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At what age are the kids old enough to stay in the car when you run into a store?

I'm talking a QUICK run in to a small store that you can park right up front, not like Walmart or a grocery store. Like say a mini-mart at the gas station to get a bottle of water. How old do the kids need to be to stay in the car? (I should add that I live in a very small and safe town).


Asked by gramsmom at 7:55 PM on Jun. 19, 2010 in General Parenting

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Answers (9)
  • Ya know, in some cases, the kids are safer/ more comfortable in the car and people make such a big deal about it not to mention it's illegal, so I always take the kids in with me to the store regardless. I often think this issue is blown way out of porportion. I think the age to stay home alone is 11, so I'm guessing the same rule applies to the leaving in the car issue.

    Answer by lowencope at 8:00 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • im not really sure the exact age that they say it is safe and im sure people will call me a bad mom for this but i also live in a small town and i have pulled up in front of the gas station, locked all doors and ran in to get a bottle of water or to pay for my gas. my son is 13 months. i was in the store for 3 minutes at the most and could see my car the entire time.

    Answer by PURPULbutterfly at 8:00 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • I would say it's not so much an age, but a maturity level. Obviously a small child is out, but once they are 7 or 8 and can understand that " we don't open the door to strangers" and we "don't touch the gears" I don't see a reason not to leave them while you run in the store... But again, it's about the kid more than it is about their age. If they are 15 and you can't trust them don't leave them in the car, you know...

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 8:02 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • At the age 12. That is the age where a child can be left at home and does not need a babysitter. No matter how safe a town is you just never know.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:02 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • I do it and my kids are 4 and 17 months. I also live in a small town. Plus I lock the doors before I go inside. Oh and it is NOT illegal where I live.

    Answer by purpleducky at 8:19 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • Anon - that age is different for each state... So if you want to go with that, check your states laws. Here in PA, you can't leave anyone under 13 home alone... Other states its even higher... But again, I would say it comes down to the child, not the age.

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 8:32 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • Id say after age 10 Id leave them in the car for a quick trip like you described.

    Answer by Amaranth361 at 8:40 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • For me, I'd say age 10. My nephews are 7 & 9 and I still make them come with me, even if it is just into the gas station. I would NEVER leave my 3 year old in the car, unless it was a yard sale where I am less than 10 ft away.

    Answer by RutterMama at 10:52 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • I think the age is 12... In California...

    Answer by psychobilly_mom at 11:31 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

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