Leaving Your Child In The Car For 5 Minutes Should Not Be A Crime

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I just cannot get on board with this one. Can anyone truly say with a straight face that they think a 4-year old locked in a car on a day with mild temperatures for five minutes while his mom runs a quick errand is in imminent danger? Like, enough danger to warrant his mother being arrested and sentenced to community service? Has the whole world gone mad that this is even an issue?

According to our friends at The Daily Mail, it absolutely has and it absolutely is. Kim Brooks was on her way to the airport for a 2.5 hour flight with her 4-year old son. She knew they would need a set of headphones so the child could entertain himself during the flight but realized before setting off that his were broken. She made a quick decision that would change the course of her life for the next two years. From The Daily Mail:

 ”I took a deep breath. I looked at the  clock. For the next four or five seconds, I did what it sometimes seems I’ve  been doing every  minute of every day since having children, a constant,  never-ending  risk-benefit analysis.

‘I  noted that it was a mild, overcast,  50-degree day. I noted how close the parking spot was to the front door, and  that there were a few other  cars nearby.

‘I visualized  how quickly, unencumbered by a  tantrumming four-year-old, I would be,  running into the store, grabbing a pair  of child headphones. And then I  did something I’d never done before.

‘I left him. I told him I’d be right  back. I  cracked the windows and child-locked the doors and  double-clicked my keys so  that the car alarm was set. And then I left  him in the car for about five  minutes.

‘He didn’t die. He wasn’t kidnapped or  assaulted or forgotten or dragged across state lines by a carjacker.

‘When I returned to the car, he was still  playing his game, smiling, or more  likely smirking at having gotten what he  wanted from his spineless mama. I tossed the headphones onto the passenger seat  and put the keys in the ignition.”

This is not a mother leaving her child for an hour so she can stroll through Target or get her grocery shopping done. This is not a mother who left her child in the car in horribly hot weather without any fresh air. This is not a mother who left her child in a dangerous neighborhood. She was in and out and when she got back, all was well. Or at least she thought.

Apparently, some lovely citizen with a camera phone documented the entire incident on film and reported her to law enforcement afterward. By the time the cops tracked her license plate number and figured out who she was, she was just returning from her trip. A police cruiser was in her mother’s driveway when she got home from taking Brooks to the airport. Brooks ended up hiring a lawyer, whom she thought smoothed things with the officer, but nine months later, it still was not over. It turns out, as another police officer called to inform her, there was a warrant out for her arrest.

In the time since that call, the case went to court and her lawyer advised her to plead guilty as this could end with her kids potentially being taken away from her. The prosecuter ended up issuing a continuance and agreeing that they would not pursue charges as long as Kim completed 100 hours of community service, which she did.

I am honestly flabbergasted and enraged over this. While I agree that in this day and age, it is probably not wise to leave your young child unattended in your car (mostly, due to “good samaritans” who might decide to report you to CPS) I in no way think this woman deserved what she got. 100 hours of community service?! There are rapists who walk with less of a punishment (if any punishment at all). There are parents everywhere treating their children horribly- not feeding them enough, beating them, not taking them to a doctor when they are sick- and tax payer money was actually spent on making this woman do 100 hours of community service for five minutes in the car? I am stunned.

There are so many things wrong in this world that deserve our thoughts, our attention and our activism. I simply do not think that energy should be wasted on one case of not-so-great judgement from an otherwise, good and loving mother. Leaving your child in the car for five minutes is not a crime. I will never be convinced otherwise.

(Image: altanaka/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Valerie Williams, on twitter.
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    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

      I agree. I can see waiting around a car to make sure the kid is not forgotten, and calling the police or intervening if it goes on for too long, but not overreacting in the moment. I know that it gets hot–your car’s internal temperature increases a fairly significant amount every 15 minutes, and I honestly would probably have someone paged even if I saw a dog in a car for longer than five or maybe ten minutes around here right now–but a little compassion and common sense goes a helluva long way.

      • Valerie

        Exactly. I’m not saying what she did was the world’s best decision but it just seems FAR from a crime punishable by law. If she was gone for half an hour, ok, I get that. But 5 minutes?? Shit, I hit maybe half that sometimes turned around in the grocery aisle comparing prices and not having my eye totally on my kid in the cart. Should I be arrested?? It just seems so harsh and arbitrary!

      • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

        Harsh and arbitrary is a good description. I second that wholeheartedly. We’re really good at second guessing other people’s parenting.

      • Alene

        Exactly. This is one parenting issue where context is a big deal too. Weather, the child’s age, where the car is parked and time of day should all be taken I to account.

      • Kendra

        Exactly! If they watched (and videotaped?!) the whole thing, I don’t understand why they even bothered to call the police. Weather permitting, I see no need to report someone for this.

      • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

        I don’t see any either. So long as they are back at the car in a timely manner, I don’t see any ill-effects, personally. Like I said, I’d probably want to intervene if it went on too long here, because today we’re at a balmy 98 degrees. But if the weather is fine? I wish I felt more comfortable leaving my kids in the car in those instances, actually.

      • Kendra

        Yeah, I don’t feel comfortable with it at all personally, but I don’t think there’s any need to jump on the “call the cops” train in every circumstance.

      • keelhaulrose

        That video should have been exhibit A that the child was never in any danger. Five minutes or less is ridiculous on a 50 degree day.

    • Kendra

      So, because I have nothing better to do today, I decided to look at up the law in her state. It says, basically, that you can’t leave a child unattended in a car for “a period of time which would pose an unreasonable risk or injury to the child”. I fail to see why she is punished at all, because I think what she did is completely within the confines of the law anyway. I have to agree that there are MUCH greater things that we should be focusing our attention on. Like, I don’t know, REAL abuse cases that CPS should be worried about.

      • waffre

        Yeah, if her story is an accurate account of what happened, and the video taken should show that, then I’m curious why her lawyer advised her to plead guilty.

      • Pzonks

        Did you look up her state or the state where it happened? I read the story on Salon.com and apparently they were visiting her parents in another state.

      • JDog06

        Thank you! AMEN!

    • SA

      I understand the reasoning behind these laws. However it seems like they could be applied with a bit of common sense (obviously not a mom that is being reckless). What I can’t begin to understand is why this person just sat there and video-taped the entire thing BEFORE calling the cops? If she was truly concerned about the well-being of the child, she would have called the cops first. Sounds like she was just trying to be a bitch and now it is costing this mom.

      However I think laws are in place for this in most states now. I have a friend that was drug out of a store and chewed out by a cop even though they were in there for just a bit and the car was parked right in front of the store window. So the best bet would be to just not do it. It is SO hard though! Traveling a long-distance with your kid and no other adult is impossible when it comes to needing to stop and use the restroom. I was about to pee all over myself once and kid was napping in car seat and I couldn’t even risk it even though I was tempted. I just knew some “well-meaning” person would have the cops there before I could wipe.

      • Rachel Sea

        I think everyone should start leaving their kids in the car so that it becomes the norm again.

      • Natasha B

        I kind of agree with you.

      • Kelly

        Exactly. If she really thought the kid was in danger, she would have called the police or tried to “save” him.

    • Lee

      If the person recording the incident was so concerned why did they stand there and just record for the whole time. Why not call the cops right then, try to get the child out of the car, or confront the mother?

      • Mystik Spiral

        My money’s on the person hoping they would get something “good” that they could release, go viral, and get 5 minutes of internet “fame”. Then when they got nothing they just decided to be a little bitch about it and report to the authorities.

        I know I’m cynical, but it wouldn’t be surprising.

      • Kendra

        Cynical, sure…but honestly, you’re probably right.

      • Andrea

        I am quite certain you are right

      • G.S.
    • mandy

      I’ve left my baby in the car before. It was raining, she was asleep, and I needed gas. I parked at a pumped in front of the door, cracked the windows, locked the car, ran into the store, threw my money on the counter and ran back out shouting the pump number to the cashier. It’s something I would also do again so long as it wasn’t hot out and the car was in shade. I get the reason behind these laws but I also think it should be case by case.

      • Mette

        I have also left my kid (aged 2.5 yrs) in the car for a few minutes while running a quick errand. I guess I should be thankful for not ending up in jail!

