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Leaving children in cars? Is this ok or not?

(143 Posts)
babarthefuckingelephant Tue 17-Nov-15 21:30:47

Theres another mum at the nursery that i've noticed since the weather has been getting colder has been leaving her baby in the car while she takes her toddler in or picks her up. Car is locked and usually parked at the end of the path so 10-20ft from the door, and she seems really blasé about it but it unsettles me a bit and i don't know if IABU and just overanxious. Its a small nursery and you can be in and out in a minute or two but then you never know when someone will pull you to the side and it will take longer. I don't know whether to mention it to somebody, but then I leave my baby in the car when i go into the petrol station to pay for petrol (about the same distance and time), so am i just over worrying?

LaLaLaaaa Tue 17-Nov-15 21:34:14

What's the difference between leaving baby in car to go in petrol station and leaving baby in car to go in nursery? I'm genuinely confused.

I don't leave my baby in my car because I have visions of people trying to steal my car and driving off with my baby. But I'm a worried so I'm not sure if I'm the norm.

I don't think you can judge this lady if you also leave your baby in your car sometimes, so I think YABU

LaLaLaaaa Tue 17-Nov-15 21:34:36


skinnyamericano Tue 17-Nov-15 21:34:41

I used to do this at school drop-off and collection. The car was in sight all the time, and if I took DS out, he would wake up instantlly.

I couldn't really think of anything (realistic) that could put him in danger.

Diddlydokey Tue 17-Nov-15 21:35:41

I think you're over worrying if it's the same distance as the petrol station. Can you see the car from the nursery?

skinnyamericano Tue 17-Nov-15 21:36:19

This was in a small village, where the school had its own car park - so car wasn't on a road. I would have thought differently if it had been.

Pico2 Tue 17-Nov-15 21:37:00

It's fine. I'd be more concerned in the middle of summer. But if you don't like it then don't do it when you are in that situation.

Seeyounearertime Tue 17-Nov-15 21:39:13

First time I had to get petrol with DD in the car I actually got myself in a tizzy and waited with my car until there was no queue at the till. Ran in and almost hurled a crusty £10 at the till guy and ran back out again. smile
After the 50th time I didn't worry as much, locked the car, kept it in view, made sure not to peruse the ginsters pasties in the fridge.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 17-Nov-15 21:41:28

My DS is 20 months old and I've only left him alone in the car on one occasion which was about two weeks ago. I had gone to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription, there was a parking space right outside the pharmacy door and there was no queue, so I threw caution to the wind!!

He was alone in the car for a maximum of 30 seconds, I was about 10ft away from him, I could see him at all times, and I still felt like I was doing something really, really naughty grin

Kids alone in cars - a debate that always gets interesting on MN grin

wigglesrock Tue 17-Nov-15 21:45:49

I did it, I used to leave my dd3 when she was a baby in the car and bring my two older kids to the school gate. The car was parked in the car park, I could see it - we don't drop the kids into the school, just to the playground. Of course a million and one things could have happened but a million and one things could happen when you're driving, when you're alone in the house with a baby, when you're crossing road etc. It was a judgement call I made and was happy with. I also left them in the car at petrol stations.

KingOfTheStupids Tue 17-Nov-15 21:47:38

I leave mine in the car so long as the weather is not too warm, and I can see the car from the nursery window. The risk of toddler dashing into oncoming traffic whilst I am juggling him, stuff and heavy baby in a seat is greater in my mind than any harm coming to a happy baby safely clipped in it's car seat in the car.

plantsitter Tue 17-Nov-15 21:52:12

I think it depends where you are. I'm in London and never left the baby, but sometimes leave the kids. HOwever I don't lock it - I reckon it's more likely that someone nice would need to get the kids OUT rather than somebody horrible taking them.

RonaldMcDonald Tue 17-Nov-15 21:52:27

Yes you are over worrying

MrsGradyOldLady Tue 17-Nov-15 21:52:41

I never did it with my first two (twins). I used to take both of them in their car seats to the kiosk to pay at the petrol station. God knows why.

