Toddlers: 24 Months+

Leaving the kids in the car; what's your opinion

I'm meeting a friend today for a play date/picnic at 11 AM and I just realized that I don't have enough stuff to pack lunches for myself and my little girl. So, I plan on swinging by a sandwich shop on the way and picking up lunch.  Since I'm going so early I don't anticipate that there will be much of a line (if any). It is so cumbersome getting a 9 month old & a 2 yr old out of the car just to run into a store for a couple of minutes! I'm considering parking directly in front of the store where I can keep my eye on them and just running in. Is this a horrible idea?
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Re: Leaving the kids in the car; what's your opinion

  • hocushocus
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its Combo Breaker
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    Yes it is a horrible idea. 

    I'd consider something with a drive through. I wouldn't live your kids in the car. 

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  • In my area, that would be a reason to call cps.
  • Horrible idea, yes.
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  • That is a really really bad idea.
  • EDWHIPEDWHIP
    500 Comments Fourth Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
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    Some places let you call ahead and will deliver to your car.  If you can't do that then, I'm sorry, you have to bring them in.  It's the law!
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  • I would call ahead and have the sandwiches ready so you just have to give the cash and go. If there's any sort of line I would bring the kids in. If its completely empty, all glass windows and the cash register is by the front entrance I'd grab them, pay and go. 
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  • image hocus:

    Yes it is a horrible idea. 

    I'd consider something with a drive through. I wouldn't live your kids in the car. 

     

    Thanks ladies!  I guess this is why you should always trust your gut! Somewhere with a drive through it is. Why can't all places, including the grocery store have drive throughs!?!? 

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  • Is it actually dangerous? If there isn't a weather issue (hot sun), or an internal safety issue (you don't keep them buckled in), then no - its not really dangerous. Lock the car, but child abductions, which is what everyone is afraid of, are very rare. Less common than they used to be.

    That said, everybody is a busybody and a paranoid one at that, so it wouldn't surprise me if you did it for someone to end up waiting for you at the car and being rude about it. This is why (with two exceptions), I don't leave my daughter in the car. Not because it is inherently unsafe, but because I don't want to deal with other people. 

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  • I would not di it. I sympathize as I have 3 year old twins so this has always been an issue. I would go through a drive through or have something delivered or just bring them in. Or call them and see if someone will run it out to you!

  • This has happened twice so far in my area.  Both times, someone called the cops and the parent was arrested and went to jail. 
  • The law in my state is that they must be in your sight at all times, and no more than 10 minutes. Penalties are 1 year of jail and a 2500 fine. Not worth it.
  • image wedsept:
    This has happened twice so far in my area.  Both times, someone called the cops and the parent was arrested and went to jail. 

    I think (or hope) what happened in your area is slightly different than what I had in mind. I would not have been more than a few feet from my car and I would have been in a store with floor to ceiling glass windows.  The whole transaction probably would have taken 3-5 minutes.  My whole issue was that when I have to run into a place for one thing, it takes me longer to unload my kids from the car than it does to make my transaction!  Not to mention, 2 yr old is wild & the baby + carseat is heavy.  It's just a hassle.  I'm sure most of you understand the frustration.

    If anyone left their kids in the car long enough for a scene to form, cops called & cops to arrive...without the parent(s) noticing then, yeah that's criminal!

    At any rate I didn't feel comfortable with the idea so I opted for a drive thru (yuck). 

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  • no thats not a good idea.
  • The one case where the parent was arrested was very similar to what you proposed.  As soon as the parent left, a bystander called the cops and tried to take a sleeping baby out of the car. 
  • sosophsosoph
    2500 Comments 250 Answers Third Anniversary 25 Love Its
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    Leaving your child in an unattended car is considered Child Endangerment in most states, regardless of the circumstances/intent. It is illegal in KY: www.pcaky.org/files/bin/8
  • skioskio
    5000 Comments 250 Answers Fifth Anniversary 250 Love Its
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    Yes, it's a horrible idea.
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  • I wouldnt do it, but more for the fact of dealing with others reactions than worrying something would happen. Believe me, I know how hard it is to take a kid out of the car for 2 min. when you know you could be back in the car faster. If something really did happen, you could never live with yourself, so better safe than sorry.

