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petrol station dilemma

78 replies

JayTree · 08/09/2002 23:09

Ok - I would appreciate a few thoughts on this one please.Today I was out in the car with my dd for a long journey. She yelled and screamed for ages before finally settling down for a nap. It was at this point that I realised I was almost out of petrol, miles away from home and any "pay at the pump" stations. So I pulled into one I had never used before and filled up. I then had to decide whether or not to lock the doors and leave my dd sleeping in the warm car (cold and rainy out) or wake her up and take her in with me and deal with the inevitable yelling all over again. I am amazed that I hadn?t had to think about this before now but somehow always avoided the problem one way or another. I have read so many articles about cars stolen at the pump with babies in them etc. and found it a bit of a tricky one. When I got home I talked it through with dh and was surprised to find that we disagreed strongly about the appropriate course of action. What do you do?

OP posts:

WideWebWitch · 08/09/2002 23:22

Jaytree, I've always locked the car and gone in and paid leaving ds in the car whether he's awake or asleep (he's nearly 5 now). Maybe I'm wrong? My car isn't exactly a prime nickable type but I suppose it could still happen. Although I'm in the coutryside I do a lot of motorway driving and so do have to get petrol in London, Bristol or other cities too sometimes. I do always keep an eye on the car while I'm paying and I wouldn't leave him in the car alone anywhere other than paying for petrol I don't think. Interested to hear the response you get. Presume DH thought you should have taken your ds in? I'm just trying to think and I don't think I very often see parents taking their children in to pay with them.


WideWebWitch · 08/09/2002 23:23

sorry, you have a dd not a ds and I live in the countryside, not the coutryside...


Azzie · 09/09/2002 06:17

JayTree, I leave mine in the car (although I try to be able to see them from the pay kiosk). I have 2 children (4 & 2), and the thought of getting both of them out of the car, dealing with the inevitable requests for sweets etc when in the shop, then trying to persuade the 2 y.o. back into her car seat within a reasonable time frame, is all too much for me.


susanmt · 09/09/2002 06:42

I would leave them in the car and go in, and keep an eye on them while I was there. Especially if they were sleeping!


JayTree · 09/09/2002 07:54

thanks guys - I am going to print this one and out and show my dh!! He was starting to make me believe I had committed a huge parenting sin and put our daughter in huge danger!! (Oh, yep - I left her to sleep!) I feel a little better on this one now I know that I am not the only one.

OP posts:

PamT · 09/09/2002 07:54

I leave mine in the car too and lock the doors but there have been occasions when the oldest 2 (6 & 9) have been really naughty then and played with controls, blown the horn etc and there's not a lot you can do when you are stuck in a queue to pay. I don't ever leave them in the car anywhere else though unless I am within arms reach and can see them all the time. I've heard terrible stories of cars being stolen or children escaping onto busy roads. The fire risk is something to bear in mind too.


Fionn · 09/09/2002 08:31

I leave mine (4 and 2) in the car too, doors locked, where I can see them from the kiosk. A friend alway uses the Pay at the Pump option but I always like to get receipts which doesn't always work at the pump. I really don't think there's any danger if you lock them in and keep them in view.


Joe1 · 09/09/2002 08:51

I sometimes leave my ds in the car sometimes I take hime with me. I try to move the car nearer the kiosk so I can see him clearly or I tend to try and pay at a petrol station where I can drive up and pay without having to get out.


WideWebWitch · 09/09/2002 08:53

Jaytree, just tried to find stats for cars stolen at petrol stations hoping it would be reassuring. Found a UK site that said: "20,000 cars a year are stolen at petrol stations so take your keys out of your car!" Higher than I thought it would be but does suggest that most thefts at petrol stations are where someone has left the keys in the ignition. Wouldn't do that myself. Hmmmm.


WideWebWitch · 09/09/2002 08:54

Just thought though, that's probably low expressed as a percentage of all UK cars and car thefts.


Ghosty · 09/09/2002 09:21

Whatever happened to the people who came out and filled your car up and you just paid them there? In the UK I used to leave DS in the car but used to pick the pump nearest to the kiosk (even if it meant waiting) so that I could see him and run in and out as quick as I could!

It took a while to get used to a little bloke offering to fill up my car when we first came to NZ (yes they still have them here!) - I just sit there like Lady Muck and say, "Yes, thirty dollars worth please, my good man, and make it quick!"


