Is it illegal or dangerous to leave a kid in the car for 5 minutes? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There are times when I pick my daughter up from Preschool when it's NOT HOT outside, not cold in the car, a very safe church parking lot in a tiny, safe small town that it would be so nice to leave my 2-y-o in his car seat while I run in and grab DD for a couple of minutes.

So tempting. I'd never do it if the car was likely to get hot or if there was any possibility of danger.

But would I get in trouble? Is it illegal?

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#2 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 12:59 AM
 
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I wouldn't do it because it takes less the 5 minutes for someone to break into a car and take something, including a child.

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#3 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 01:07 AM
 
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i've read so many of these types of threads, and they always become contentious (sp?). while i personally would not want to take the chance of leaving the child behind, i know from reading the other threads, that plenty of "good moms" do it, and, from the arguments that have been hashed out repeatedly, in the situation you describe, probably the biggest reason *not* to do it, is that some good intentioned person will come along and call the cops on you. and that will be a lot more inconvenience to your life, than just carrying the two year old along for a few minutes.

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#4 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 01:10 AM
 
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It is dangerous.

There was just an article today about a child getting out of the carseat and leaving the car and getting run over, while the mother just ran back in to the house to grab something. In other cases, car jacking. In other cases, child gets out of car and disappears..or is kidnapped from car. Or he gets out of his seat and manages to put the car in motion.

In most states, it is illegal. And if other parents see it, they will likely think negative things.
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#5 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 01:11 AM
 
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Can you see your child the whole time? if not, i would NOT NOT NOT do it. Ever. The only time I leave ds in the car is when i pump gas. I will use the pump right next to the cashier's window, and even if i have to step inside for a split second to hand the cashier my money, I am within 10 steps or so of teh car the whole time. And even that makes my heart pound.

Somethine else to consider: suppose you went in to get dd and she had just fallen down and busted her lip, lengthening your time inside? Suppose her teacher needed to talk to you about something? Suppose you were in a rush and accidentally locked your keys in the car? Annoying if your kids are with you, TERRIBLE if they are locked inside the car...ask me how i know.....

i would not take the chance.

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#6 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 01:13 AM
 
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Also, if you are in the process of adopting, just one thing on your record, or even one call from someone at the preschool to the agency, could result in the adoption being cancelled. So if you get ticketed for leaving your child in the car, then there is a high chance that your adoption could be affected.
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#7 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 01:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ElliesMomma View Post
in the situation you describe, probably the biggest reason *not* to do it, is that some good intentioned person will come along and call the cops on you. and that will be a lot more inconvenience to your life, than just carrying the two year old along for a few minutes.
:

I personally have no problem with leaving my 2 year old in the van while I drop off or pick up my older son from his OT appointments. During that time, I'm able to watch the van through the window, so he's never really out of my sight. I'm okay with leaving him in the van out of my sight in a residential area for a couple of minutes (like my driveway, for example). But, I'd be less comfortable leaving him in a vehicle where I couldn't see him and there's a lot of people around. More because of the risk of someone calling the cops/ CPS on me than because I really believe he's at risk of being kidnapped or something.

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#8 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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A woman did that here recently outside a preschool and her car was stolen. The child was ok, but DHHS stepped in and removed children. I don't agree that the children should have been removed, and they were returned shortly, but it caused a major disruption in her family's life.
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#9 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yikes! it sounds like I'd better just avoid the temptation altogether. Sigh. Whoever posted about it messing up our adoption has a very, very good point too. I would not want to do that.

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#10 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 01:26 AM
 
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i absoultely think it's dangerous, and it is illegal here in Texas.

...even tho i totally dislike the HUGE hassle of dragging three kids into each stop on a 6-errand journey

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#11 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 01:49 AM
 
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The legality of it varies by state, so you'd have to check your specific laws. While I generally don't think it's a good idea in most situations, if it's not illegal in your state, then someone could call every day and it shouldn't affect your record. However, a daycare type facility is the absolute LAST place I would ever consider doing this at. A lot of parents do this, and it's pretty common knowledge - do you (general "you") think pedophiles haven't figured this out as well? At our previous daycare which was in a decent area, a group of mom's were in the glassed in foyer for pick up. A car pulled up, a man jumped out, ran to 2 cars, opened the door to the 2nd one, grabbed the lady's purse and was back in his car and gone in less than 1 minute. The ladies were in shock, and it took them a bit to realize just what had happened. Not only did the victim lose her purse and her rent money she'd just pulled out, but her 7 yr old son sitting in the backseat ended up in therapy for over a year from that incident.

