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#1 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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At what age do you feel comfortable leaving your child in the car when you go in a store. I'm not talking about running in to pay for gas, I mean leaving them playing a video game or whatever and they can join you if they care to.

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#2 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 12:27 AM
 
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Maybe 9 or 10 IF they had a cell phone with them, and I probably would have them stay in the car, so I'd make sure it was not parked in the sun on a hot day. And I wouldn't leave them for more than 15 min. or so.

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#3 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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It depended on the child's personality.
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#4 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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my son is 11 and refuses to go into certain thrift stores with me so he stays in at those I can see the car from almost every part of the store.

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#5 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 12:43 AM
 
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I left my middle son when he was 8.5 and he got out the car to come find me. On the way into the store a do gooder stopped him, got the checkout girl to call out for me and then chewed me out. It was a small store and my son knew where I was. I told the lady to mind her own business and to stop over reacting! My son had done exactly what I told him to do if he got bored so I felt fine leaving him for 10 to 15 minutes.

A year later he normally comes in with me but his 10 yr old brother would rather stay in the car with his DSi. If I take too long though (30+ minutes) he wil start to get upset.

i try to do all errands when the kids are in school so they don't need to sit in a car or get bored shopping but underdstand thats not always an option.
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#6 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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I don't think I will ever be comfortable with my dd staying in the car alone while I am off shopping. If she is old enough to stay home alone (13) then I will let her choose to do that. I remember having to stay in the car sometimes and it got very hot and uncomfortable, I don't want my dd thinking she has to endure that.
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#7 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 12:51 AM
 
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I wouldn' do it. If something were to happen I wouldn't forgive myself... and I think its good for the kids to be involved in every aspect of my life, including shopping etc...
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#8 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 01:07 AM
 
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9ish, depending on maturity level. That's the age I would feel ok with them taking their bikes to the store/library/etc without me.

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#9 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 01:12 AM
 
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I don't think I will ever be comfortable with my dd staying in the car alone while I am off shopping. If she is old enough to stay home alone (13) then I will let her choose to do that. I remember having to stay in the car sometimes and it got very hot and uncomfortable, I don't want my dd thinking she has to endure that.
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#10 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 01:48 AM
 
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gosh, I can't even imagine my kids not wanting to go into the store with me. In fact, as soon as we pull up somewhere, all four are fu-reaking out b/c they want to come inside with me - and I have to choose who to leave (with DH) in the car and who to take in...or if I'm in a mood, I leave them all and let him deal with their craziness.

No, but seriously, I dunno. Maybe 12-13? My older two kids are 9 and 7 and even if I could talk them into it, I don't think I'd feel comfy leaving either one of them while I go shopping. If it were a quick in and out thing like gas/library books/dry cleaners/pizza pick-up - then maybe.

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#11 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 12:27 PM
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My boys are 7 and 4 and beg to stay in the car when I'm doing something "boring." I leave them, with the heat on in cold weather or the windows cracked in nice weather. I would not leave them if it was over 75º out. They lock the doors and stay in the car talking or reading. I only leave them if they are together. They know not to unlock or open the doors unless there is an emergency.
My 7 yr. old walks home from school alone and will probably be allowed to stay home alone within the next year or two. He's proven himself over and over to be responsible and capable.
My mom always let me stay in the car reading as a kid, I biked over a mile to school at 6, I stayed home after school with my little sister starting at 7, and was babysitting other peoples' children at 10. Every memory I have of these things is of feeling trustworthy and competent and I don't believe the world is a more dangerous place now. My kid is more likely to be hit by a car crossing the parking lot with me, or get in a fatal wreck on the way to or from the store, than to be what? kidnapped from a locked car in a store parking lot? sitting in the car for 10 minutes.
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#12 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 01:04 PM
 
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I'm not sure because we're not there yet. DS is 5 and LOVES to go into every store. I would say around 10, but it would totally depend on the kid too.
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#13 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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My 8-year-old sometimes stays in the car for a couple of minutes while I run into someplace that only takes a couple of minutes. I let her do that before, but only if the car was within my sight the whole time. Now I don't mind her being out of my sight in the car for a few minutes.

I think it depends on the child, the weather, the area (and crime rate), and that kind of thing. But my daughter is in more danger walking with me across a parking lot than she is alone in a locked car for two or three minutes.
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#14 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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I don't think I would ever be comfortable with that. I don't go many places. Ok, I only go one place. The grocery store. Child can stay home with daddy or go with me. I could never leave a child unattended. I lost a child before due to SIDS and you never want to lose a child. Children are snatched anywhere, anytime. I saw a thing about a girl taken at a little league ball game, she was playing with her friends catching fireflies, paused at her car to dump the sand from her shoes and then was gone. I feel I have a more developed sense of judgment than my child and know how to react to situations (ie I would know if someone were following us around a store or if I was being watched in a parking lot). I suppose to give an answer, I would say that I would not leave the child alone in the car (and this depends on where you are, for instance a parking lot with easy freeway access may be more prone to an attack than a downtown one) until they were old enough to go out alone at night, say, 16? (with a cell phone and a group and in a place like a movie theater or mall) It also depends on the child and how attractive they are probably. I do leave my child (6yo) in the car when I go to the post office to check our PO
Box, the entire front is glassed and I can make eye contact with her the whole time (which is about 30 seconds). If I could not get a front park there, she would come in too and I would make it fun telling her she gets to check the mail....

