At what age is it ok to leave them in the car? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-19-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JustVanessa View Post
I leave my 3 year old in the car to run into the corner store, but I live in a very tiny community and I know everyone.
I am not trying to bait, I have left my kids in the car but I do want to point out that you don't know everyone that might pass through or visit or be having a mental break. Also, there are probably people in town you wouldn't leave your children with; knowing them doesn't make them safe people.

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:30 PM
 
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To some extent this probably depends on where you live. I live in a pretty small town with a very low crime rate. This would be no big deal at all to me. But if I lived elsewhere, I'd probably have a different opinion. So long as I can see the car, I'm fine with dd waiting there for me.
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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When I was younger my mom used to let me stay in the car and read while she ran errands. I've left DD to return a movie or drop off dry cleaning, but both of those places, you can pull up to the curb and are literally a step away from the car. I do try and run quick errands when she's not with me, or when someone else is. I especially hate having to get her out when she's sleeping just to return a book at the library. That is the one reason I have library fines!

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Old 01-19-2009, 03:09 PM
 
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I leave my ds in the car (since he was about 2) in the following places:

-ATM machine with car parked about 20 ft from me, and I can see the car at all times
-small newsstand, running in to grab the paper and leave a dollar on the counter, with car parked about 20 ft away (it seems like a frivilous errand, but ds used to nap in the car all the time and sometimes I didn't have anything to read or do for 2 hours)
-post office, running in to dump mail in a slot, with car in sight at all times

I also leave both kids in the car with the doors locked while I unload groceries in our driveway. I leave the bags right inside the door, so I'm not actually in the house, but my back is turned.

I should probably check the laws in NJ, but none of these scenarios seem unsafe to me. Seems more unsafe to wrangle young kids on busy street or parking lot.

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Old 01-19-2009, 04:32 PM
 
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I just wanted to add - when my young son was a few months old, I took him in his car seat into our library to drop off books. I was literally gone, perhaps 3 minutes to 5 minutes tops. I could see the van from where we were standing in library but turned my back on the van.

So I return to my van and find it has disappeared.

The van was stolen in less than 5 minutes and I was left standing there with my son in his car seat wondering what had happened!
The thing is, you really have no idea what is going to happen. If your son had been in the car, maybe the thief wouldn't have taken it! It's one thing to get in trouble for stealing a car, yet another thing altogether to get arrested for kidnapping!

I remember in a similar thread on LWAB, someone was saying she took her child out of the car even when paying for gas because someone hit her car (or someone else's car) at a gas station and it exploded, or something like that. But what if she was carrying her son in to pay, and someone hit her and her son while they were walking? Then maybe she would be of the mind to always leave her child in the car, yk? Or what if you took your child into the bank with you and there was a hold up? You might think it would be safer from then on to leave them in the car, because going into a bank is a risky thing to do.

I am not trying to say you should leave your child in the car in the hopes of deterring someone from stealing it . What I'm saying is that it's not exactly accurate to say, "I took him out and my car was stolen, therefore if I had left him in my child would have been taken too." You just can't know if that's how it would have happened.

The chance of something happening to my child while I run to the ATM or drop something in the mail box is miniscule, in my opinion. Much smaller than the risk of being in a car accident, which is something I risk every day getting in my car and taking my children places. Not saying bad things don't happen. They do. Children are abducted, and people get into car accidents. It is not possible to protect ourselves from every bad thing that happens in life. You can do things to try to minimize that risk, but even that can backfire (as in the examples I gave above). It doesn't mean you don't try to minimize risks, but each person has their own comfort level, as evidenced by the many different responses to this thread. We each just have to figure out what works for our family .

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Old 01-19-2009, 06:18 PM
 
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Do those who don't ever leave the kids in the car chaperone them from car to sidewalk, or do you trust them to get out on the other side of the car and safely walk up to the curb?

I send my oldest to drop off packages and stay in the car with the youngest, as long as I can see her the whole time.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:24 PM
 
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My neighbor left her kids in the car while she ran into a store to grab milk or something. The kids were in plain sight of her. Well, someone ran up and jacked her car--with her child still in the seat in the back (the carjacker didnt see the child). It was horrible! she was running down the street chasing after the car...the guy pulled over took the child out and kept going. THANK GOD.

I dont leave my kids in the car for even a second. I just picture someone running up and breaking a window and trying to steal something while they are sitting there. I know it may be unlikely but still...
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My neighbor left her kids in the car while she ran into a store to grab milk or something. The kids were in plain sight of her. Well, someone ran up and jacked her car--with her child still in the seat in the back (the carjacker didnt see the child). It was horrible! she was running down the street chasing after the car...the guy pulled over took the child out and kept going. THANK GOD.

I dont leave my kids in the car for even a second. I just picture someone running up and breaking a window and trying to steal something while they are sitting there. I know it may be unlikely but still...
I don't see how this is possible unless she left the car unlocked and with the keys in it.

If you lock the car and take the keys, it would take someone some time to break into the car and then hot wire it. Certainly enough time for a mother who was watching the entire situation to do something.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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I have done it before too.....where I could see it the whole time and would only be gone a minute. I haven't done it in a while though and I recently saw an episode of Dr. Phil where a lady left her 2yo in the car asleep just so her and her other kids could go put some change in the donation kettle in front of Walmart. She was arrested on the spot and although the charges were eventually dropped, they are still dealing with people who are mad the charges were dropped and think she is a terrible mother. That scared me a little.

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Old 01-19-2009, 09:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KMK_Mama View Post
I have done it before too.....where I could see it the whole time and would only be gone a minute. I haven't done it in a while though and I recently saw an episode of Dr. Phil where a lady left her 2yo in the car asleep just so her and her other kids could go put some change in the donation kettle in front of Walmart. She was arrested on the spot and although the charges were eventually dropped, they are still dealing with people who are mad the charges were dropped and think she is a terrible mother. That scared me a little.
I saw that too and it's crazy. There was more danger that the 2-year-old could have gotten hurt slipping on the ice, or could have been dropped if the mother had carried her, or could have been hit by a car that slid on the ice. The child was in no danger in the car. People are just looking for things to complain about.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:48 PM
 
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I've only done it when my kids were 8 and 6. I know in the rare case that someone were to try and steal the car, they would know for sure a kid was in it. That's my fear with leaving a small child in the car.

I also won't leave my younger son in the car alone - he's 9. He also has a very timid personality, and gets scared quite easily. My 11 year old usually won't want to stay in the car while I run into a store even.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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I, too, don't understand how a car can get stolen unless the keys are in the ignition... and who does that anyway? --kid left in it or not.

eta: I mean, I do know *how* they can wire a car to drive off with it (mine was stolen when I lived in Denver) but that's not something that can possibly be done in a matter of seconds while you are checking the mail. Unless Jack Bauer's jacking your ride

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