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Leaving a child in a car

(24 Posts)
pamplem0usse Fri 19-Jul-13 07:37:29

Posting here as I don't want to vitriol of AIBU as I'm pretty upset.
I responded to a post on a Facebook AP site yesterday in which someone had said "you're crazy to ever leave your children in a car on their own". This was in response to the issue of children over-heating, which clearly is enormously important. But I tried to point out that it's not helpful to talk in terms of tabloid absolutes as you lose people along the way in terms of getting across very serious messages.
I said, that on cool days, there might be very limited occasions on which you might leave your child in the car for short periods. My daughter was a very very poor sleeper and when she was about 18 months old we lived on a farm. There were a handful of occasions on which she was asleep and I'd drive up so that the car was adjacent to the kitchen window, open doors / windows and stand and do the chopping for dinner / washing up while I watched her sleep.
I was told that I was "crazy" "a bad mother" "putting my daughter in a life threatening situation" because my daughter was not in the same room as me. That "rabid dogs" or "birds" might attack her or a "stranger snatch her". She was always in my line of sight, about 1.5 metres away from me and it would have taken me approximately 5 seconds to remove her from the car (which was parked surrounded by several hundred acres of privately owned land).
When I highlighted that this wasn't much different to parking your child in a buggy where you could see your child, in the garden for some fresh air sleep I was again told I was "utterly mad an irresponsible" because "anything could have happened to her".
Am I utterly odd in thinking that this situation is OK? It probably happened half a dozen times, at 17 degree C temperatures, when I was suffering severe post-natal depression because my daughter woke every 20 minutes through the night still for feeds. I like to think the world is generally a safe place, but maybe I'm being naive?

mummytime Fri 19-Jul-13 07:48:52

I think they are the mad ones! But were they even from the UK? I could imagine people in some parts of the US not having a clue how generally mild the weather is here in the UK.

I admit it I have done far worst "leaving child in car" than that, and have even been known to leave teenager with car keys on a sweltering hot day! My DH even once (accidentally) locked me in the car for 20 minutes (and I didn't LTB).

But some people will/cannot see the shades of grey.

BonaDea Fri 19-Jul-13 08:00:09

You are not mad. Sounds completely fine and even sensible to me.

Frankly when my DS (and presumably many other people's dc) sleeps upstairs at the front of the house while I cook in the kitchen at the back of the house he is much further away than you describe

Everyone has different limits on what they are prepared to accept. I love the very bones of my son and think I am a decent and caring parent. That doesn't mean I won't leave him to kick about on his activity mat while I peg out the washing in the garden or even have a quick shower!

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 19-Jul-13 08:07:11

You aren't mad, that was a perfectly sensible and safe thing to do - please don't doubt yourself.

I really hate people who are so black and white about parenting. It's not an absolute experience.

lljkk Fri 19-Jul-13 08:31:27

it's illegal in parts of the USA, you can't even leave a Dog alone in a car in California.

mummytime Fri 19-Jul-13 13:32:29

But that is different look at the temperatures in the southern states, they are much much higher than 17C.

Pozzled Fri 19-Jul-13 13:42:22

Yanbu. DD2 turned 2 last month. This morning I left her in the buggy in the garden for over an hour as she slept.She was in earshot and I could check on her through the window, but I didn't stare at her the whole time- I pottered about and checked on her every few minutes. She was (of course) completely in the shade and had suncream on.

Technically, yes, someone could have gone into my garden or a fox courld have got her. But I think I put her in more danger every time I take her in a car. So I'll carry on without any concern whatsoever.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 19-Jul-13 13:45:35

>it's illegal in parts of the USA, you can't even leave a Dog alone in a car in California.
dogs have a harder time keeping cool than humans because they don't sweat, so if its not safe for a person it definitely won't be for a dog.

Of course it depends on the exact circumstances - not just the air temperature but whether its in the shade.

Apart from the heat - which you understand - the other 'life threatening' things cited are ridiculous. Unless you live somewhere with unusually aggressive bird life I suppose ... from the mention of 'rabid dogs' presumably you're not in the UK? (if you are, whoever said that is bonkers)

GrimmaTheNome Fri 19-Jul-13 13:47:40

>But I think I put her in more danger every time I take her in a car

well yes. Being in a (cool) parked car on your own land has to be way safer than driving anywhere in it.

cleoteacher Fri 19-Jul-13 14:18:36

it depends on the situation. If DS is asleep in the car and I need to get petrol I leave him in the car with the car locked for a few minutes rather than wake him up. The car is always in my sight. I also leave him in the car in our garage if he is asleep with the doors open so it's not too hot and I leave the garage door open so I can hear him and check on him every few minutes.