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#15 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 06:21 PM
 
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The same age that I would be ok with leaving them home alone.

If the kid is goign to sit in the car, I would leave them home in the first place. I would rather have them at home where they can lock the door, use a phone if they need to etc. vs. being alogn in the car where they could be too hot/too cold, get bored and do something dumb etc.
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#16 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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It also depends on the child and how attractive they are probably.


I would likely not be comfortable leaving a child in the car for any length of time (dropping a book in the library book return that's five steps from the parking lot is different). By the time I'd be comfortable leaving her in the car alone, I'd also be comfortable leaving her home alone, and I think I'd prefer that.

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#17 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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Many states have laws specifying an age; I'd check on that first!

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#18 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 09:21 PM
 
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My boys are 7 and 4 and beg to stay in the car when I'm doing something "boring." I leave them, with the heat on in cold weather or the windows cracked in nice weather. I would not leave them if it was over 75º out. They lock the doors and stay in the car talking or reading. I only leave them if they are together. They know not to unlock or open the doors unless there is an emergency.
My 7 yr. old walks home from school alone and will probably be allowed to stay home alone within the next year or two. He's proven himself over and over to be responsible and capable.
My mom always let me stay in the car reading as a kid, I biked over a mile to school at 6, I stayed home after school with my little sister starting at 7, and was babysitting other peoples' children at 10. Every memory I have of these things is of feeling trustworthy and competent and I don't believe the world is a more dangerous place now. My kid is more likely to be hit by a car crossing the parking lot with me, or get in a fatal wreck on the way to or from the store, than to be what? kidnapped from a locked car in a store parking lot? sitting in the car for 10 minutes.


Thank you for writing this. I find it very disturbing that many parents seem to live their lives (and rule their kids lives) with a worst case scenario mentality. One woman I babysat for wouldn't let her 10 year old ride around their upper class, virtually no traffic neighborhood on his bike. Another family had me ride with their seven year old's down the street of their upper class neighborhood to their friend's house.

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#19 of 73 Old 05-22-2010, 11:50 PM
 
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Thank you for writing this. I find it very disturbing that many parents seem to live their lives (and rule their kids lives) with a worst case scenario mentality. One woman I babysat for wouldn't let her 10 year old ride around their upper class, virtually no traffic neighborhood on his bike. Another family had me ride with their seven year old's down the street of their upper class neighborhood to their friend's house.
Maybe the worst possible thing happened to them so they know how easy it is to happen to a child and they want to protect their kid from that pain. I don't see how other people's decisions as knowledgeable parents should in any way disturb someone who isn't in that family. It isn't as though they are making everyone in the parking lot come into the store with them so it in no way affects the people who choose not to believe that something bad will ever happen to their kid.
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#20 of 73 Old 05-23-2010, 10:10 AM
 
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I'm with Sweetpepper & MJB on this. I don't know, as we're definetly not there yet, but I'd guess somewhere around 6-8yrs depending on maturity. Thats also the age I could see leaving them home alone for a half hour to an hour while I ran into town really quick. Kids get 'snatched' very, very rarely. Kids die in cars *EVERY* day. The paranoia over kidnapping is insane and way, way, way overblown. We can't protect our kids from everything. Some things are worth being 'extra' safe - erf, for example. Other things, like never, ever, under any circumstances leaving kids in the car till their 13 or 14, or not leaving them home-alone till 10 or 12, just aren't. But whatever.
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#21 of 73 Old 05-23-2010, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe the worst possible thing happened to them so they know how easy it is to happen to a child and they want to protect their kid from that pain. I don't see how other people's decisions as knowledgeable parents should in any way disturb someone who isn't in that family. It isn't as though they are making everyone in the parking lot come into the store with them so it in no way affects the people who choose not to believe that something bad will ever happen to their kid.
Except that often these people call the police and get involved in other people's decisions. I would allow my daughter to walk a half a block to the gas station to buy herself an ice cream if I wasn't so worried about "do gooders" getting upset and involved. She has the maturity and it is very close to home, but other people who get worked up and could get CPS or the police involved.
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#22 of 73 Old 05-23-2010, 01:49 PM
 
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I'm not sure that's true.

My daughter has a serious lack of impulse control. That's just who she is. And I would never allow her, at age 8, to walk to the store (assuming we had a store within walking distance) alone. Yet I would never dream of calling CPS on parents with different kids and different decisions.

Yes, some people are fearmongers and busybodies. But some others of us just know what our kids are capable of.

