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It is *NEVER* ok to leave a child in a car unattended [Warning added by MNHQ - upsetting video]

(54 Posts)
Chibault Sat 03-Aug-13 03:03:43

Just watched this.

A past neighbour used to leave her children in the car on a fairly busy street, unattended, locked, with window down slightly, to sleep. She would be in the house, (which had no drive way), so the car was parked somewhere 'nearish' the house. She would pop out every so often to check them. If you do this I want you to know - it is NEVER ok to leave them alone.

Mumsnetters - what do you think?
To me, it's neglect.

My dad was a policeman for many years and dealt with the deaths of children who had been left in the cars unattended, because of things like unexpected fires, overheating. When I had a child, he explained to me how dangerous this was and to NEVER do this.

Really I just have to say, especially because of the recent hot weather - please if you're someone who does this, even when the car is on your driveway - it's not ok, unless you are with the child.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sat 03-Aug-13 03:19:25

Too much of a blanket statement imo. I left mine in the car when I went to pay for petrol when they were small, I don't recall leaving them for any other reason but then I lived in a place where you couldn't easily see the car from the window. As they grew older there were times when I opted to leave them in the car for a few minutes to grab a bit of shopping. For me it was about assessing the risks and acting accordingly.

NeedlesCuties Sat 03-Aug-13 07:58:32

I think that's a bit alarmist.

Surely if you follow that logic you'd never leave a child in a different area of a house alone either.

There could be a fire start when the child is asleep upstairs and you'd be unable to run up to get him/her and other such examples.

Personally I think leaving a child in a car in a driveway which is visible from the house is a risk I'm willing to take. It is not neglect. Neglect is ignoring their needs, not giving due consideration to what the child's best interests are.

Parents have left children in cars for a nap, or even in the garden in buggies for years and years.

Nikeairyfairy Sat 03-Aug-13 08:29:54

Yep - another one who takes the risk of sleeping child in car. Seen from house and checked on frequently. Parked in shade with window down.

HolofernesesHead Sat 03-Aug-13 08:31:40

What about the age of the child? What age do you think is okay to leave them in a car while you e.g. get some cash out of the machine right by the roadside?

ChippingInHopHopHop Sat 03-Aug-13 08:35:19

I think you need to see someone about your overwhelming level of anxiety.

poachedeggs Sat 03-Aug-13 08:36:22

Oh fgs I leave mine in the car while I whizz round the co-op. It's a small town, we know everyone, everyone knows the DC, the windows are open.

I wouldn't leave them for longer than five minutes, and I only do it on the street outside the shop. I think if something terrible was to happen to me that stopped me getting 15 yards back to the car AND it went on fire spontaneously then I'd be spectacularly unlucky.

ArabellaBeaumaris Sat 03-Aug-13 08:38:15

Glad to know your blanket statement can trump my judgement about my own situation & my own kids.

Spottypurse Sat 03-Aug-13 08:40:28

I left DD in the car yesterday with the dog while I went into the local shop. She's 11. It never occurred to me I was doing anything wrong? The windows were open and I thought it was better than leaving the dog on his own?

SanityClause Sat 03-Aug-13 08:42:57

It's the putting them in the car and driving them around that's statistically more likely to kill them.

But perhaps your father wasn't a traffic cop, and didn't see many fatal accidents?

ComtesseDeFrouFrou Sat 03-Aug-13 08:43:33

So I shouldn't leave a 16 year old child alone in the car while I pay for petrol? hmm

Judge not, lest ye be judged, OP.

Tee2072 Sat 03-Aug-13 08:44:34

I agree, you need to do something about your anxiety.

And your alarmist father. Who should really think about how often cars just spontaneously combust.

I don't have a car. If I did? I'd do what I thought was right about leaving my son in a car.