      • annie

        I think there’s a difference between running into a gas station very quickly when you can SEE your vehicle… I’m not saying she should’ve been arrested, but I think it’s poor judgment to leave a toddler in the car unattended, this day & age with so many stories of carjackings & kidnappings.

    • Maria Guido

      If the person who taped this really thought the child was in danger, she would have done more than tape it. What a complete jerk.

      • JenH1986

        Right? call the cops right then! Get them there stat. Not record it and then call. Call and then record it.

    • Alene

      How to be a “Good Samaritan” in this situation.:
      1. See child in car. Notice he is playing on iPad, not dying of heat exhaustion or looking like he’s been there for hours.
      2. Observe weather. Notice it is not twenty below zero or eighty five degrees outside.
      3. Make note of license plate number, in case mother does not come back.
      4. Wait for parent to return.
      5. If parent returns: Respectfully and kindly point out that you noticed child in the car, and just wanted to make sure he was ok. Observe that mother will probably be apologizing profusely and delivering excuse. Realize that we all make less-than-perfect decisions and recognize it is not a crime (or shouldn’t be)
      6. If parent doesn’t return within a reasonable amount of time (the time it would take to run a very short errand, weather permitting): Have store page parent.
      7. If parent still doesn’t return: Call police

      • Arlene Erickson

        It’s something I would also do again so long as it wasn’t hot out and the car was in shade. I get the reason behind these laws but I also think it should be case by case.

    • Aldonza

      …Man I mom would have been screwed when we were growing up if this was a thing. She had myself and my older brother as well as my cousin and she would take us with her until we were old enough to stay home by ourselves. She ran into the Post Office, the bank, all kinds of places. It was fast, it was safe, it was fine.

      • foofoo

        My cousins mom left us in the car. Me as a 6 year old, my cousins were 3 and 1. My 3 year old cousin climbed in the front seat and knocked the car out of gear and we rolled into an embankment!

        However, this was before carseats as well. If he’d been strapped in. We would have been fine.

      • Aldonza

        Oh no! Haha, I’m guessing everyone was okay?

        Yeah, this was at least beyond the point that was a concern. I’m guessing my cousin and I were four and my brother was six. By the time I was a few years older, my Mom would just leave us at home to run quick errands. Never for more than 30 minutes to an hour and the neighbors were always home. It was a never a problem. It’s funny now because I work with kids, and I have ones who are 13, 14 talking about babysitters and I’m remembering that I started babysitting at 12…times are different.

    • Vikky

      If it takes the threat of 100 hours of community service to keep children safe, so be it.

      It’s not just the temperature that makes leaving a chil in a car unsafe…

      • Kendra

        Except this child was not unsafe?

      • foofoo

        Vicky just needs to let us know how much of a better mother she is. :P

      • Mystik Spiral

        I bet she was the mystery videographer in this story…

      • Kendra

        I totally almost said that!

      • Amanda

        So should we be given 100 hours of community service because we put our kid in the car and drove him to the store? Because that was by far the most dangerous thing she did that day. The statistics show that it is far more likely to be killed in a car accident than it is to be abducted by a stranger. A child is unsafe operating in the world, yet we must go forth and continue to live. As a society, we have lost all perspective on what is actually risky.

      • Mystik Spiral

        You let your kid play on a 6 foot tall play structure? 50 hours community service for you!

        You sent your kid to play with his friend down the street without doing a complete background check on the parents? 100 hours, boom!

        You give your child FOOD? Do you realize the potential CHOKING DANGER??? 200 hours community service!

      • Amanda

        Purees until you’re 8! And it better be organic or else there’s another 50 hours…

      • Mystik Spiral

        Feed non-organic purees to your snowflake and we’re past community service hours, lady. Do not pass Go and do NOT collect $200.

      • G.S.

        You let your kid breathe in UNFILTERED AIR?!?!?!

        http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_me681pNuAs1rlt1i7o1_500.gif

      • Mystik Spiral

        And the kid could be hit in the parking lot by a speeding car if he was taken into the store. Children are in potentially dangerous situations multiple times a day. A good parent will use their common sense to assess which situations they will allow their children to be in.

