Poll Post–Is It Okay To Leave Your Kids in the Car Alone?

I posted an articleOkay to Leave Kids in the Car While Popping into a Store?–on my Facebook that has created, kind of, a controversy.

The question is, is it acceptable to leave your children in the car while you run an errand?

Some felt that this is okay, normal even, and do it all the time–with the caveat that it’s never for an extended period of time, moms can sometimes even see the car, they felt the area was safe, etc. Some felt that you should just never ever leave your kids alone in a car because horrible things could happen. Some felt that any moms who do this should be criminally prosecuted.

What do you think? Commentary and reasoning is appreciated–name calling and slandering isn’t. 🙂

15 thoughts on “Poll Post–Is It Okay To Leave Your Kids in the Car Alone?

  1. Erring on the side of caution and without an age limit, my answer is no. This is a topic being ravenously discussed here in Kenya today on a parenting Facebook page. Apparently, a local marathon runner took her 5 month old twins to the First Lady’s marathon this past Sunday and left the kids in the car while she ran. The kids woke up and were screaming when police were called to break in to the car and release the children. The woman still does not understand why it made such a ruckus with everyone because in her estimation the kids were safe. Remember that it is summer here in Kenya but temperatures don’t hover much past 80 fahrenheit….. outdoors. Cars get hotter obviously. Distractions and delays can cause death, so I would not want to risk it ever I guess.


  2. I think, as some others have said, that length of time, temp, location, etc. DO matter in assessing this one, as a parent. I think more than 10…maybe 15 minutes is unsafe. So in the situation you related, I can see why the kids were freaking out and why others were as well. But if they’d only been there for five minutes and she just went to buy milk? I think that’s fine.


  3. Yes BUT… I have older kiddos now that I can trust to help me for a quick run in. NOT a 1/2 hour, more like 5 mins. If I’m going in longer, they’ll come in with me. DUDE, if it’s hot, heck no. There have been too many bad things that have happened with kiddos left in a car. SHOOT, there have been too when it wasn’t a weather issue. There are/can be consequences for the choices we make.


  4. There is a huge difference between running into a store for a few minutes versus running a marathon. I do realize that the observer has no idea what how long the kids have been in the car, etc. but I think it’s tragic that we always assume the worst of people as well. If you are really concerned, park nearby and keep and eye on the kids, if the mom comes back in an appropriate time frame given the conditions and ages of the kids, go on your way, if not, take action. Do not call 911 the minute you see kids in the car, sheesh.

    My kids probably got into more trouble while I was showering at home than they ever did in the car. That being said, I brought them with me more times than I deemed necessary because I was more worried about other peoples’ perception than for their safety.


  5. I think age does matter, but also common sense. I didn’t leave my kids alone in the car when they were young, but now that they’re between 7 and 12, the sheer number of them is intimidating. That law in CT sounds a little extreme. Kids can babysit at that age, but they can’t sit in the car for 2 minutes while their mom runs into the post office? I remember sitting outside in many parking lots when I was a kid- waiting for my mom to come out. I know it’s a different time, but still. I don’t go into downtown Denver, park and leave them hoping they’ll be fine. I’m not saying that’s the only place something bad can happen, but like Jaymi said, they can get into an awful lot of trouble just being at home when I’m in the shower (I tend to ignore tattling and screaming when I’m in my peaceful shower). Common sense in this world has been thrown out the window.


  6. Jaymi Anderson’s really sums it up: “I brought them with me more times than I deemed necessary because I was more worried about other peoples’ perception than for their safety.”


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