Cheeseatmidnight Sat 03-Aug-13 08:48:33

I cannot see the car from the window so don't do it, but if I had a drive I would. I would probably sit right by the window though on mn smile

slightlysoupstained Sat 03-Aug-13 09:02:40

Can't watch the video as DS asleep, but DP & I were discussing this recently. Apparently it can only take 15 minutes for a baby to start suffering damage, which is a lot shorter than I'd realised and well into "I'll just pop in, oh there's a queue" territory.

I don't drive, so not likely to affect me yet (learning), but while I'm not saying I'd never step away from the vehicle, I now know that it's actually possible for harm to occur much faster than I thought. It is genuinely dangerous, and I would never criticise someone for deciding that for them, the best option was an absolute blanket rule.

I would be inclined to raise the alarm if I found a small child left sleeping in a car alone. Though Spotty, I think 11 is quite old enough to be trusted to look after herself and dog & to get them both out if car if it got too hot & you hadn't returned.

slightlysoupstained Sat 03-Aug-13 09:08:17

Oh damn, forgot to say I love the idea in the linked article of putting a big teddy in the car seat, that gets moved to the front passenger seat when baby is in car as a reminder that baby is there. Horrifyingly easy to forget if they're fast asleep and there's a break in routine that throws you off.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Sat 03-Aug-13 09:08:46

I thought the rationale against it was also that:

- something happens to YOU while separated from your kids and as they are alone and you cannot get to the or get someone to them, then they are in real trouble.

- for older/mobile children, they try to look for you, get out of the car and get run over, lost, etc.

ShowOfHands Sat 03-Aug-13 09:23:49

I'm going to report your post so that MN can put a warning on it. That linked video is equal parts distressing and disgusting. There's nothing wrong with highlighting a genuine issue, but linking to videos showing a dramatized film of a child dying from heatstroke is in incredibly poor taste.

I am married to a police officer btw. And we both leave our ds in the car when he's asleep. He's at the back of the house, in the shade, 2 doors and 2 windows open and I sit by the car and read. This is perfectly safe.

insancerre Sat 03-Aug-13 09:27:17

where have all these perfect parents come from who never leave their children unattended ever, and never swear at them either
mumsnet never used to be like this
what happened to good old fashioned benign neglect?

K8Middleton Sat 03-Aug-13 09:30:32

I hate scaremongering blanket statements. They are not helpful because they stop people thinking. We all need to carefully consider the risks each and every time.

Being told what to do by some hysterical random on the Internet is patronising and counter productive.

badguider Sat 03-Aug-13 09:36:00

Articles from the US are assuming a FAR higher outside heat than we get most of the time here. And cars mostly have air con when driving so the driver hasn't got a true sense of the outside temperature, and they're talking degrees F when they talk about the rate of warming.
I seriously doubt anybody in the uk would think it fine to leave their baby in the car in the temperatures we've bbeen having recently but the rest of the time I'm happy for people to make their own judgement. If its 15C outside the car is unlikely to turn into an oven unless in direct sun for a long time.

RobotHamster Sat 03-Aug-13 09:41:39

If you'd suggested leaving a dog in the car then nobody would say it was ok.
Leaving a child in the car for a few mins to pay for fuel/get cash out is fine if you're happy to do it, I think. Personally I don't like leaving DS asleep in the car for any length of time so I don't do it.

LadyintheRadiator Sat 03-Aug-13 09:42:02

Your post is scaremongering and patronising - you 'want me to know this is not ok' - well thanks for that but I'll be the judge of whether or not it is 'ok'.

zippey Sat 03-Aug-13 09:45:10

I also disagree with judging with the decisions of parents in a situation like this. Sometimes it's a relief when your child falls asleep, so as long as child is comfortable, windows are open etc, you shouldn't have to worry about unlikely scenarios like cars combusting. That's just silly and ott.

Caster8 Sat 03-Aug-13 09:46:43

I have seen threads like this before.

The answer seems to be, it depends who does it.
If it is someone who has an unblemished social record, as it were, the conseuqences are not the same as someone who is already "known to social services".

breatheslowly Sat 03-Aug-13 10:20:01

I leave DD in the car when I pay for petrol. I want you to know that it is ok.

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