      • JenH1986

        As the article stated…the kid is more likely to be injured in the car with his mother than be kidnapped etc. so… yea. 5 minutes on a 50 degree day really isn’t the end of the world. Now when people bitch and scream about a kid throwing a tantrum when mom is only getting one thing I want all moms to say “but I can’t leave him in the car for 5 minutes”. So maybe people will stop judging moms there.

      • CMJ

        Let me guess…you were the “good Samaritan?”

      • keelhaulrose

        That child is in much more danger when that car is in gear and moving. Should we call the cops every time we see someone driving with their kids in the car?

      • ToastDon’tCare(aka LiteBrite)

        Ah yes. In the interest of keeping children “safe.” But let’s look at the consequences, shall we?

        -100 hours of community service for this mother, which I’m sure took time away from her family, particularly her child
        -Lawyer and court fees, money of which probably could’ve been used for something else
        -A now-paranoid child

        But, it’s okay because it’s all in the name of “safety” right?

      • Lindsey

        The kid is paranoid because of the parents talking about adult issues with him. The woman says so right in the article.

      • G.S.

        If you think that something can happen to a kid, and you have enough time to tape it, I’m sure you could instead just hang around the car to make sure that something doesn’t happen to the kid. NOT videotape it just to put it on youtube and call the cops like the world’s biggest and worst gossipy hen. That makes you an ASSHOLE.

        NOBODY deserves to possibly have their kids taken away over the above lady’s circumstances. NOBODY.

      • Kat

        Do you have ANY idea what kind of hell is unleashed on families because of people like you? This innocent — yeah, INNOCENT — mother and her son are most likely traumatized forever because you wanted to feel like a “good samaritan” (read: you want to feel high and mighty). I doubt you’ve ever considered it. Well congrats! You hurt children so you can tell your friends what a gold star citizen you are! I hope you’re torn from your family.

      • Vikky

        I love how everyone assumes that because I agree with the judge that I must be the ACTUAL person that videotaped this. Because only ONE person believes she did the wrong thing.
        Not to blow your mind, but I’ve never: called the police on another mother, videotaped another person without their permission, or been to Michigan in the last 30 years.

        And yet, I don’t think it’s OK to ever leave a kid in a car by themself. I guess there’s at least two people who feel that way…three counting the judge.

      • Alexandra

        LOL vikky

      • Christie

        Sadly, I think the odds of endangerment are higher when we take our kids out of the parked car, with all of the random public shootings, than they are of being kidnapped or harmed from being in a parked car (on mild days. Not too hot or too cold).

    • Kelly

      What you describe is totally reasonable and the punishment this woman received is ridiculous.

      Parents have received less for leaving infants to bake to death in cars in 100 degree weather. Which as much as it pissed people off in the last article, I’m going to say it again. You leave an infant in a car in 100+ degree weather, you better answer my yells within a couple of minutes or I’m getting that kid out of that death trap.

      • Clever name

        A friend of mine once noticed the car parked next to her had a sleeping infant in his car seat, alone in the car. Since it was a cloudy day, not hot or cold, she decided to wait for someone to come back for him before she went anywhere. She waited… And waited. Finally 45 (!) minutes later the mom came back, and all my friend did was give her a nasty look. We were all like OMG, next time call the police! I agree that five minutes or less on a cool day is no big deal, but 45 minutes is waaaaay over the line.

      • Kelly

        Wow. I’m glad the temperature was reasonable but that’s still crazy. I think I would have just called the police before waiting 45 minutes. I understand your friend waiting though, I don’t think I could walk away and pretend I didn’t care either.

      • Guest

        45 min? I would have thought she’d forgotten the kid. With the people who are specifically leaving their kids in the car for extended periods of time like that I honestly want to take the kid and watch Mom lose her ish. But you know, kidnapping and all, I wouldn’t, but I’d have probably gone in the store or called the cops.

      • JenH1986

        A local mother left her infant in the back seat and she died. This mother is shown on video moving her car from one spot to another and getting in the backseat for donuts. She received no jail and was never charged because “losing her child was enough punishment”. I don’t really get forgetting your kid, but to get in your car twice? Ugh. And then this woman faces charges when her 4 year old is left for 5 minutes.