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#23 of 73 Old 05-23-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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Except that often these people call the police and get involved in other people's decisions. I would allow my daughter to walk a half a block to the gas station to buy herself an ice cream if I wasn't so worried about "do gooders" getting upset and involved. She has the maturity and it is very close to home, but other people who get worked up and could get CPS or the police involved.
yeah, see, that would be my biggest concern with leaving a kid in the car - any kid, who happened to even look younger than about 12. People will call the cops, and the possibility of being arrested is real. Arrest of child endangerment/neglect most likely will involve CPS - and besides any small risk of abduction or other harm in the parking lot - that's not a chance I'm willing to take. Turn our whole world upside down just b/c my kid didn't want to go into the grocery store to grab a few items with me? Not worth it.

ETA: and fwiw, I would never call CPS/cop in that situation - and don't think it's the right thing to do at all. But there are certainly people who feel that way and won't hesitate to get the authorities involved b/c they are so 'concerned'.

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#24 of 73 Old 05-23-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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It also depends on the child and how attractive they are probably.
if my child were unattractive, i would still probably not leave her in the car by herself...

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#25 of 73 Old 05-23-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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I don't think I will ever be comfortable with my dd staying in the car alone while I am off shopping. If she is old enough to stay home alone (13) then I will let her choose to do that. I remember having to stay in the car sometimes and it got very hot and uncomfortable, I don't want my dd thinking she has to endure that.
Wouldn't you be available to avoid that by saying "Come find me if you get hot or bored?"

If I give my son the following choices:

1) Come with me and come in the stores as I run errands.
2) Come with me, enjoy the drive and the conversation, and then sit in the car reading your book for 10 minutes a few different times.
3) Stay home alone for an hour.

He'll pick 2. I assume that if he were hot and uncomfortable he'd choose 1 or 3. I'm not sure why he'd think he had to "endure" something that he chose to do, and that he has the ability to undo (by coming in and finding me) at any time.

OP, I started leaving him around 8 or 9, in neighborhoods I felt were safe when I could see the car from the door, and it was quick (think 7 - 11). Now at 11 I pretty much always offer the choice, unless it's something like Target where I could be a couple of hours.

When the weather's hot, I've also let him sitting under a tree near the car with his book or the dog.
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#26 of 73 Old 05-25-2010, 09:45 AM
 
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I will leave my 7.5 year old in the car if it's a quick errand - like running into the store for one or two items. He asks to do it everytime, but 99% of the time I make him come in with me.

I just don't think it's that big of a deal - he's mature, likes to sit there and play his DSi & we live in a low crime, safe area. In fact the police substation shares a parking lot with the grocery store I'm talking about.

I like to give him freedom and choices. When he does come into the store with me, his favorite activity is for me to give him a list of a few items - he'll go off on his own, gather them, and bring them to our cart. Some people probably think that's unsafe too.

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#27 of 73 Old 05-25-2010, 06:46 PM
 
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I will not leave my children in the car until they are old enough to be left home alone. For me and my kids, that would probably be 11 or so, depending on the child. Middle school age? But I worry more about hyperthermia then I do about stranger abduction. The bottom line for me is that alone, is alone, in the house or the car. They need to be old enough and responsible enough to handle their own problems, come and get you, etc. Also, it would only be in fall and spring. Not in a running car, so no hot or cold weather, period.

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#28 of 73 Old 05-25-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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I hate this subject. I want to tell you that you can but in today's society, I wouldn't. One time I parked on one side of a busy street and needed to put something in the mail slot of a business across the street. I felt it was safer in that situation to leave my two boys ages 4 and 7 in the car while I ran across to deliver the envelope. I locked the car (and they were secured in their seats) that was parked in a legal spot, ran across and came right back. The car was never out of my sight. When I got back a man unleashed a diatribe on me about what a terrible mother I was and how his wife would never do what I did and how horribly irresponsible I was and on and on and on. It made me feel terrible because I'm NOT an irresponsible mother and I didn't want to try and drag my two little kids across a rather busy street. Be careful leaving them unless this type of encounter is something that wouldn't bother you. People can be rather meddlesome and sometimes it is because something bad has happened to them or someone they know in a similar situation.

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#29 of 73 Old 05-25-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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I was thinking of this thread this afternoon - I picked ds up from school and ran into our neighborhood market to get wheat buns for dinner. He wanted to wait in the car & it's a beautiful day so I let him. Before I got out, he asked if I would buy him a kit kat. I said I will try to remember.

As I was picking up the buns he met me in the grocery store with a handwritten note that said "Don't forget my kit kat" and then went back to the car.

He's perfectly capable of coming to get me if he needs me (obviously!) and I think it's grossly underestimating his abilities to say he needs to be in his teenage years to do that.

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#30 of 73 Old 05-25-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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My 11 yr old and 9 yr old wait in the car for me when they choose to. But....our car has dark tinted windows and unless someone was really searching or the sun was just right I don't think the fact that they are without an adult is that noticable. I think it depends on the child and the area you are in. But having tint makes me feel better.

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