I was a lot more complacent with my third child smile

SpangleDragon Tue 17-Nov-15 21:53:32

I never liked leaving mine in the car ever, and would try and go at quiet times for fuel and take them with me

MsVestibule Tue 17-Nov-15 21:53:41

Wouldn't bother me in the slightest. I always left them in the car when I paid for petrol, and although I probably wouldn't leave them in the circumstances you describe, I don't think she's actually doing anything wrong.

PandasRock Tue 17-Nov-15 21:56:30

OP, what do you think might happen?

I have always left mine (I have 3 dc, but even in the days of off dd1 I did) while paying for petrol. I left dd2 in the car if she was sleeping while I did nursery drop off/pick up for dd1.

Ds has been left on the car at both school drop offs (dd's are at different schools) from as soon as it was awkward to juggle him as well as the million and one bags/kit/musical instruments. I figured he was safer in the car than being dropped because I let go of him to catch dd2's cello, or dd1's lunchbox etc both schools have their own car park - I wouldn't leave any of them if car was parked on the road - but my car is not 'in sight' at all times at either school.

Really, what's the (realistic) worst that could happen to a child presumably safely strapped into a seat, in a locked car?

Partybugs Tue 17-Nov-15 21:57:34

I think this is fine and wouldn't have a problem.

I was in a similar predicament a couple of years ago when a girl I knew aged 3 was left in her dad's car for over 30 mins whilst he was in the bookies! He did it a lot and worryingly he couldn't see her through the window. She seemed perfectly happy though, bless her. I didn't know them well but I knew the parents were divorced.

I slept on it and decide to speak to the nursery manager about it.

IfNotNowThenWhenever Tue 17-Nov-15 21:57:37

I once arrived at my mums friends house , with my mum. Ds was a baby and sleeping in his car seat and they both suggested I leave him where he was, in the car, parked on the road, and come in for tea and cake. They thought I was a right over anxious ninny when I declined and brought him in!hmm
But I think what you describe is Ok. Safer than at a petrol station actually.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Tue 17-Nov-15 22:00:26

I think you should mind your own business. Tolerance of perceived risk is a a personal judgement with a big grey area in the middle.

TheFormidableMrsC Tue 17-Nov-15 22:05:14

I would do leave my 4 yo DS strapped in when I pay for petrol. I might also leave him when I park up to go to a cashpoint. I know somebody who takes her four kids out of the car to pay for petrol just in case somebody lights a fag and the forecourt blows up. It's not happened yet but she's knackered hmm

knaffedoff Tue 17-Nov-15 22:07:13

Leaving children in a car in a petrol station to pay, where you can always watch the car and the area is covered with cctv, is somewhat different to the circumstances you describe and I don't think yabu.

But then I phoned the police to report a 1 yr with a 4 year old left for 5 mins on a public car park while mum nipped to a pharmacy. I waited 20 mins for the police to arrive, which is when mum came back to the car. Sorry if you can not see your child at all times why take an unnecessary risk?

AndNowItsSeven Tue 17-Nov-15 22:07:49

No it's not ok and childrens services would not think it was. You can't leave a baby/ young child unattended in a vehicle even for a short period of time.
As for petrol pay at the pump, why would anyone go inside?

Fannyfannakerpants Tue 17-Nov-15 22:08:03

I actually read that and wondered if you were taking about me.
I do run my ds in to nursery and leave my sleeping baby in the car. I'm gone for 2 mins max, it's a private car park, my car is in sight, she's strapped in and asleep.
I honestly don't understand what the problem is with this. Honestly? What is the issue? I'd leave her in a cot alone, in her car seat but indoors, and I drive her in the car which surely statistically has to be more dangerous? But I do constantly worry that someone will report me because they feel that they should.

sparechange Tue 17-Nov-15 22:13:30

What do people think is going to happen in those 5 minutes?

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