    • keelhaulrose

      I’ve said on another thread my criteria for leaving my kids in the car is “parked in sight” and “takes one minute or less”.
      However, my state law is different. I have ten minutes of time before I’m in trouble according to the law. This would probably make some of the pearl-clutchers have a heart attack.
      If the child wasn’t in danger this should be a non-issue.

      • Alexandra

        What crazy lawless state is that??? *clutches pearls* I must never go to there! ;)

      • keelhaulrose

        Illinois. We’re too busy locking up our politicians worry about things like kids in hot cars.

    • keelhaulrose

      That article was depressing. This incident made her son paranoid. Is it really worth it, you nosy, smug, busy-bodies to terrify the children of good parents into a paranoid state?

    • Adam smith

      One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. Read more: http://goo.gl/m6kNNI

      • Mystik Spiral

        Oooooh, nice try spambot, but your key words are malfunctioning.

      • Valerie

        Hahahaha

    • Frannie

      Because of these laws, I’m afraid to leave my kids in the car to run into a convenience store for two minutes. I get there are laws for good reasons, but some of them are a ridiculous pain in the ass.

    • Guest

      I saw this article and was like holy shit. People get all sorts of fucked up over this stuff. If we’re talking 100 degree day I would totally understand that. If you were standing around filming and therefore weren’t actually concerned about this kid? Then this is stupid. 100 hours is ridiculous. We have criminals committing hardcore crimes that get less than that. I’d rather you smack her on the wrist and give the actual bad-guys more time to work on themselves. I’m glad at least that she enjoyed volunteering for places she liked.

    • http://www.amazon.com/Truth-about-Coming-Zombie-Apocalypse/dp/1462736491/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400104532&sr=1-1&keywords=9781462736492 Elder Swindell

      They always say it was just 5 minutes …. always ….

      “The Truth About The Coming Zombie Apocalypse”
      http://www.amazon.com/Truth-about-Coming-Zombie-Apocalypse/dp/1462736491/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400104532&sr=1-1&keywords=9781462736492

    • C.J.

      If it is illegal to leave a child in the car for 5 minutes why isn’t it illegal to film it and not notify the police immediately. The child obviously wasn’t in any danger. There are people who actually harm children and get nothing, how about going after them.

      • G.S.

        Ironically, if we actually bothered to go after the pedophiles as much as we do women who leave their kids in cars for five minutes, nobody would give a fuck about kids alone in cars (as long as the weather was nice).

      • C.J.

        I have a friend that was molested by her step father, because he plead guilty he was given a short period of probation and nothing else. He went on to marry another woman with a small child. I would not be surprised if he hurt that child too, what he did to my friend was really severe. It bothers me that a mom that didn’t do anything wrong gets a punishment worse than a shmuck like him.

    • Kat

      Nope. No, I can’t. Then… I once left the baby in the car (for like 30 secs) when I went to 7-11. I was a stressed out and I spaced out. I was appropriately mortified. I cried for like 20 mins. Everyone thought I was completely insane.

      • Kat

        I also saw a woman leave her four or five year old son in the car the other night at Walmart. It was 65 or 70° outside, and he appeared to be asleep. I watched from afar, and she was back in roughly five mins. I admit, at first I judged. Then I realized what a judgey asshole I sounded like, and I felt like a judgey asshole!

    • Shadow

      Yeah but a four-year-old? Too young I think. You’ve got to know that you can’t just do this anymore without some trouble.

    • Mothertougher

      I did this yesterday at the gas station. I needed to grab coffee and I had a HUGE eternal debate about it… but the kids (3.5 and 5.5) begged me to stay in the car, and I was going to be in eye-shot (is eye-shot a thing?) of them at all time, just going in to the food mart to get the caffeine fix. All was well until a police car pulled up next to my car as I was waiting in line. I FREAKED and ran out – with my unpaid-for coffee – which was equally bad as I’d just shoplifted. Luckily, they were going in for their own coffee fix and and didn’t even register my car. Scared me to death, though… and then I read this, and I am thinking I will never do this again. Because who knows? Someone might be videotaping me. Holy shitballs.

