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to leave my children in the car? Doctor who did this now on police and SS register...

(124 Posts)
robberbutton Tue 04-Aug-09 15:59:23

My friend told me today about a doctor who was placed on the police and social services register after leaving his 8 year old in the car while he went to the bank - HERE.

I was absolutely horrified - according to the story he did leave his kid for 20 mins, which was a long time and I've never left mine for that long, but I have left them - popping into the library to drop a book off, post office car park to pick up a parcel, chemists to pick up a prescription, petrol station to go and pay...

This is not horrendous, neglectful, social-services-warrenting behaviour, right? I have vivid childhood memories of being left in the car to wait while mum did similar errands, and of pushing all the buttons on the dashboard...

(PS - I know this story is a bit old, apologies if there's another thread about this, did look but couldn't find one.)

mumof2222222222222222boys Tue 04-Aug-09 16:04:12

Personally I think it was a mad decision by the police - but I am sure there will be others on here who will disagree with me.

belgo Tue 04-Aug-09 16:05:48

I hate these scare stories, we never really know the full story.

LIZS Tue 04-Aug-09 16:06:19

hmm Perhaps there is more to it than meets the eye ?

randomtask Tue 04-Aug-09 16:07:47

Personally, I would never leave my child in the car and he's 8. Not even in a petrol station.

But that's because the police did something in our local petrol station where they proved they could have stolen about 100 children (and cars) in a day whilst people went in without locking their cars or weren't looking so I'm paranoid.

Also, there was a car stolen locally whilst the Mum was putting her bottles in the recycling and it was round the corner. They dumped it when they found the two year old.

So I don't know if it's Social Services worthy behaviour but personally, I do think it's a bit risky (but I fully admit I'm a paranoid Mum on that score)....

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Tue 04-Aug-09 16:16:52

I think parenting is a game of risk assessment. Personally, I think it's far more dangerous to drag my 2 dc (2.5 and 5 months) across a petrol forecourt to pay, rather than leave them in a locked car for 5 minutes.

Not sure i'd leave my kids alone in the car for 20 minutes, possibly if they were asleep, but probably not! More because of ds getting distressed and missing me than anything else though. I do leave dd in the car while i pick ds up from nursery, but that's about 5 minutes and she's usually asleep, and again, it's easier than dragging her out, juggling her and ds, plus nursery bag etc. Leaving her in the car means I can hold onto ds properly by the road. Again, balance of risks - what's less dangerous! [grin

sarah293 Tue 04-Aug-09 16:20:50

Message withdrawn

kittywise Tue 04-Aug-09 16:23:27

I think ss should be looking out for children like baby P and the like instead of fannying around with kids left in cars. What a load of crap.

kathyis6incheshigh Tue 04-Aug-09 16:35:29

I'm sure if the police wanted to prove they could steal children from gardens they could do that too, but it wouldn't affect my view of risk assessment in letting an appropriately-aged child play in a garden unsupervised. I know there have been cases of cars being stolen with toddlers or babies inside, but an 8 year old would make their presence felt in that circumstance, you would expect!

TarkaLiotta Tue 04-Aug-09 16:52:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Aug-09 16:59:52

I don't reckon there is more to it than reported - 2 police officers with nothing better to do than look out for the welfare of a child.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 04-Aug-09 17:04:14

Why didn't the policemen just keep an eye on the kid and give the father a friendly warning when he returned? That would have been an appropriate level of protection. Putting all his kids on a register was overreaction.

franklymydear Tue 04-Aug-09 17:04:42

that's mad.

randomtask - do you ever let your child out of your sight?

LovelyTinOfSpam Tue 04-Aug-09 17:05:59

A bit hmm about police proving that 100 children and cars could be stolen in a day from your petrol station.

Because they aren't, are they.

The police could demonstrate that any person walking around by themselves could be violently attacked. Doesn't follow that no-one should ever walk around by themselves.

That story sounds very odd though - surely can't be true?

I have left my DD in Tesco carpark for 10 minutes. Grabbed a basketful of shopping and paid. DD asked to stay in car rather than come in and was happy playing on DS. I locked the car but made sure she knew how to pull locks up if she needed to get out. Only done it the once for that length and was a bit stressed rushing round but DD was quite happy.

When I was little (7) my parents used to leave me locked in car reading a book while they went shopping in town for an hour or more. I can rememebr being a bit bored sometimes but not worried.

bigstripeytiger Tue 04-Aug-09 17:15:56

What does it mean though to be placed on a 'police register' It doesnt sound as if the children are on the SW at risk register, or the article would probably have said that.

I very much doubt that social service would have any interest in this case as it was reported.

curiositykilled Tue 04-Aug-09 17:17:08

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.

This can include leaving a child in a car whilst you pay for petrol or leaving children in the house while you go on holiday/get milk/eat dinner e.t.c. In fact, any situation where you leave any child under 16 for any period of time. The prosecution and sentence for parents caught doing this is open to the discretion of CPS/judge/social services/police/whoever catches the parent abandoning the child.

