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two young children left in car on their own?

(18 Posts)
piggypeppa Sat 06-Jun-09 11:45:27

I've just got back from taking my dd (6) to her dance class this morning at the local leisure centre. As I returned to collect her I passed a car in the car park that had a baby (around 1-18months) and a boy probably about 5/6 in a car on their own. The mum had just gone in taking her other child (3ish) to collect her eldest from the same class. Normally the lesson finishes at 10.30 but as we got there we were told it would be another 15 minutes until pick up. She looked a bit concerned and said, "oh dear" but then stayed for the full 15 mins leaving the kids outside alone in the car! I don't know her at all and she obviously wasn't aware of what I had seen. I had to nip out to get something from my car and checked on them as I walked past. They seemed happy enough, the baby snoozing and the little boy playing with a toy car. Since getting home I feel annoyed I didn't say anything to her, but tbh I was a bit dunbfounded at her! She did the same thing last week but was in and out within 3 mins. AIBU to stick my beak in? Should I report her to receptionist? I know I'm a right worrier and bit paranoid about abductions or the 101 things that could go wrong but I just couldn't imagine leaving my dc like that. She seems a nice mum in all other respects, quietly chatting with the one she'd taken in etc just her casualness about it all made me wonder if there's not a lot 'upstairs' if that doesn't sound too mean.
If it happens again next week what should I do??? It's really playing on my mind now.

norksinmywaistband Sat 06-Jun-09 11:55:27

Agree 15 mins is a long time to leave them out of sight, I would probably have gone out for a bit.
But questioning the womans intelligence because she makes a different decision to you is a bit hmm IMO

rubyslippers Sat 06-Jun-09 12:01:22

you do sound mean to question her intelligence

you say the children were happy and snoozing

i think 15 mins is a long time for them to be out of sight but if it was in a secure carpark maybe she felt reassured

why would you report her to a receptionist??

RumourOfAHurricane Sat 06-Jun-09 12:02:44

Message withdrawn

RumourOfAHurricane Sat 06-Jun-09 12:03:27

Message withdrawn

piggypeppa Sat 06-Jun-09 12:09:24

But would alarm bells not be ringing that in 15 minutes a 5 year old could be crawling around the car, knock the handbrake off etc? He had obviously got bored as he was sitting in the driving seat. And I know that it's a 1 in a million chance but it would be easy for anyone to snatch either wouldn't it?
The reason I would tell the receptionist is that maybe she could put out an announcement and that might make the woman realise it's not a great idea...

piggypeppa Sat 06-Jun-09 12:10:35

And yes, I appreciate my comment about her intelligence was unfair, I didn't put that very well..

goldrock Sat 06-Jun-09 12:10:50

I know it wasn't me but it certainly could have been, I have 4dcs and if one is doing something I will often leave another 2 or 3 in the car outside. Maybe not for 15 mins but sometimes you just have to do what you judge to be best or what you can manage.
Do you have 4 or more dcs piggypeppa ?, its easy to judge and cast aspertions about intellegence but unless you're juggling a lot of children and activities you won't know how hard it can be sometimes.
I have "plenty upstairs", enough to decide on risks and I guess this mum did too.

bigstripeytiger Sat 06-Jun-09 12:16:41

Does that other woman know that you know her? If she does than telling the receptionist might seem underhand.

I had a similar experience, I was in a supermarket car park, and a girl who looked about 4 had been left in a car with a small baby. The car was unlocked, and when I saw the girl she was wandering the carpark with the car keys in her had, crying. It was distressing to see. In that situation I got the girl to get back in the car, and I rushed to customer services, where they put out an announcement, and one of the staff rushed out to look after the children until the mum appeared.
I can understand that sometimes it might seem easier to just leave children in the car, but in the situation I encountered the children were very vulnerable.

goldrock Sat 06-Jun-09 12:19:40

I should add that I do think a supermarket car park is different and wouldn't do it there. In fact my DCs asked to be left in the car park this morning at Tesco but I dragged them all round, its different at a leisure centre where you will normally be a short time and IME you can see the cars from inside.

PlumBumMum Sat 06-Jun-09 12:21:22

I agree with goldrock,
but in your original post you said the boy was happily playing with a toy car, you didn't mention he was in the front seat wwhich I do think adds an element of danger!

My children know they are not allowed to take their seat belts off and I wouldn't leave them if I wasn't sure they would remain in their seats

PlumBumMum Sat 06-Jun-09 12:22:20

agree with goldrock I wouldn't leave them at the supermarket

piggypeppa Sat 06-Jun-09 12:25:35

I have 3dc, (2,5,6) and yes I know it's really hard and a pain to keep getting them in and out the car all the time. The reason I commented on the woman's intelligence was that I'd have thought that any parent being told they'd have to wait 15 minutes more than they'd expected would have chosen to nip back and wait in the car with the baby and other children. It takes less than a minute to get back to the car park. That's the only reason I made the comment. I don't really understand why people are ok with this. I wouldn't leave my dc standing in public on their own for 15 mins so why would I leave them in a car alone? She left the car unlocked so what would have stopped the older one getting out or anyone getting in?

traceybath Sat 06-Jun-09 12:31:37

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all.

15 mins is a long time to leave 2 small children unattended in a car - ok the baby was fine but could easily have woken up and been screaming.

If the same was to happen next week i think i may suggest to the mum that i'd help her older child get ready and bring out to the car for her. So you're being helpful but also letting her know that you are concerned about her other two who are left in the car.

The weather is also getting very warm (ok not today) but that would also concern me, ie, that they'd overheat.

piggypeppa Sat 06-Jun-09 12:34:32

Think that might be a good way to go Traceybath, just hope she doesn't take offence.

goldrock Sat 06-Jun-09 12:34:37

piggypeppa, you're right there was nothing stopping the children getting out of the car or anyone getting in but I guess the mum knew her children well enough to know they wouldn't get out and the liklehood of anyone going in must be so small as to be ignored.
I grew up with a mother who saw (and still sees) danger in everything and I have spent my live trying to ensure I don't end up like that. I try to assess the actual danger rather that the possible risk or you end up worrying about everything. Yes, bad things happen but I try to be realistic - actually I'm surprised that most posters so far agree with me as I know I am probably too laid back, a whole other thread I know.

littlestarschildminding Sun 07-Jun-09 09:36:45

I left my 2 children (5 and 8) in the car for about 2 minutes yesterday while I crossed a small road, went into a ceramics cafe to pick up some mugs they had painted the week before..I could see the car at all times...

When I came back a miserable old roadsweeper was stood next to my car with his hands on his hips and launched into a tirade anout what an awful parent I was and how dare I leave my children unattended... Did I have to bite my tongue or what!!

My opinion is that it is a parent's decision on how they bring up THEIR children and the risks they take with them....(unless of course it is a real safeguarding issue then report it to the proper authorities). If thats not the case then I would say that you should butt out...if you must interfere then offer to help rather than judging!

MumofIsaac Sun 07-Jun-09 09:52:20

Piggypeppa, I agree that parents should be entitled to take their own risks but I also agree with you that it's a small price to pay to at least make sure the doors are locked!! I think it would be ok just to politely let her know the car's unlocked and then it's up to her what she does after that. I'd like someone to tell me I've left the car's unlocked even if the children aren't in it!

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