    • Buffy

      What can I say? My mother considered the car the safest place around so I stayed a lot of times in there while she was running errands, shopping etc.
      Of course she never left me when it was hot but all the other times I loved it. I could play, listen to the radio, cuddle my plush toys etc.
      But things where diffrent then. Mothers left strollers with sleeping infants outside the shopping center and nothing happened– if a child woke up and screamed, someone around would soothe the child and nobody thought bad of the mom.
      I remember singing to a baby when I was little and how the mother came back, thanking me.
      I never thought my childhood would someday sound like something from a fairytale ( “In the old times you could….”)

      • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

        Oh how I wish things were like that now. That sounds like a lovely time to live. Now I would be terrified to touch the baby because the mother would think I was molesting it or something.

        Once I was in the grocery store and my kids were playing peek a boo with the baby in the shopping cart in front of us. They were instructed not to touch the baby, but peek a boo is usually ok. Then my eldest got my attention because the baby was starting to stand up in the shopping cart. I didn’t know what to do, because I was scared to touch the baby, so I just got read to catch and alerted the mother.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      Have to agree. If the weather isn’t hot or cold, then the kid can stay if it’s just a short run. CERTAINLY not worthy of an investigation like this. What a waste of resources!

    • WriterLady

      I read the author’s piece on Slate yesterday and had many of the same thoughts and concerns. I would venture to imagine that the majority of us have left our kids unattended for a few minutes in a car at some point. While I’ve never gone inside a store to shop with my son in the backseat, I have left him for a few seconds to run inside my own home to get a few things. And just a few days ago, I had a similar philosophical dilemma when I was out doing some chores. I had pulled up to get gas at a freestanding gas station where you can’t technically go inside a building. It was a busy day, and my car was about 15 feet away from the attendant’s window (with the a/c running), but there were two people in line behind me (and several other cars around). I purchased gum and Pepsi, the whole time frantically looking back at the car to make sure that a.) nobody was near it; and b.) a cop hadn’t pulled up. In hindsight, I realize that even a little event such as that could have gotten me in serious trouble–even though the odds of something happening to my son in that exact time frame and situation were about 10 million to 1. I’m all for laws that protect our children, but in my opinion, we have taken things WAY too far. And the nosy jerk who taped this boy while his mother was away from the vehicle for a few minutes is nothing if not a self-righteous prick.

    • JenH1986

      The number of people on my FB page who told me I should never have kids because I thought it was ok to leave them for 5 minutes (within my view) was staggering. I was flat out told I would be a terrible mother if I thought I could leave my child for that long in a car.

      • Christie

        Whoever said that to you is an idiot. I don’t understand the judgement for your opinion. They can disagree with your view and say “I disagree with that. I would feel like a terrible mother if I left my kid in the car” and not be an ass.

    • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

      When they were babies, and unable to get themselves out of the car, I did not do this at all. Once they were in booster seats and they could remove their seatbelt, open the door and come join me in the gas station if they were hot or cold, then I would do the 1 min grab and dash. Still I had a “Good Samaritan” stand by my car and give me a lecture. This is a gas station where I was parked right by the door, and I could see the car the entire time. My kids could see me. If they changed their mind about the treat they wanted they would get out of the car, walk to me and tell me to get something else. I don’t think this is dangerous at all. They would be able to lock or un-lock the car doors as needed and if somebody tried to smash my window in broad daylight, with me looking at my car, I am sure I could get to them in time.

      I think the don’t leave your kids in the car campaign is out of control. I would never leave them to go into the grocery store, because that just takes too long, I would not want my kids to navigate the parking lot, they would have trouble finding me in the store, and they would probably be too scared to get out of the car if there was a problem.

      Honestly I am less scared to leaving them in the car for one minute then I am to leave them in the backyard for one minute because we have a swimming pool. It is more likely that they will drown in the swimming pool, then be snatched or overheated in the car. Especially since they could get out of the car if they got hot.

      Just because some ignorant parents left their kids in the car and went shopping for hours, does not mean every parent out there will do that. The key is common sense. I think as parents now we are more scared of the “Good Samaritan” and the CPS then we are of the kids actually dying or being stolen. That is the sad part.

