Earlier this week, I mentioned leaving my kids in the car when I went in to Edaleen's Dairy. They were both asleep. I managed to get the first parking spot, the one right in front of the big glass windows, so I could see them. As I wrote it out, though, I realized that the issue of leaving your kids in the car alone is a big one. It is one of those things, as a parent, that you have to make a decision about at some point or another. You probably contemplate it all the time, if you're anything like me. If there is any possible way that I can just run in and get it done, without unloading and reloading the Rubes, it's worth a shot.
I've driven around and around the parking lot or the street awaiting the right spot. I've waited for hours for the gas pump that is visible at the till. I could have unloaded and reloaded the Rubes about fives times over in the time that it takes me to get that spot.
There are some grave and serious concerns about leaving your kids in the car, granted:
Extreme weather - hot or cold
Kid gets out of seat and puts car in gear, gets window down, gets stuck in window, gets out of car, car rolls, God-forbid-the-car-is-running!, drives car
Car spontaneously catches fire
Arrested and charged with child abuse/neglect
Dirty stares from everyone around you
All of the above-mentioned has happened. There have been horrifying and tragic events that have unfolded with people leaving their children in the car.
Many states and countries have laws that prohibit children from being left in the car.
I found this website for my American friends: Check what the law is in your state, if there is one.
In North Carolina, for example, it is illegal to leave a child under the age of 8 alone in a car for even a minute. Other places have 6 as the magic age.
A current poll on babycenter.com has telling results. Of over 17000 people who have voted, 78% believe that there should be a law prohibiting you from being more than 10 feet from the car and out of view of your child.
Ironically though, in another poll also on babycenter that has 120000 voting, just over 70% of people have left their kids in the car alone before. Fortunately nobody responded with the selection of having done their grocery shopping, nor did anyone report leaving their kids in the car for more than a half hour alone. phew. We got us some standards.
Part of that same poll had me having to select the reason why I had left my children in the car alone. The reasons were:
I ran back into the house for a moment
I went into a store to run a quick errand
I picked up my older child
I used the ATM machine at the bank
I dropped off a video
I went grocery shopping
I let her finish her nap in the driveway
I started to check off the ones that apply. But, it would only let me select one. As if I've only done it once. I certainly have never done my grocery shopping, but everything else applies.
Plus a few more like: running into the post office/package place, paying for gasoline, picking up hay/feed.
I have two groups of wonderful, smart and opinionated women in my life. One is my online group of friends that I've made mention of all over the place, the Chawbacons (or Chaws, for short). They are all American girls, spread out across the country.
The others are my IRL (in-real-life) friends, the Ma-Mas. They all live locally here. (except for darlin' Peg, who moved back to NJ)
I posed this question to them both today.
The award for the funniest line goes to A.Chaw, my friend in Texas:
"For me, only if it is very very quick (less than 5 minutes) and only if I can still see them. I need to be able to run out and scream "Get the fuck back in your seat, little boy! Mama is buying her beers!" :-) "
.....with a close runner-up by R.Chaw from Arizona:
"I have done it before at a convenience store when I had really bad diarrhea. But seriously, that's the only time."
What's your stance?