Is it okay to leave your child in car alone for a “minute”?

child-in-carseatDid you ever, would you ever, leave your kids in your car to run a “small” errand?  This was on one night last week and although I’ve thought about it before, I thought I’d check with all of you and see what you think and what you’ve done or what you will do.

I never left my kids in the car but I’m anal about stuff like this.  My brain works in the “what if” mode when it comes to things going wrong.  Or just the possibility that something bad could happen kept me from doing this. It was also very different in my day.  Cars go could go into gear a lot easier then.  Now cars are made safer and most cars, you have to step on the brake to put it into gear.  I remember once my niece and nephew were playing in their dad’s truck and put it in gear and drove through the wall at our cabin.  You don’t really hear about those kinds of things now.

I also know someone who wanted to go into a store, her son was 4 and sleeping.  She could see him from the window in the store but when she went back to get in her car, it was locked and she had no key.  She was afraid to call the police so her husband had to come with another key and he was almost an hour away.  Luckily the little guy slept through the whole thing but me and my thinking “what if?”  

I do also feel a lot of this has to do with “where” you are or “where” you live.  I mean if I wanted to run into the Post Office in my small town, it probably wouldn’t be a big deal but in a big city, I’m not sure there would be any possible way I’d leave a child in a car.  I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying that I could never do it.  I would just worry to much.

This woman who was on the news blogged about this and it’s linked to the news story if you care to read it but her husband read her blog and was “irritated” with her because he’s never done it and didn’t like that she did it.  She countered by saying she’s the one that has to do all the errands with the child in tow and while he agreed that was true, he stated that he’d never left the child alone while he was out with him.

What do you think?  Do you think it’s okay if you can see your car or if your only “running in and running out?”

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19 Responses to Is it okay to leave your child in car alone for a “minute”?

  1. javajunkee says:

    I never did it. I can’t say I NEVER would have…just really didn’t have an experience to need to do it. One of the lucky ones I guess.

  2. Doraz says:

    Joy, there is NO WAY I would have ever done that with my infants…or anyone’s! I think it is not worth the “possible” horror that might occur! In Ca, if you are caught doing this….there is a price to pay! Good! If your child is sleeping, go home and get what you need, later!!!

  3. tessa says:

    I do all the time when I am running in and out of the house to grab something, but if it was at a public place I would not. Too many weirdos out there in our society. I only fly in and out of my house when I do this and I know all my neighbors.

  4. Joy says:

    I’m not talking about at home Tessa.

  5. SKL says:

    My two girls are 3 months apart in age, and neither of them walked until they were 15 months old, and I’m single. So I have spent a lot of time getting them in and out of the car, etc. Every little 5-minute errand is a big production, and that’s when the weather cooperates. Once I drove to the town where I shop and the weather had turned so bad, and the available parking spots were so far from the store, I just had to turn around and go home. I used to dread seeing the milk get low when it was storming out.

    So I don’t think this is really that simple of a question. It’s illegal to leave the kids in the car, and people do report this when they see it, so for that reason alone, I don’t do it. Well, I will leave them buckled in their car seats to go get or return a shopping cart, but I don’t go far from the car and never lose sight of the girls. Besides, they would get scared if I left them for an extended time period.

    I do realize there are weirdos and don’t like to tempt fate. But at the same time, I can sympathize with people who just need to run into a store for a bottle of milk in the rain.

    At home, I see nothing wrong with leaving the girls buckled into their seat belts while I go back into the house to get something. I know some people think that’s horrible too, but they’ve never tried to pack two 1-year-olds into the car to spend a weekend at Grandma’s.

  6. megan says:

    In the case of infants, absolutely not. My parents would occasionally leave me and my brother in the car, but only once we were old enough to have a relative idea of how to defend ourselves.

    As scared as I would be that some very messed up person would break into my car and steal it, my children, or both, I’m actually more worried about the innocent bystander who sees my child buckled in the car without adult supervision, calls the cops and has me arrested for being a bad parent.

  7. starlaschat says:

    I do not have children so it’s hard to speculate. But I can tell you Joy I am a lot like you and my What if in my head is pretty active. So I believe I would be an over worrier and would be probably overly cautious it’s a bit in my nature so my answer is no. I know it takes 2 seconds to have a child gone. I hate that we even have to worry like we do.