    • http://www.max-logic.com/ maxfab

      I leave my 17 month old twins alone in my living room while I go to the bathroom, or go have a smoke on the front porch and no one is chastising me for that. I don’t see what the difference is, really.

      • annie

        There is a great chance of kidnapping or carjacking in public places. If my baby or toddler falls asleep on the way home, I’ll leave them in the car, engine off, doors open, in the garage with the laundry room door open so I can hear them, and let them finish their nap.

    • Lindsey

      If you would leave your kids alone, at home, while you went out for a bit, then yes, leave your kids in the car for 5 minutes or less(only in under 80 degree weather though). However, if you would not leave your kids at home, why do you think it is okay to leave them in the car?

      • Christie

        Not even close to the same playing field. A better comparison would be leaving your child, either swinging or sleeping, in their room with a closed bedroom door while you walk to your mailbox at the street to get your mail without a baby monitor.

        Women and men across the country do that every day and it’s not considered neglect. If you leave your front door open, or a window open, anyone can get into your house. Someone could overcome you while you’re outside. Shoot, someone could get in and overcome you inside! We live in a paranoid society. There’s nothing wrong with being overly cautious, and if you’re not comfortable leaving your kid in the car, then don’t. That doesn’t make you a better or worse parent than someone who would make a different decision. Just make sure you think for yourself on all the angles you should be cautious about and not just the ones that are more “mainstream-blamestream”, because if you’re going to do it, do it right.

      • Kelly

        I would work in the yard while my son slept during naps when he was an infant and toddler. He was alone in the house for much longer than five minutes during those times. I definitely think it was ok. I agree with you that there really isn’t much difference between leaving them in a locked house or a locked car.

    • Christie

      The comments here make much more sense than the comments on the huffpo Facebook post with the article. The amount of sanctimommies who read huffpo is insane.

      In European countries, woman leave their babies in strollers on the street as they eat dinner and shop. It’s normal there. It’s not like you can lock your baby into a stroller and then anchor that bad boy down. In my opinion, a car would be much much safer!

    • personal

      There is nothing wrong with leaving your child in the car. There IS something wrong with endangering a child. This woman did not do that.

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    • Stacy Shain

      Five seconds is all it takes for someone to kidnap your kid.Times are different then that of our parents.I would NOT have called the cops or done anything to that lady, but my own child I bring him in with me.Yes I have to deal with the whining or mommy can I have a cookie or a toy, but I feel I just have to suck it up!

      • Pzonks

        Yes, times ARE different. For one, crime rates have dropped dramatically in the last 20 years. It’s actually much, much SAFER now than it was when I was a kid being left in the car outside the grocery store. And stranger kidnappings are extrememly rare.

      • Stacy Shain

        When my Nana had my mother, she would leave her in the street as a baby to get fresh hair in Brooklyn. I doubt that would be safe now… It was the norm to do that back then, but there are horrific people who do disgusting things and there is no way around it.

      • Kelly

        There were always horrific people who do disgusting things. They’ve existed since long before your Nana was ever born.

        You just didn’t have the Internet to feed your fear and paranoia back then.

      • Stacy Shain

        Like you said They’ve existed since long before your Nana was ever born. so obv there are horrific people and there always will be so that is why I will NOT leave my kid alone in the car…………….

      • Stacy Shain

        Why take a risk…bring your kid with you. problem solved!

    • Michigan Mom

      I think any parent being charged for this is ridiculous. I leave my four kids in the car for brief times at least once a week — normally when they are safer in the car! Should I have to take four kids 5 and under out of my car at the gas station to pump and pay for gas? Because, of course, they are much safer milling around outside the car, right? Or, should I have to take all four out to walk 10 steps to the post office box? Or to deposit a book in the library return box? Parents can’t stand right next to their child every second of every day and often the car, locked and secure, is safer than the alternative. These cases piss me off because there are real children suffering real abuse that get no attention or help because the parenting Nazis are so busy chasing around good parents during the best they can under the circumstances.

    • Michigan Mom

      Not to mention almost all parents leave their kids unattended in their own rooms at night. But someone could break in and snatch their child! There are predators out there! Why is that OK but leaving your kid in a locked car (assuming the weather conditions aren’t dangerous) isn’t?