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#12 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 03:22 AM
 
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Someone could easily see your son, think that he was forgotten, and call the cops or worse, try to break in. That would be more likely on a hot day or in a warmer climate but it's still something to consider.
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#13 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 10:34 AM
 
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I am so paranoid about this issue. I have seen too many news stories and Oprah shows about stuff happening to kids who were left for 'just a minute'. A while back, somewhere in ?Minnesota I think, a lady left her sleeping baby in the car to go into a convenience store, and someone stole her car, with the baby in it (granted, the dummy left the car running).
Sometimes I just want a soda from the convenience store. If I really want to stop, I take ds in with me (I just take the whole carseat right now). If I don't feel like taking him in, I just don't get my soda. I live in a small, safe town, and I am still scared to just leave him in the car, even if I can keep my eyes on my car the whole time. I always think about doing something like that thinking "waht could happen in such a short amount of time", and then I snap back to reality and think that I don't want to find out what could happen, so I just stick with the safe way.

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#14 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 11:01 AM
 
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No, I wouldn't do it.

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#15 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 11:13 AM
 
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I wouldn't. I have this same situation (ds often falls asleep in the car on the way to pick up dd from preschool.) Her teacher walks her out to me....it doesn't hurt to ask if your teacher could do the same or if another parent could walk her out.
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#16 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 11:13 AM
 
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No, I wouldn't. There is a lady at my son's school who leaves her newborn baby and a 2-ish year old in the car every day This is at an elementary school in a fairly large town (Lexington, KY). She parks in the parking lot (there is NO way she can see her car from the school because the buses park between the parking lot and the school) and goes in to get her dd. The stupid thing about this situation is it's avoidable! Completely avoidable. If she pulled to the side of the building with the rest of the cars they would bring her dd out to her car- she wouldn't have to get out at all! Who knows why she chooses not to do that.

That was totally off topic, I apologize, but it's been bugging me a lot lately.

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#17 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 11:21 AM
 
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I don't personally think it's dangerous in that circumstance, however I bet someone will call the police on you and you will get in trouble, so I would recommend you don't do it anyway. I also live in a small town and I know that it is very safe here. I personally wouldn't leave my daughter in the car unless I could see the car, but that's because I'm afraid she might leave the car, not because I think someone is going to break in and take her or steal the car. There just isn't a crime issue here. Now, we are going to be moving north to the Chicago area before too long, and I will do things differently after the move because I've never heard of anyone where I live now having a car stolen, but it's not so uncommon up there.
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#18 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 11:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SunshineJ View Post
The legality of it varies by state, so you'd have to check your specific laws. While I generally don't think it's a good idea in most situations, if it's not illegal in your state, then someone could call every day and it shouldn't affect your record. However, a daycare type facility is the absolute LAST place I would ever consider doing this at. A lot of parents do this, and it's pretty common knowledge - do you (general "you") think pedophiles haven't figured this out as well? At our previous daycare which was in a decent area, a group of mom's were in the glassed in foyer for pick up. A car pulled up, a man jumped out, ran to 2 cars, opened the door to the 2nd one, grabbed the lady's purse and was back in his car and gone in less than 1 minute. The ladies were in shock, and it took them a bit to realize just what had happened. Not only did the victim lose her purse and her rent money she'd just pulled out, but her 7 yr old son sitting in the backseat ended up in therapy for over a year from that incident.

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Wow--that EXACT same thing happened in Virginia Beach--but I see by your sig that you aren't from VA Beach--so my next thought is: wow, that's more common than I thought! It made the local news--and happened at an upscale Catholic church preschool/school. Fortunately, in the Va Beach situation, there was no child in the car that was robbed.
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#19 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 11:39 AM
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Not sure where you are, but it is illegal in California. Which makes paying cash for gas a pain even, you're not even supposed to run in a store with a big window where they are in view at all times. I just use the Debit card now.
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#20 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 11:55 AM
 
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My DS's preschool has a specific policy against doing that in their handbook.

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#21 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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Whether or not it is illegal, I would never do it. I understand the temptation, but it is just not worth the chance. You never know what can happen in 5 seemingly short minutes: an emergency that extends it to beyond 5 minutes, car stolen, child kidnapped, child "escapes", keys locked in car. Getting reported to thepolice or CPS would be the least of my concerns about such a situation. Even on "mild" day, a child's temperature can escalate very quickly in a closed car. Not a lesson I would want to learn the hard way.

