This article popped up on the radar this week and I thought it worthy of discussion. A New Zealand mother left her baby in the car while she went into the supermarket. He looked happy and cozy in the picture and had a note with a phone number. Some passers by we’re not impressed, called her and the police. She was not charged. I’m not condoning this but it’s worthy of discussion.
Once this was common practice. If only for a moment while you ducked into the store. Why is it so scandalous to leave a sleeping child in a car if it’s not too hot, for a few minutes. We all know how much crap you have to carry around with a baby. Sometimes we all just want to duck in the store. Who are we to judge? We don’t know her story, maybe that child had colic and had been up screaming all night and this was the first time he slept and the mother knew that if she took him out of his carseat he’d be awake and screaming again. Maybe she needed something desperately from the supermarket.
I remember as kids we ALWAYS sat in the car while my parents went to bank meetings or ran into the supermarket or whatever. It wasn’t a big deal. In some cultures it’s still not. This New Zealand mother obviously thought it was ok to leave her child safely strapped in the car, on what was obviously a rainy and miserable day. She was supposedly gone for only moments. Is it wrong?
For a while in Australia there was a controversy, the Japanese tourists used to park in the casino carpark and leave their children sleeping while they went gambling, it was happening so often that the casino had to put up signs in the carparks not to leave children unattended when entering the casino. So are the Japanese a selfish culture? Were they all so addicted to gambling they were prepared to leave their kids all night in the car? I have no idea. I have never lived in Japan or study their ways with children but so many of them did it that it must have been a cultural thing.
When we still lived in Australia, I was guilty of leaving Grand Master D in the car a few times but it was outside the bank, the car was always parked right at the door and I could see him the whole time! He was asleep and I was going to be 2 minutes, less. Does that make it wrong? I never left him where I couldn’t see.
Later, when we first arrived in the US, my kids were 5 and 17 mths. We obviously didn’t know anyone we could leave the kids with and we needed to do so many things regarding licenses and immigration paperwork. The kids had to stand around with us for hours on end. On one occasion after we’d been at the DMV for several hours, we were nearly done, they were totally done. You try going and standing in line with little kids for 3 hours. The public service really needs to look at it’s efficiency. We knew we were going to be done soon. I was actually done because they wouldn’t give me my license that day, I didn’t have the right paperwork to make 100 points! Oh my, that was so annoying but a story for another day, so the kids and I went out to the car, we had dvd players hooked to the seats and they were happier in the car. I sat out there with them for about 45 minutes and finally I needed to see how much longer the King was gonna be. So I asked them if they were happy to stay there while I checked on daddy for 1 minute and they were both quite happy to stay in the warm car with a movie and snacks. I got out, walked 50 feet into the building and was literally in there 1 minute, asked him how long and came straight back out to the kids. Upon my return I was abused by a strange man, telling me he was going to call the police and have me arrested. I was stunned! What the hell did I do so wrong? I knew I was gone for 1 minute, the kids prefered to stay in the car, it was locked, they were safe. No one was distressed. It upset me. I clearly didn’t understand that America is different. My children weren’t in any danger, this stranger had no idea I was gone for such a short amount of time. Who was he to abuse me? But I learned a valuable lesson that day.
I totally understand that we need to protect children, that there are people out there who to do harm to their own children and others, which is disgusting but in this particular case I don’t believe this poor woman endangered her child. I know she’ll never do it again as I never did it again. Not because she thinks it’s wrong but because society deems it wrong.
What do you think? Have you ever left your children? Is she wrong, was I wrong? I’d love to hear your thoughts.