All parents/carers leaving any children under 16 unsupervised for any period of time should be aware that they could be leaving themselves open to prosecution under this law.

The comment from someone about baby P is ridiculous. Abusers like the mother and boyfriend in the baby P case would have been much more easily stopped if every time they neglected or abused him they were caught and reported no matter how small it looked in isolation. One of the main problems in the case was that a few times when abuse/neglect was suspected no-one documented it and they gave the mother the benefit of the doubt.

I remember being left in the car when my mum went into the bank as a small child (much smaller than 8). It gave me nightmares about witches getting us while she was gone or robbers banging on the doors and stealing the car with us inside - I was the eldest and felt that I was responsible for keeping the others safe.

I am hugely ridiculously safety conscious (career advisor software suggested health and safety inspector as a career) but to me leaving a child in the car unsupervised is an unacceptable risk. What if there's an electrical fire or someone crashes into the car, or the child chokes on something, or escapes outside?

GrimmaTheNome Tue 04-Aug-09 17:24:20

'All parents/carers leaving any children under 16 unsupervised for any period of time should be aware that they could be leaving themselves open to prosecution under this law.'

Hum. So why aren't all the parents of kids who let them trash playgrounds of an evening being hauled up? That is neglect and abandonment far more than leaving a child in car in a public place, isn't it?

Not that I would leave my 10 year old myself, but I think this case is out of proportion when you look at real neglect.

kathyis6incheshigh Tue 04-Aug-09 17:25:20

'I am hugely ridiculously safety conscious (career advisor software suggested health and safety inspector as a career)'

Is that why you are called Curiositykilled?

Out of interest Curiosity, at what age would you leave a child in a car? 12? 16? 18?

The things you describe are all reasons why I would not leave my 2 year old or 4 year old. A sensible 8 year old is a different kettle of fish, however, and as I understand the definition of neglect or abandonment in law, leaving a child on their own only constitutes neglect if by doing so you are exposing them to an unacceptable level of risk. Leaving an 8 year old for 20 minutes in most circumstances is not abandonment.

franklymydear Tue 04-Aug-09 17:28:32

an 8 year old choking is about as likely as an adult choking

curiositykilled Tue 04-Aug-09 17:30:52

grimmathenome - The difference there is that the children have gone out on their own, not been left behind on their own or kicked out onto the street forcefully (it is supposed anyway). ASBOs were introduced to try and combat this, it's a separate issue under the law.

You can only find real abusers by documenting all incidences of neglect or abuse and watching for people who are repeatedly offending.

It may be socially acceptable to leave a child in the car but you can still be prosecuted for it, at the discretion of the local services.

Merle Tue 04-Aug-09 17:39:33

My boys are 7 & 10 and it is common for me to leave them in the car whilst, for example, getting and paying for petrol. I am amazed that there are people on this earth who do any different. If they were just sat there in the car in a normal manner, much like the boy in the story, then I cannot see the problem with leaving them for a matter of minutes.

clumsymum Tue 04-Aug-09 17:42:59

Oh come on.

From DS being 8 I have left him in the car before now, reading a comic/book or listening to an audio book while I've nipped in Tesco or some such.

TBH he would regard it as much more neglectful to drag him round the supermarket, it would take me longer, and we are both much happier with that solution.
The car is locked (but he can of course open it from the inside if necessary), he understands that he mustn't get out of the car (unless there's an emergency, like another car runs into it), and really on a high-street or in a busy supermarket carpark, who is going to struggle to break into an occupied car, when there are hundreds of unattended cars about?

And I really really DON'T believe that our streets are full of roaming paedophiles, on the lookout for unattended 8 year-olds to abduct.

curiositykilled Tue 04-Aug-09 17:44:38

kathyis6incheshigh - the law is open to interpretation by all the people I named above. This means some people will be let off for things others will be prosecuted for depending on the opinions of all involved in each case. It is possible that a parent/carer could be prosecuted for leaving any child under 16 and what happens is out of your control as said parent/carer if you choose to do it.

I'm not sure what my opinion on when it is safe to leave a child in the car has to do with anything.

What you or I believe is or isn't abandonment really doesn't matter either. If a parent wants to leave their children alone in the car they can. They can also choose to argue why they believe they shouldn't get in trouble for it with the people who catch them if they get caught. But my point is that if something is not legal (rather than illegal as this is) then they have to accept that it will be someone else who decides whether their children have been abandoned or neglected.

franklymydear - the point of this law is not so much about the likelihood of things happening to the children. More that until the child is 16 they cannot exercise the judgement of an adult and the adult is supposed to be responsible for them. If an 8 year old chokes then the parent/carer is expected to be around to help them, if an adult chokes they have to rely on another adult being around to help. Hence if man chokes while wife paying for petrol response would be - "oh how awful" whereas if 8 year old chokes response would be - "where were his parents?"

longhardlookinthemirror Tue 04-Aug-09 17:45:40

Curiousity - So Under this act of 1933 you could face procescution for allowing your 15 year old out anywhere unsupervised - seems a tad daft to me!

Abondonment is very different to leaving a child unsupervised for a short length of time.

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