However, there are other situations where I would not leave him in the car alone.

matana Fri 19-Jul-13 14:27:09

Just curious, do any of the people who commented actually have children? I was full of such wisdoms before i became a mum and regularly had to assess the risk of something happening against the benefits. I soon realised what an utter faff it is to get your child in and out of a car seat, whether awake or asleep, for the sake of a 2 minute stop off at a shop/ petrol station - when you can see the car clearly from where you're standing. And yes we have sometimes left our DS sleeping blissfully unaware on our driveway after a torrid day of him not sleeping, with the front door wide open so we could see/ hear him.

I would never leave him in a car in this weather because, when i do leave him in the car i close all the windows and lock all the doors. In this weather he comes with me, always.

Parenthood is full of risks, every day and everywhere. Our job is to manage them as best we can. Otherwise we'd all stay at home day after day saying "it's too scary to venture out there".

lynniep Fri 19-Jul-13 14:54:39

oh god I always left the kids in the car when they were little. Outside our house on the drive with a monitor in there. When it was cold they napped lovely and soundly and I got some peace. I wouldn't have dreamt of waking them. There are many factors to take into consideration - not just the weather - of course I'm not an idiot and would'nt leave them in there on a hot day. But I'd like to think that most people use common sense.

Doitnicelyplease Fri 19-Jul-13 21:19:04

I have left my 1 year old napping in the car on the driveway with loads of windows open (we live on a very quiet safe street) and the house windows open, checking on her every 5 mins, not in weather that was too hot or too cold. But I don't think I will be doing that again (unless I wait in the car too) as very close to where we live (in Canada) a 2 year old boy died of heat stroke/exposure last week after his grandmother left him in the car asleep (not sure for how long, I think she may have forgotten about him). v v sad sad

Following on from that tragic story - last week a father was arrested for child abandonment after leaving his 8 month old in the car while he popped into a shop for 5-10 mins, it was a hot day and the baby was crying so people called the police and they arrested him. So I guess it could be illegal where I live too.

Even though those are extreme cases and I believe I have good commonsense and judgement about these things, I still think that I wouldn't leave her again or the neighbours might report me shock.

ShadowMeltingInTheSun Fri 19-Jul-13 21:49:01

Agree it depends on the situation.

Obviously in summer, it'd be putting your child at serious risk of overheating, but in a cooler time of year, especially if the car is in a shaded area, it doesn't sound too bad.

HaroldLloyd Fri 19-Jul-13 21:53:10

Some of these specialist groups on Facebook get very odd. What you have done is fine, totally fine.

Just leave that group don't let it upset you and think no more about it.

maja00 Fri 19-Jul-13 21:56:38

They're nuts, don't let it bother you a moment longer.

Most parents have left their child in the car outside the house or while they pay for petrol. I'd guess almost all parents have left their child sleeping in another room or in the garden.

Back2Two Fri 19-Jul-13 21:58:25

I have left my boys in the car together or alone, awake or asleep for short periods of time.

You are the adult. You assess the risks.

Never in this heat.

HarrietSchulenberg Fri 19-Jul-13 22:01:40

Most of the scenarios the FB posters are about as likely to happen inside the house as in the car outside the kitchen window (i.e. not very likely to happen at all).
Did they stop to consider that she might have been safer outside? I mean ANYTHING can happen inside - you might accidentally empty an entire kettle of boiling water over here, the TV might catch fire while she's watching it, or a Boeing 747 might drop through the roof of your house but miss the car completely.
FB is inhabited by mad people (including me but I'm only on the fringes of pottiness) - you can either ignore them or join them.

Passmethecrisps Fri 19-Jul-13 22:02:41

This sounds horrible.

Your only mistake has been urging caution. Your situation is/ was quite different to leaving children in 30 degree heat.

I would forget this whole thing - these people obviously can't be reasoned with and you are obviously upset by it.

Smartiepants79 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:08:04

Bloody hell, I leave my sleeping baby in the car whenever it seems appropriate. Never in hot weather and always on a private drive in a place where I can see the car at all times
I don't believe there is anything wrong with this.
All this hysteria about them getting snatched is ridiculous.

BergholtStuttleyJohnson Sat 20-Jul-13 18:49:50

Op they sound like nasty people. I assume your dd is fine and she wasn't attacked by a rabid dog or anything? o
Whether it was irresponsible or not is irrelevant because it's in the past and nothing happened. Please don't let some arseholes you've never met make you feel bad. She was in the car on a cool day on your land and you could see her, this is not the same as leaving her in a carpark in hot weather.

lola88 Sat 20-Jul-13 19:06:53

They are full of shit and on their high horse

MiaowTheCat Sat 20-Jul-13 20:37:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sat 20-Jul-13 20:40:56

When DS was a baby he cried, a LOT. Sometimes, in desperation, I would bung him in his pram, wheel him out into the garden and put him under the willow tree to sleep. He was really soothed by the tree and I got some peace and quiet.

Leaving your DD to sleep in the car was no different to what I and many other mothers before us have done.

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