SueDonim · 09/09/2002 09:22

I leave mine in the car, too - and being in a country area, I rarely lock the doors though do take the key. But I keep the car in sight, generally trying to park as near to the kiosk as poss. I don't have stats but I suspect the chance of a child being run down if they managed to escape from you must be much higher than the car being stolen?


sobernow · 09/09/2002 09:32

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bundle · 09/09/2002 09:45

I never,ever leave dd in car


leander · 09/09/2002 09:50

I wont leave DS in the car I would always try to use a pay at pump or a station that you pay at a drive through kiosk.


Philippat · 09/09/2002 10:04

Drive through kiosks? Pay at the pump? goodness me, what new technology you have down south.

Always leave dd in car, locked, try and get pump nearest to kiosk. Like you, JayTree, I debated this for ages. TBH I think a petrol station is quite a safe place re thefts so long as you don't leave doors open and keys in ignition.

yes, dd is alone, yes she occasionally wakes up and cries while I'm gone, but I still don't think she's in any danger.


SoupDragon · 09/09/2002 10:07

I always leave my 2 in the car but watch the car all the time (except where I have to sign the credit card slip!) It's completely impractical to unload them to go and pay - and actually unsafe if you're carrying a toddler and trusting a pre-schooler to stay with you & not run off in front of a car.

Before we got a car with an alarm I used to lock it but I can't do that at the moment without the boys setting it off when they move (mental note :turn off that bit of the alarm...) Obviously, I take the keycard with me so I'd hope it would take a thief longer to hotwire the car than I spend not looking at it.

I always fill up at Tescos when I do our weekly shop as they have pay at the pump. It doesn't matter how much I need, I always fill the car up then.


Chinchilla · 09/09/2002 10:48

Jaytree - sometimes leaving children in the car is unavoidable. You are not a bad parent, as long as you don't leave them for more time than absolutely necessary, and always have them in your view, IMO.

I don't like doing it, but, as others have said, it is not worth unloading your child, especially if they are sleeping, just to pay for petrol, or, in my case, post a dvd back through the door of Blockbusters. I just make sure that I can always see the car, and lock the doors.

It's weird isn't it, on another thread, someone mentioned our own parents leaving us in cars while they went into pubs or supermarkets! Mine did that too...we'd be strung up now wouldn't we!!


bayleaf · 09/09/2002 12:12

I was really interested to read this thread as it's something I'd always worried about and not been sure about doing - mostly I try and avoid filling up the car when dd is with me - but when that fails I too leave her in a locked car. I suspect the statistics re anything happening are far worse for things we do everyday like walking across a car park or road holding a toddler's hand...


jodee · 09/09/2002 12:28

Yes, I'm a sinner too! I do try and fill up at times when ds isn't in the car with me, but it just isn't practicable to do that usually.

Do people actually still think it's okay to leave their keys in the ignition? Maybe in rural areas, but being a townie I wouldn't even consider it.


CAM · 09/09/2002 13:27

Like Bundle, I never, ever leave dd in the car on her own. When I was pregnant, a friend told me that a friend of hers left a child in the car while buying a newspaper and the car burst into flames with fatal results. This story makes it impossible for neurotics like me to take the risk.
Also, (more neurosis), I couldn't leave the car locked with a child in it because then no-one would be able to get her out quickly if something did happen. So for me, it is far easier to take her out every single time.


musica · 09/09/2002 13:31

I always leave ds in the car at petrol stations - I figure he's much less likely to come to harm locked in the car with me watching, than if I were to struggle getting him out the car, in a petrol station forecourt where there is inevitably lots of traffic, with cars not looking out for toddlers!


manna · 09/09/2002 13:58

I can't help thinking about those children earlier in the year who were left in their mothers car while she went in to a friends house for a moment. The car burst in to flames (electrical fault?), and the two children died. Sorry to be so glum, but I always think of this when I go out, even though we have a relatively new car.


XAusted · 09/09/2002 20:28

My kids are always left in the car while I pay. As we live in a rural area, the risk of harm to them from other people are virtually nil at our local filling station. Even in town I leave them in a car. As somebody said, it's not practical to get a 5 and a 3 year old out of the car, safely negotiate the forecourt, queue up without losing the kids/kids running riot, pay, get out of shop without 3 year old shoplifting, re-negotiate forecourt, get kids fastened into seats, etc, etc. I'm sure a sleeping child in a car is pretty safe with the keys out and the doors locked. Freak accidents simply can't be planned for.


threeangels · 09/09/2002 21:08

Depending on the amount of time a child is left in a car and if the parent is not in eyesight someone in a kidnapping situation can easily persuade a child to unlock a car door and then take them. It does happen.

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