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Can anyone tell me if it's against the law ...

(79 Posts)
Ghouleez Fri 30-Oct-09 22:15:51

to leave your baby in the car whilst you pop into the shop.

If my DS has fallen asleep in the car before I get to the shop then I'm damned if I'm going to wake him up so he can cry and do his ironing board impression whilst I struggle to lever him into a cold trolley seat.

If he has gone to sleep I sometimes do a big shop as I know roughly how long he sleeps for and that he doesn't cry when he wakes up.

Is this 'allowed' though?

I know Child minders are not allowed to leave their mindees in a car alone but that I understand.

sazm Fri 30-Oct-09 22:31:13

yes it is,
i still do it though, i have a 5yo,3yo and a 11mo, if im going into tesco for the weekly shop i obv take them in,but if im nipping into the corner shop for milk i leave them in the car,
i once was just locking my car and a traffic warden walked up to me and told me it is an offence and if i didnt get back in the car/take them out he would report me! he told me that he had called the police the week before as someone had left a child in their car,they were charged,

Ghouleez Sat 31-Oct-09 11:22:34

Oh my goodness! That is terrible. I really don't see what the problem is if the baby is asleep, strapped in and doors locked.

Can somebody please enlighten me as to why this is illegal?

Maybe I am naive in my thinking but havn't parents laways left their children in the car to pop into a shop? Is there an age limit? I see loads of kids in cars in car parks outside of supermarkets.

AlaskaNebraska Sat 31-Oct-09 11:22:58

well it woudl depend how long for obv

AlaskaNebraska Sat 31-Oct-09 11:23:23

think traffic warden over stepping brief there in legal advice hmm

Tee2072 Sat 31-Oct-09 11:25:43

By big shop I assume it takes you an hour or more?

It is illegal because babies and children have died being left in cars. Even on a cool day the inside of a car can heat up a lot. And on a cold day it can get very cold.

Popping into the corner shop is very different to leaving them in the car park while you shop for an hour or more.

nellie12 Sat 31-Oct-09 11:26:14

I wondered that about traffic warden because the other thing I've heard is that although there is guidance on not leaving children alone there isn't actually a law that covers it.
Though would be interested to know if thats true or not - just to say I'm not talking about going on holiday or day trips without kids.

ThisBoyDraculaDrew Sat 31-Oct-09 11:31:12

I guess - depending on teh circumstances this could fall under child neglect laws though.

And I stress depending on teh circumstances.

wannaBe Sat 31-Oct-09 11:36:46

well even if it's not illegal it's bloody irresponsible. Leaving a child in the car while you nip into the corner shop, and can still see the car is one thing, leaving a sleeping child in the car while you do the weekly shop in what is resumably a big supermarket (as you are talking of trolies) is quite another.

What if someone were to steal your car, or break in to steal the stereo, or someone were to reverse into the car in the carpark causing it to shunt forward and wake the baby. All of which are extremely common senarios.

What if the sun were to come out and shine through the windows, a dog can die in a car in less than ten minutes, presumably it wouldn't take that long for the same to happen to a sleeping baby.

If it's not illegal then it should be.

JetSetWilly Sat 31-Oct-09 11:43:33

cant agree more with wannabe

seriously people, do you honestly feel comfortable leaving your little ones in the car for longer than it takes to get a pint of milk?

I still think waking a child and putting them in a cold wet trolly is better than leaving DC in car while doing the weekly shop. Is it possible for you to do a shop after he has had a sleep (that way he won't go to sleep before you get there obv)?

sweetcat Sat 31-Oct-09 11:44:25

Agree wannaBe. An aquaintance of mine once left her 8 week old baby in the car shock to do a full shop and another customer reported her and they had to put a call out for her.

Her baby was so distressed he had been sick. She couldn't understand the fuss, stupid cow.

Only an idiot would leave a child in a car whilst they go to the supermarket.

