We were at Walgreens to pick up a prescription for dh. I was driving, kids in the back seat. We parked and dh started to walk in, then came back to the car. There was a minivan in the parking lot a couple of spaces away from us. The large sliding door was open, and a toddler was strapped into his carseat in the seat nearest the open door. He was crying, and there was no one else around. No one in or around the car; no one else in the parking lot. I asked dh to check and make sure there was no one else in the car, and he said there wasn't, so I called 911. (FYI, it's very cold here right now - my car said it was 9 degrees F at the time.)
I felt a little bad because I thought there might be a good reason why someone would do that (i.e., leave their child strapped in the carseat with the door open while shopping). An emergency or something. But it also occurred to me that if I was in trouble like that and had an emergency, maybe I would need the police, too. I could not find a good reason why I would leave my toddler in the car while going into Walgreens (especially with the door open . . . and if the kid got the door open himself - not sure how that would be possible from the carseat - obviously he wasn't safe to be left alone in the car).
Dh comforted the kid. He stood back but said, "Don't worry, it'll be okay. You're not alone. It's going to be okay. Your mom will be back soon." Before the cop arrived, the mom came out. She had bought some bottled water and laundry detergent. Dh isn't afraid of confrontation, so he told her that her kid had been crying and the door was open when we arrived. She said "Yeah, okay." Then he said something about how dangerous the temperature was for kids, and (getting a bit melodramatic) said that kids die in temperatures like this. Her response was: "So?" And then she drove off.
So I didn't feel bad about calling 911 after that, since she couldn't have cared less that her kid was crying, upset, and freezing cold, nor that anyone could have taken him or he could have gotten out and been hit by a car or wandered off and frozen to death.
: Dh was being a bit melodramatic, but it's true that kids DO die in this weather. We have a death every couple of years.
Anyway, dh ended up making a full written report and we had given the 911 dispatcher her license plate number, so hopefully they can find her and maybe a visit from the police will wake her up. It was clear from the way she behaved that she does this all the time.
I hope that we did the right thing.
I just feel so bad for the kid. He was so scared. Dh said it looked like he was about 3 years old.