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2 Bumps

Leaving kids alone in car...acceptable or not?

If a mom or dad even were to run in and pay for gas or be in a small store like a dollar general, gas station, something like that for a few minutes five at the most and left their children in the car as long as they took the keys, had the windows down in the summer and could see the kids through the store window, do you feel that that is acceptable or not. I often times will get gas, pull up to the front of the store and leave the kids in the car while I run in. Or if I'm going in for ciggs.
My kids are 5 and 7, they both stay strapped in their seats and know not to get out of the car and know that I am coming right back and the gas station that I go to, they can see me and I can see them because its small and there is a big window by the check out.
I never left them in the car as infants though and I would never go into like walmart or a big store where they were out of my sight. Plus I live in a small town, low crime rate. Most of the people in town all know each other. It's the type of place where you can leave your house unlocked when you go to the store. I leave my keys in the car or leave it running in winter when I go into a store if I am alone (never leave the keys in the car when my kids are there). We just don't worry as much about crime around here. I can go to a store and see my kids teachers, nurses from their doctors office or other parents from their school, so it's a close knit community.
In a situation like this do you feel that leaving your kids in the car briefly is ok or still unacceptable?


Asked by AnonNdrag at 1:00 PM on Mar. 26, 2013 in General Parenting

Level 19 (7,783 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (39)
  • This is one of those answers where it's ok to do, but people will say it's not because it makes them look bad if they don't. There's a huge difference between going into a gas station to pay and going inside walmart to shop or a casino to gamble for an hour (or 12).

    Similarly, it's ok to let a kid pick up a toy/bottle/paci/etc that has touched the floor without grabbing it and resterilizing it, it's ok to leave a child safe in a gated, childproof room for 90 seconds while you pee, it's ok to take a shower when a baby is in their crib, even if they're not sleeping. (just don't ask on a parenting site)

    Answer by NotPanicking at 1:20 PM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • I think it's just FINE! I was "Iffy" on gas stations leaving my 1 kid in the car while I go to pay, but with two?! Shit, how do women do that? What's the point of carting an infant seat and a 3 year old who's gonna want all that eye level candy 10 feet to the door to hand the guy a 20?!

    Locked. Parked at closest pump to cashier. Kids IN car.


    Answer by staciandababy at 1:13 PM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • Maybe so NP
    But quiet little towns have streets going in and out of them too. I will rephrase my answer. You individual child more than likely will never have a problem. You child will never eat something and choke, or be silly and get out of the car or roll up a window or roll it down.
    Your children will never get in fights and possibly get seriously hurt. Your child will never be one where for no explainable reason another car hits the one they are in. Your children will never be in a car that some traveling baddy picks to boost.
    Chances are that your child will never be the one child that any of this happens too. But it is not a safe practice.

    Answer by Dardenella at 1:30 PM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • Have you ever noticed that you rarely hear about kids going missing in big cities? It's always the small town where "stuff like that just doesn't happen".
    I didn't leave my kids in the car, even to pay at a gas station, until they were 8/9 and even then only when there were 2 or more in the car. When I just have my now 2 and 4 yo's, I take them both in - but most often my dh makes sure my gas tank doesn't get below 1/2 tank so I don't have to stop with them.

    Answer by missanc at 1:49 PM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • I've done it and my son was a difficult child but on this he at least listened perfectly. I would pump and pay while he sat in the car. However, I would not, no matter how much he begged allow him to stay in the car if I was going into a regular store like Walmart or the grocery store. It's not that I worried about someone snatching him, it's that I worried about the shit he could get into.

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 2:18 PM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • IMO, I would never do it- would never RISK it but hey, if you're all about convenience instead of safety, then who am I to tell you it's wrong to leave your little kids in the car all alone?

    What condescending shit. There's no more risk to leaving a child (not a baby, not a toddler) in a car for 90 seconds than there is in leaving them in the living room while you use the bathroom. Did you take your 7 year old with you every time you had to use a toilet, too?

    Answer by NotPanicking at 12:32 AM on Mar. 27, 2013

  • My kids are 7 and 10 and I still won't leave them in the car for any time at all, even if I am just running in somewhere,

    Answer by JulieJacobKyle at 1:02 PM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • My parents used to leave us in the car all of the time, and nothing ever happened, but nowdays it isn't too smart, and in my state illegal to leave kids in the car no matter what! You would get a $500 ticket, and most likely a CPS visit.

    Answer by jerseydiva at 1:04 PM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • The gas station we go to has a walk up window about 10 feet away from the nearest pump and parking space. My son stays in the car while I walk up to pay (doors locked, keys in my hand). If I have to literally walk into a building that requires I loose sight of the car for even a second or is more than 50 feet away he comes with me.

    Answer by maecntpntz219 at 1:08 PM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • I'm going to be the black sheep (SURPRISE!) and say that I think it's ok. I really don't see the big deal.

    Answer by ABeaverhausen at 1:11 PM on Mar. 26, 2013