MadameCastafiore Sat 31-Oct-09 11:44:49

Not sure if it is against the law but it is WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

Feckin hell do you shopping when you know he isn't going to be fallin asleep!

somewhathorrified Sat 31-Oct-09 11:49:09

It is illegal and people have been prosecuted for child neglect. I think it's based around H&S reasons and abandonment. I make no judgements on this but how hould you feel if someone kidnapped your child/baby while unattended? The illusion people have is that their car is secure (like a house) it's really not!

BCNSback Sat 31-Oct-09 11:49:33

Your mad to even think about doing a shop while you leave the most important thing in your life in the car! shock

totally agree with wannabe

mmrred Sat 31-Oct-09 11:50:58

This must be a troll, surely?

PumpkinsCantDanceTheTango Sat 31-Oct-09 11:51:13

Its not illegal, there is no legal age to leave your child alone - however if it is deemed neglect then thats where the problem is. And if something happened and you left the child alone then you would be responsible for that but there isn't a law about age/length of time.

christie2 Sat 31-Oct-09 11:52:56

This comes up all the time. There is a difference between going in a shop to grab milk but can still see the car ( and I only do it if an older kid is in the car) and could run in and alert me if there was a problem. But to leave them for a long shop, not ok. I left a 7, 5 and baby in the car while I ran in for milk, I could see the car and was quick. In that short time, a homeless person was staring in the window at the car and my ds said he was trying hte door. If I had not been there to run over, he left when he saw me, and had been where I couldn't see or was away for a long time......

belgo Sat 31-Oct-09 11:54:59

Agree it depends for how long. If it's just to pay for petrol then obviously it's better to leave the children in the car.

But if it's to do a big shop, then I doubt if anyone would think that to be a sensible idea.

I once got locked in a car for 10 minutes. it got very hot and very claustrophobic in that time.

SCARYspicemonster Sat 31-Oct-09 11:55:18

Neither are against the law but as for what is sensible: Pop into the shop = yes. Do a big shop while he is sleeping = no

somewhathorrified Sat 31-Oct-09 12:05:00

Sorry if I got it wrong, but I was under the impression that child neglect was against the law! That's what people have been charged with in the past. Ok so there is no law stating ages and times left alone but since when has that stopped being prosecuted nowadays.

nellie12 Sat 31-Oct-09 12:13:42

I dont see how popping into a corner shop for a pint of milk with kids in car is child neglect though. Or paying for petrol.

SofaQueen Sat 31-Oct-09 12:14:48

So it's against the law to leave DC in the car while paying for petrol - sometimes there is a queue and it COULD take more than 5 minutes, but one never knows this until one is inside the shop? I'm confused.

PumpkinsCantDanceTheTango Sat 31-Oct-09 12:19:23

It is confusing and a grey area and I am trained in this wink
But hope this helps -
"A neighbour works full time and seems to be leaving her children alone during the day. Is this neglect?"
There is no UK law stating the age at which a child can be left at home alone. However, parents can be prosecuted for wilful neglect if they leave a child alone or unsupervised "in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health" (Children and Young Persons Act 1933). Your neighbour may be having difficulties finding childcare. Perhaps the family is isolated and lacks the support of relatives and friends? As a neighbour, could you offer help with contacting local support services or with childcare? See People to talk to for organisations that offer childcare advice.

Babies should never be left alone, even for a short time. If you notice that a baby or a child under the age of nine has been left on their own, contact the police on 999. They will go to the house to make sure that the child is safe from harm.

Before leaving an older child alone, parents must take into account the child's age and maturity, their ability to cope in an emergency and how they feel about being left alone. Most children under the age of 13 are not mature enough to cope in an emergency and should not be left alone for more than a short time.

We recommend that children under the age of 16 should not be left alone overnight.

PumpkinsCantDanceTheTango Sat 31-Oct-09 12:20:58

Sorry meant to say thats from NSPCC and is an example of what people ask.

SofaQueen Sat 31-Oct-09 12:22:30

I'm still confused. Leaving children (particularly toddlers strapped in) in a car for a maximum of 10 minutes is not equivalent to leaving them alone in a house, so what does the law say on this matter?

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