    • http://batman-news.com Megan

      I read the original article a few days ago and then when I was picking up my daughter from daycare that same day, I overheard about another mom from my daycare. When she got off work, there was a cop car blocking her car because someone had seen her carseat and couldn’t tell if there was a child in it or not. The mom had put a blanket over it to help keep the seat cool.

    • Annie

      I saw an interview with the mother on TV. The reason she left her 4-year-old in the car is because he refused to go in the store. Letting your toddler win is the real crime.

    • http://www.kars4kids.org Mordechai Geberer

      Hi there – I am a busy parent as well and I’m not a mother which means that I am not as accustomed to errands with my kids in the car. I am guilty of leaving my kid or kids for just 2 minutes and I want you to know that i will never ever do that again after what I have see and will share with you all.

      The first clip is a father who actually experienced this. The 2nd clip is from a newscast and the 3rd is a re-enactment of what can happen.

      If you still don’t believe in this 100% Google this topic online. There is a wealth of stories out there unfortunately and to be frankly honest not stories with a happy ending like Kim Brooks whose child was alive and well and all she got was some misdemeanor. Good luck and hope you never have to experience any of this.

      1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQo7RnGLTLk

      2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0qb9zZYNU0

      3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNDWN8KDVSM

    • JDog06

      left my 6 and 7 y/o in the van for LITERALLY two minutes with the windows 3/4 down, 79 degrees in a DARKLY tinted van (the a/c had JUST been running on full blast), and locked the doors so I could “run in” to Sally’s Beauty Supply to ask a quick question about a product (parked right in front of the store and that’s the only reason I did it in the first place because I could SEE them completely and FYI there is literally no room in the Sally’s in our town to even walk inside.). I needed to ask them if they carry or could order a certain type of wax… They said no and that was that. Then I look out the window and notice a woman pulled up next to my van, starting to look in my windows and began to make a phone call.

      I ran outside because #1 (I was done), #2, I wanted to know why this woman was looking in the windows at my children. She begins to inform me about what a “terrible parent” I am to leave my “poor children” in a car in “105 Degree” weather. I actually laughed out loud mainly from shock as the high temp was 80 ON HER OWN SMARTPHONE WEATHER INFO (we had just got back from the South where it’s LITERALLY 105 with 100% humidity, so she was absolutely CLUELESS) and it is extremely dry where we are. More importantly, I would NEVER even leave my kids in the car for 5 minutes. I was only asking a question and came immediately back out within 2 minutes. She continued to let me know I needed to “stay right there” since she was calling the police right now and I would be arrested.

      I said “According to your calculations how long were you out here before I came back?” (Of course she knew I knew the answer). She said, “About a minute…… but it doesn’t matter!” I said “Really, hmmm, it doesn’t matter hugh, ya know if it was 2 minutes versus 20 minutes?” She just got uncomfortable, got in her car and rolled the window up. So, I knocked on her window and said, “Why don’t you come feel how STEAMING HOT my van is?” She got really mad and said, “No, and THIS IS THE LAST THING I AM GOING TO SAY TO YOU!” Oooh! My bad for calling you on your BS!!!

      The cops actually went into Sally’s and stayed in there for 10 minutes?! I just sat in my supposed “105 Degree” oh so hot van “with” my kids waiting and I even asked them, are you guys hot? They say, no, it’s fine, lol! We waited and waited and they never came out?! I could tell she was nervous and wanted me to get hauled away oh so badly, but it never happened.

      She drove off and then I drove off. I was actually nice and called Sally’s 10 minutes later and told the lady’s working there, I was the one the cops were probably “waiting for,” yet I had left the store long before they arrived and even before she finished making the call. They told me not to worry and that the woman most likely just wanted to “cause trouble,” got my phone number in case she filed a report. However, apparently even the women at Sally’s explained I was inside for less than 2 minutes and they told me I didn’t do anything illegal, but that I should be more careful next time because of people like that ridiculous lady.

      Lesson learned… some people are so miserable!

    • common since

      he was 4 , never would I leave a 4 yr old in a car alone i this day and age , regardless of the condition or reason . I wont even leave my 9 yr old alone common since people