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#22 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 12:09 PM
 
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Some years ago I responded to a horrific accident in a convenience store parking lot. A dutiful mom who didn't want to leave her child for the 3 minutes it would have taken to pay for her gas took him out of the car, into the blowing snow and toward the store. They wer crushed under a semi she didn't see because she was carrying the child through inclement weather.

Sometimes, the safer option is, in fact, to leave the child in the car if paying at the pump (for example) isn't an option.

Maybe if you live in nice moderate climates it's safer to take the child every time, but where I live, it's much safer in a hailstorm, in a blizzard, in really miserable weather, to leave my child safely in the car for those few moments.

If it's simply a matter of convenience, I'm all for takng the child- kids don't come programmed to be easy and convenient, but sometimes you have to use your judgement as a parent to make the safest choice for your child. I live in a town of about 350 people. If someone calls the Sheriff to complain that I've left my child in the car while paying for gas in the middle of a snowstorm, fine; I'll have a chat with the Sheriff, and go on about my life with no further annoyance. He might wonder why someone was such a busybody, but such is life.

Certainly, I'd make different choices if I lived in a different area, but I have to live based on where I live, and what I feel is best and safest.
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#23 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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Nope, would never do it. It's just not safe. Taking kids in and out of carseats is a hassle, especially when they're sleeping, but it's nothing compared to what could happen. I don't take chances with my kids.

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#24 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 12:16 PM
 
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In Washington State it is illegal to leave a child under 16 in a car with the motor running (RCW 46.61.685) or at all to enter a place where liquor is sold (which would include grocery stores and gas stations I'd assume - RCW 9.91.060). I have actually heard the latter RCW used to persecute parents who leave children unattended in cars for other purposes as well.

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#25 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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I wouldn't. I would never leave my children in the car without me unless it was for literally just a minute and I could see them at all times. I've actually only ever done it once, when my son was finally asleep (he's a horrible catnapper) in a nasty NJ winter, and I was running into the dry cleaner. They have a huge plate glass window and I was parked right in front, they know me so they had my clothes very quickly, so I was in and out in less than two minutes. I was still very anxious about it.

Would never do it if I had to be out of immediate eyesight of the car.

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#26 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 12:44 PM
 
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Even if you can see the car at all times, what are you going to do if you see someone get into your car and drive off? Can you keep up with a moving car? I bring both children in where ever I go, I know it is a pain but I figure I have no choice but to keep them safe. Against the law or not. . . don't take any chances because you never know what could happen in a split second!
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#27 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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I do it but only if I'm driving our truck, which I can lock when it's running (keypad entry) and I can visibly see my vehicle. I won't do it when driving our other car though

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#28 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 12:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by confustication View Post
Maybe if you live in nice moderate climates it's safer to take the child every time, but where I live, it's much safer in a hailstorm, in a blizzard, in really miserable weather, to leave my child safely in the car for those few moments.
:

-20F, child doesn't have a coat on because they're in a car seat, no room to get the coat on them in tiny car so you'd have to do it outside...if I have to run inside to pay for gas, you better believe I'm leaving the child in the warm car while I do it.

And I'm not worried about gangs of roving pedophiles and baby-snatchers crouched behind the gas pumps.
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#29 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by leezann View Post
Even if you can see the car at all times, what are you going to do if you see someone get into your car and drive off? Can you keep up with a moving car? I bring both children in where ever I go, I know it is a pain but I figure I have no choice but to keep them safe. Against the law or not. . . don't take any chances because you never know what could happen in a split second!
The chances of someone breaking into my locked car with no keys in it and driving off as I watch from an ATM vestibule are ridiculously slim. The chances of my kids getting killed by a car walking with me in the parking lot are greater.
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#30 of 102 Old 03-10-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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This reminds me of what happened to me once-though different to your situation(sorry if i divulge a little) I had my toddler and baby in a double stroller. The baby was asleep. I had to pick up lunch from a restaurant, and just had to go in and pay. The stroller didnt fit through the door. I could see the stroller through the window. So i went in, and paid and got the lunch. In that one minute, the baby woke up and started crying. Some woman came in and said-'whose this baby? '

I was coming out anyway. I just said'its my baby'. And went out.

Then she said something rude to me, and went off..... (i think its was-just thought you needed some reminding that it was your baby')

Anyway, slightly different subject, but i did the right thing. I didnt need the insult....

However, i wouldnt leave a baby in a car where i couldnt see him/her, and not unless it was truly under one minute....
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