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Toddler left alone sleeping in car

(16 Posts)
GLOBETROTTERHEAVEN Sun 15-May-16 22:07:14

A few days ago I left home in the morning with my DS and walking down my road I came across a toddler sleeping in a car, window wound half-down, and no parent/carer to be seen at all in the street; all the houses nearby had all doors and windows shut so it didn't appear that anyone was watching the child from a house.

I hesitated, looked around, and using in hindsight, poor judgement, I kept walking. I considered knocking on a few doors to try and find the responsible parent/carer but thought the better of it as I thought I'd probably be told where to go in no uncertain terms. My DH says I should have rung the police, as obviously anything could have happened to the child who I would say can't have even been 18 months old, and wouldn't I feel guilty if it did.

I feel terrible and would not keep walking again, regardless of a potential attitude from the parent. What would you have done?

Nowthereistwo Sun 15-May-16 22:14:08

I let my toddler sleep in the car on our drive if for some reason I don't transfer her to bed. We have net curtains so you wouldn't know if I was watching or not.

Not sure what the offence is?

ParsleyCake Sun 15-May-16 22:14:37

In your position I might have done the same thing as sometimes I just don't think, but to be honest it would have been best to call the police. The parents were extremely irresponsible and even if they had been peeking out the window occasionally, the police knocking on the door might have made them realise how bad it was to do that, or at the very least embarrassed them enough not to do that again. It wouldn't be so bad if they were watching from nearby but if the windows were shut, blinds drawn etc and they had left for quite a while it's definitely bad of them.

I wouldn't feel terrible, just bear it in mind if you come across a similar situation.

ParsleyCake Sun 15-May-16 22:18:52

Nowthereistwo, I was assuming that it looked as if the child was completely unattended, with the car parked on the street, not a driveway. OP seemed certain no one was watching. I would certainly not leave my child sleeping in a car parked on the street unless I was close enough to watch every stranger 'hesitating' by my car, or if I was just away for less than a minute - depending on how safe I thought the street was.

MilkOfAmnesia Sun 15-May-16 22:25:06

what Nowhereistwo said. I sometimes let my toddlers sleep in the car for 5 minutes while I run in and have a wee.
From outside the house you wouldn't be able to see me. the car is always locked and alarmed and they are strapped in, any movement from inside or out triggers the alarm and id be out in less than 3 seconds.
Wouldn't do it on a hot day obviously.

Nowthereistwo Sun 15-May-16 22:33:53

It was only a few years ago when children/prams were left outside shops or houses whilst they slept. I know things have moved on but I'm not sure if the dangers have.

VioletSunshine Sun 15-May-16 22:54:41

I would have rung 101 if it was obvious their parent hadn't just nipped back in the house. 'round here, people get really incensed about dogs being left in cars with the windows cracked whenever the police report on it. And it's clear from their reactions to that news how they would respond to seeing a young child left in a car like that. It wouldn't go well for the parents of the child, put it this way.

Nipping in to the loo or something I can understand if your neighbourhood is safe, you're literally only going to be a few minutes. But for longer, it sounds dangerous to me.

squizita Mon 16-May-16 14:58:18

I've had a CPO approach my car as I was unpacking my shopping. Someone had parked right in front of my house and I had to park 2 doors down and run back and forth with carrier bags. For safety reasons I shut the car door, and ran back and forth. My toddler would have been running around angry and awake - left in their play pen - had I done it the other way around. So I felt asleep for 4 extra minutes would be safer. You cannot see our front door because of the hedge.

I did not mind that the officer was looking - after all how were they to know if the child was abandoned or in a far more innocent scenario?

I would ring 101 or knock on a door.

MrsNuckyT Mon 16-May-16 15:02:31

I think if the child was peacefully sleeping it was more than likely that the parent was in an adjacent house keeping an eye out. I park in the drive and do this often with my son. Did the child look healthy, clean, clothed and otherwise well cared for?

If the child was awake /distressed or looked otherwise neglected (although to be honest you might think my son was neglected if you saw him immediately after a run about in the mud at the park!!) I'd see it as a different thing because if it was then clearly no one would be close enough to hear the cries.

I personally don't think there is anything wrong with this approach by the parent and honestly you can't always tell if someone is watching unless you are checking all windows very very carefully!

squizita Mon 16-May-16 15:03:18

with the car parked on the street, not a driveway

Those of us who cannot afford houses with driveways do still need to run in and out with the shopping. Or should the family go hungry?

A child can still overheat in a driveway, and child snatchers could still snatch a child from a drive way. Equally they could still be OK for 5 min on the street, and the locks still work on the street.

It annoys me people think of them as SO DIFFERENT. Frankly the driveway and parking space on my cousin's flat, for example, is much further from the front door than the kerb of our street is from our terraced front door.

ApocalypseSlough Mon 16-May-16 15:05:17

I think I'd call the police. Just because there have been instances of children overheating because their parents had forgotten- change of routine, they usually dropped off at nursery but something has changed that day.

lavenderdoilly Mon 16-May-16 15:07:56

If my dd was asleep in car when I'd parked and I didn't want to disturb her, I would stay in the car with her until either I felt it was time to wake her up or until she woke up herself. No way would I EVER leave her alone in the car.

Vaara Mon 16-May-16 15:07:55

I would have presumed the parent was around and done nothing.

Unless it was very hot, then I'd have called the police.

I don't think a toddler asleep in a car is in danger except for overheating in hot weather.

peggyundercrackers Mon 16-May-16 15:10:01

I would have done what you done and kept walking. the adult would have been around and watching from one of the adjacent houses. Nothing happened to the child so you have nothing to feel guilty about.

oceanjanie Mon 16-May-16 15:17:28

I leave mine sleeping in the car on the drive quite often while I potter in the kitchen and keep an eye out the window. I think it's quite safe where I am but it's a judgement call on the neighbourhood.

I suppose there's always the risk of a rogue weirdo but highly unlikely that in the time you're looking at the washing up (or whatever) instead of the child that rogue weirdo would show up and snatch them.

squizita Mon 16-May-16 15:29:42

Ocean my main worry would be overheating. The open window in the OP, to me, suggests the parent was not going away for long/had not locked up the car and forgotten.

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