (Somebody's lunch, the tuition check due that day, fresh diapers, nap blanket, etc.) Would you honestly unbuckle both kids, take them out of the car, bring them back inside while you grab the lunch/diapers and take them back out again?

I'm a bit scattered in the mornings, and I have more than once realized that I need something from inside for school. I lock the car, run inside, and run right back out. That is technically "leaving them unattended," but I don't think it's irresponsible. (But then, I'm a MORON.)

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