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leaving baby alone in car

(224 Posts)
monkeyfeet Sun 09-Jan-11 08:50:27

Last night I was walking through retail centre carpark with my son and saw a car with a baby asleep in a child seat in the back of the car. I had a look around there was no one about ant the car was a fair way from the shops so i tried doors they were locked. I didnt have my mobile phone on me so went into the nearest shop and told the manager to phone the police or make an announcement, so we went out again to get the registration and confirm the car was still there it was. Then we went back into the shop to phone I decided i would go back out and see if anyone showed up but by this time I saw the car driving away. All of this was over the course of about 15 mins no one had been keeping an eye on the car or they would have seen me trying to get in the store manager trying to get in and come over. It was freezing outside and the baby looked to be about 6 months old.

So the store manager decided not to ring the police as they had gone but when i got home I rang the non emergency line to make a report. Hopefully it was someone being thoughtless and not negligent and a visit from the polce could make them understand what is not appropriate.

But AIBU to report this to the police?

purepurple Sun 09-Jan-11 08:52:24

There is no excuse for this.

Xolo Sun 09-Jan-11 08:53:34

YANBU. On the contrary, you're being a responsible citizen. Would have done the same.

TheUnmentioned Sun 09-Jan-11 08:55:22


Shakirasma Sun 09-Jan-11 08:57:34

YANBU. Well done OP

alicet Sun 09-Jan-11 08:58:25

The being freezing wouldn't bother me. Assuming it had been warm in the car (so assuming the driver had been in the car 5 mins or more before stopping) the car would have stayed warm for the 15 mins or so that the driver (?parent) had gone.

I occasionally leave my boys (now 3 and 4) in a locked car strapped into the car seat for 5 mins or less but only when I can see the car. I woulnd't have done this when they were a lot smaller.

YANBU to call the police

stoppinchingthedummy Sun 09-Jan-11 09:05:40

YANBU- i agree your being very sensible - leaving children in the car is dangerous why would anyone do it is beyond me!

LoveBeingADaddysGirl Sun 09-Jan-11 09:12:31

Can I ask what you would have done had the car been open/ or one of you had managed to get into it?

I can understand your concern but the baby was asleep, nit upset or distressed

Xolo Sun 09-Jan-11 09:16:06

Lovebeingadaddysgirl - don't know what the OP would have done, but I would have stood there until the parents/police arrived to make sure no one took the baby.

Would be placing yourself in hot water to do anything more.

monkeyfeet Sun 09-Jan-11 09:17:03

I guess checked whether the baby was ok, I had no idea how long the car had been there maybe i should have felt the bonnet it didnt occur to me though

stoppinchingthedummy Sun 09-Jan-11 09:17:30

Oh yes your were brave to try the handles actually - i wouldnt ever touch a car with a baby in ,we live in a crazy world and you could have been accused of trying to baby snatch - in future if it happened again perhaps just to do what you did without the trying of the handles

TattyDevine Sun 09-Jan-11 09:30:07

I think you were interfering to try the handles of the car. If the car was locked and had the alarm on, as many modern cars do when they are locked, trying the handles can set the alarm off. If this had happened, the baby would probably have woken up distressed and nobody would have been able to reassure him.

Does anyone know for certain it is illegal to leave a baby unattended in a locked car for a short amount of time when its not hot? Because this is essentially what the parent did. I'm not saying its right and I'm not saying I'd do it but is there a law specifically for this, and does anyone have a link? Or does it come under the slightly grey area umbrella of general lack of supervision/neglect?

I'd be interested to know.

I can't help feeling that as this baby was clearly fine and not distressed (according to your description) you should have simply reported it to the supermarket so they could put out an announcement to encourage the parent to return to the car. I would not have touched the car.

This does not mean I approve or would do the same, by the way.

What did the police say?

LoveBeingADaddysGirl Sun 09-Jan-11 09:32:31

Completely agree tatty

monkeyfeet Sun 09-Jan-11 09:48:02

But what if it wasnt me wandering past an unattended baby? maybe I am paranoid but still these things do happen.