  8. Just a Mom says:

    I still won’t leave my kids in the car alone and they are 9 and 16! Living in Houston I tend to worry about carjackings. If they don’t want to come into the store with me then they should have stayed home.

  9. pammy wammy says:

    I have never and would never do it.In a small town,I occasionally see it and it bothers me.I believe small towns are great targets for those who would do it.They no small towns are too trusting.

  10. joanharvest says:

    No! No! I did a couple of times when I was young and learned a tough lesson. I once started my car in the driveway and left Sarah in her car seat. She was about 2 years old, maybe younger. I ran in the house because I forgot something and I had locked her in the car with the car running. I panicked and had convinced myself she would die from the fumes in seconds. Fortunately with a coat hanger I got her out fast.

    The second time Sarah was maybe 6 and my son was 4. I left them in the car for a minute and went into the convenience store by my house. My son managed to put the car in neutral and it started rolling down the driveway toward the main road. My daughter thought only of her own well being and jumped out of the car (it was moving very slowly) leaving her brother inside. I heard her screaming and ran out to the car and pulled the emergency brake before it reached the road.

    I would never leave a child in a car again. You never know what will happen.

  11. I don’t think kids, especially very small ones, should be left in the car alone. I’ve heard so many horror stories here of parents who ended up forgetting their kid was in the car – yes, this points to plain bad parenting, but still. I think that if it’s a child of, let’s say, 10 or older, one who might be sitting in the front seat, one who might be alright with fiddling with the radio or reading – with the window cracked open for air of course! – then it’s ok. If it’s for a couple minutes anyway. Not for long periods of time.

    Then again, I suppose I think this just because my mom never left me in the car unless I begged to be left there and only when I was old enough so that if I needed to I could unlock the car and run to my mom.

  12. Gary says:

    I did it once and once only! It was VERY cold and snowing VERY hard one day and I had to stop at a conveint store for something. He was 4 and “locked” into his car seat. I could see the car the ENTIRE time I was in there and NEVER took my eyes off of the car. I did shut the car off so it wasn’t running. It was in a nice small town where I felt it was at least pretty safe.

    When I got home and my wife found out what I had done, I got into so much trouble that I NEVER did it again!! LOL

  13. nikki says:

    I have heard so many stories about people taking off with cars not knowing there is a child in the car. And then there are the people who are looking to take your child. What’s a couple extra minutes to get your kid out of the car?? I’ve said this before but…do what’s best for your kids not what’s easiest for you!
    That’s such a great fear I have still, Bailey is almost 9 and he still goes into the store with me. Why take that chance I say??

  14. JavaQueen says:

    No way. Life is too short and precious. It’s not worth the risk.

  15. mssc54 says:

    Of course its okay. But ONLY if ur @ a “gentalman’s club” or gambling. Bothe should be done after sunset. Be sure to leave a pb&j sandwich, bottle of water & write ur cell # on the window just in case someone needs to find u. Before ur finished with ur lap dance or hit the jack pot.

    DUH!!!! Parenting is so inconvient.

  16. Faith says:

    I recently had an unpleasant experience with this subject… My husband is serving over seas and our family is grief stricken by the loss of my father so I don’t have any help with our 3 kids. I had to stop at the bank and the ATM was out of service. So I left my 2 younger children (4 and 9 mo) asleep in the car with it running. I waited for 2 men walking out to get in their car and leave. There was only me and one old lady who pulled up beside me at the bank and I parked right in front of the front door. The old woman come inside giving me 9 kinds of hell while I tried to bite my toungue and hold back My tears. She even went as far as to tell me that ‘that was child abuse’ and that she was calling CPS on me b4 I let her have it.
    We live in a very small southern town and I know literally 95% of the people here. What bothers me is how people are so quick to criticize instead of help. If she was truly a concerned citizen then why didn’t she stay outside to oversee them and confront me when I walked out instead of trying to embarrass me when all she did was make herself look like a fool. I was only getting some cash not applying for a loan. A total of 3 minutes MAYBE. I try never to do this but in this case I didn’t really have much choice. I had to hurry so that I wouldn’t be late to pick up my oldest son at school.

  17. Nam Deok says:

    in 2009 my friend had a son 5 years old in car alone for 1 second the police came and took the 5 years old away the police carred him out of the car and put him in the car and took off with the son

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