Friday, June 22, 2012

Is It Okay to Leave Your Kid(s) In the Car???

When I was a kid and too young to stay home alone, I would go along with my parents on errands. Sometimes I would stay in the car, either because it was just easier for my parents or because I preferred to sit in the car and read or listen to music. It never crossed my mind to attempt to drive away. It never crossed my mind that someone might get into the car, hotwire it and then drive us both away, resulting in a carjacking and a kidnapping all in one.

I'm an only child, so it's not like my parents were just too lazy to drag all their kids inside. I wasn't sick or sleeping. I just stayed in the car. It's how things were done, and it was not a big deal. And it wasn't so long ago, even though my kids think I ran with the dinosaurs.

I know so many parents who do this these days, including myself. They are not gone long, they usually park up close to where they are going inside, they didn't know until now that there was even a law about this. One mom went to jail over this in another state. I of course have to include this link about Jake's Law, which is partly why we are all so freaked out. 

Remember my opinions are ILL-FORMED, people, but you know those people who drive their kid to daycare? Oops, I mean, who were supposed to take their kid to daycare and instead drive to work and the kid sits in the car all day and dies? They are not in jail. And I wonder about the people they work with ... I mean, the cops come in seconds flat in a grocery store parking lot, but you often have hundreds of employees walking by a car or looking out their window, and nobody sees that there is a kid asleep in a car, dying or maybe even screaming and crying, over the course of a DAY? Are we paying attention to the wrong things?

Click HERE to go to my pal's blog post about what happened to her, called "Is Leaving Your Kids in the Car a Right?". Check out the part where the cops think it's fine (and there is no law) for kids to watch kids AT HOME for hours but not in a CAR for 5 minutes.

I think if a citizen is that concerned, they could have gone in the store and had a page done or waited by the car for the parent to come back and then let them know it wasn't cool or whatever. But we are all too busy to get to know an entire person or situation and jump to horrible conclusions about parents, especially. It's making me think twice about things I think are "wrong" ... I'm happy to call the cops but not talk to the person directly or handle it another way?

I'm not saying this is right or wrong or good or bad. I am saying I sure as hell won't be doing it anymore now that I know the deal. I still don't feel comfortable leaving them at home, which according to the law is okay since there is no age limit for THAT, so  I will carefully plan my errands and make sure all of my kids understand they will be going inside with me everywhere we go. Joel will be 11 on Sunday, so in the city where I live he can stay in the car by himself. However, we live and drive in a huge metropolitan area, and the laws are different in every single city. I'd better educate myself on those laws. You should, too.