The police were concerned and were going to send officers to the home not really sure if it is an offence but hopefully they would just alert the people to the situation being inappropriate rather than charge them with anything. As I said before I hope it was just a case of thoughtlessness rather than neglect

Greenkit Sun 09-Jan-11 09:49:08

Surely it is never ok to leave a baby or small child, and by small child I mean anything under the age of 12 on their own.

It is totally irresponsible, we all know how you can get caught up in conversation and 5 mins becomes ten.

A lot can happen in ten mins.

I went to the shops the other day and a car fire was being put out by the fire brigade. What if a small child was in there??

purepurple Sun 09-Jan-11 09:53:59

Child abduction is not the only risk.
The baby could have vomited and choked.
The baby could ahve had a seizure.
The car could have developed an electrical fault and caught fire.
the baby could have been stung by a wasp/bee and have an allergic reaction (probably not at this time of the year but relevant if the parents make a habit of it)
The car could have been hit by another car in the car park
Leaving a baby alone while the parent goes shopping, is neglect. It would be better for the parents to receive a warning rather than a conviction, though.

TattyDevine Sun 09-Jan-11 09:55:03

I know, that's why its wrong, but you trying the door is a separate issue from the fact someone else might have wandered past. You just could have inflamed the situation, that's all. Not the crime of the century, by any means.

I agree that a word to the parents would probably make them think twice about doing it again. They probably thought, my child, my choice, the child is asleep and they didn't want to disturb him, and weighed up the risk against the benefit.

I just did a quick google. There doesn't seem to be a specific law here in the UK. Here is an excerpt from Times Online.

Scenario 1: You have three children under 5. You go shopping at the supermarket for 20 minutes, leaving them asleep in their car seats with the doors unlocked to avoid their movements triggering the car alarm.

This scenario is not advisable. It is an offence under section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 to neglect or abandon a child under the age of 16 for whom a parent or carer has responsibility, but the law gives no detail of what amounts to neglect or abandonment. Prosecution and/or conviction depend largely on the circumstances. The punishment can range from a fine to ten years’ imprisonment.

The court is to likely to take into account the age and maturity of the child, for how long he or she was left alone and the arrangements to ensure his or her safety. Here, the children might get out of the car and wander on to the road – or anybody could remove a child from the car.

If the car doors were locked the children might be safer, but then what might happen if the children became very distressed in an enclosed space? Technically, children should not be left alone like that until they are 16. Five minutes might be acceptable in a locked car; 20 minutes is too long"

bumpsoon Sun 09-Jan-11 09:57:35

I leave mine in the car if i can see them ,but not if i cant. i had strapped mine into the car and realised i had forgotten the token to get out of the swimming pool carpark ,so i asked a workman to watch the car while i ran back in to get it ,just in case it spontaneousley combusted !

TattyDevine Sun 09-Jan-11 09:58:48

Cars cannot catch fire or combust if the ignition is not on, unless there is a bomb planted in the car.

TattyDevine Sun 09-Jan-11 09:59:22

Presumably if they could and the parent was there, you'd be fucked anyway so its kind of a moot point!

purepurple Sun 09-Jan-11 10:09:05

Aa adult could get themselves out of a car, a baby can't.

Dansmommy Sun 09-Jan-11 10:10:52

Greenkit: "by small child I mean anything under the age of 12" -ridiculous.

It's comments like this that undermine this kind of argument. Of course no one thinks the situation described by the OP is OK, but to suggest that you can't leave an 11 year old alone ever is pure hysteria.

lenak Sun 09-Jan-11 10:11:30

I used to be paranoid about leaving DD asleep in the car while I went to pay for petrol - even when it would only be two minutes and I could see the car the whole time. I don't understand how anyone could do that.

She's three now and I still don't do it if I can avoid it - if she's awake, I take her with me, if she's asleep I try to go to a pay at pump.

YANBU for what you did OP.

borderslass Sun 09-Jan-11 10:20:13

YANBU this from last month

mommmmyof2 Sun 09-Jan-11 10:25:06

YANBU we all hate disturbing sleeping babies but there is no excuse for that!

Anything could of happened, lucky it was you who seen the baby and not some sick mad person.

I worry leaving my dog in the car so no way would I leave my baby!

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