    What does always boggle me is how some ppl get arrested,etc. but as a teacher, I see so much neglect and lack of involvement on parents part that unfortunately leaving your kid in the car for a few minutes sometimes seems like better parenting than what I see. I know that probably sounds awful, but it is a reality.


     

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  • If you leave the front windows cracked enough so that they can get fresh air and the car will not over heat, I don't see why this would be an issue.  Some people may give you dirty looks, but if they are both fastened in there should be no issues.  I do this on the occasions that my son will not go back to bed at 2am and the one time there was cops in the shop also.  I did make sure that the car was locked so it would be harder for someone to steal it.


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  • Would it be illegal if the car is in my driveway? I have never left my kids in the car in a public place, but I have definitely done it at my home multiple times. Today I got them both all buckled in to go to the grocery store, then realized I left the reusable bags in the house so I ran in to grab them and left the girls in the car. Would that be child endangerment too?


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  • image HML5382:
    Would it be illegal if the car is in my driveway? I have never left my kids in the car in a public place, but I have definitely done it at my home multiple times. Today I got them both all buckled in to go to the grocery store, then realized I left the reusable bags in the house so I ran in to grab them and left the girls in the car. Would that be child endangerment too?


    My friend is a child protection social worker in Orange County California, and she says yes.
  • Here, it is against the law to leave a child unattended in the car. If someone reports you, there can be a CPS investigation plus citations involved. All of the consequences, just in legality terms, is not worth it to me.

    Not to mention that it only takes one second for something to happen. 

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  • image HML5382:
    Would it be illegal if the car is in my driveway? I have never left my kids in the car in a public place, but I have definitely done it at my home multiple times. Today I got them both all buckled in to go to the grocery store, then realized I left the reusable bags in the house so I ran in to grab them and left the girls in the car. Would that be child endangerment too?

    It depends on where you live. There are 19 states where it is illegal. Here in Washington it is illegal to leave kids alone in the car IF the car is running. 

    But I have to say I can't imagine anyone would seriously arrest you or CPS would do anything by leaving your kids in the car in your driveway while you run inside for all of 5 seconds. 

  • image TiffanyBerry:

    Is it actually dangerous? If there isn't a weather issue (hot sun), or an internal safety issue (you don't keep them buckled in), then no - its not really dangerous. Lock the car, but child abductions, which is what everyone is afraid of, are very rare. Less common than they used to be.

    That said, everybody is a busybody and a paranoid one at that, so it wouldn't surprise me if you did it for someone to end up waiting for you at the car and being rude about it. This is why (with two exceptions), I don't leave my daughter in the car. Not because it is inherently unsafe, but because I don't want to deal with other people. 

    I agree with this completely. I left my sleeping 15 month old in the car for literally 2 seconds at a small, local grocery store, right where I could see her the entire time to get Tylenol for her, at like 11 o clock at night. Before I even made it to the doors, some woman was screaming her head off, calling cops and telling me how horrible of a mother I am.

    The cops showed up, asked me and others in the store what happened, and basically told the woman to calm down and left. 

    I cried because I was so mad, and DH thought I was going to rip his head off when I got home.  But I come from a town of 400, where this happens all the time, so I am okay with it while I am getting gas, or stopping at a store where I can see them the whole time. There are far worse things to do to a child.

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  • In my area it'd be pretty frowned upon, but I do have friends who live in an area where it is totally acceptable. 
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  • image HML5382:
    Would it be illegal if the car is in my driveway? I have never left my kids in the car in a public place, but I have definitely done it at my home multiple times. Today I got them both all buckled in to go to the grocery store, then realized I left the reusable bags in the house so I ran in to grab them and left the girls in the car. Would that be child endangerment too?

    I've done that a ton of times. It's far less dangerous for DD to be locked in her carseat rather than wanting to chase after me while my hands are full of stuff that needs to be dragged into the house.  

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  • Yeah that's a horrible idea, where I live we call the police if we see kids left in the car, no matter how long.
  • Yes the odds of something bad happening are very slim but in my opinion it just isn't a chance I'd be willing to take.  I think its a bad idea.
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