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Kids at the Gas Station, am I overly critical ?

Last night I was at the gas station and woman at the pump ahead of me went in to pay and left what I am guessing was a 1 or two year old and a five year old in the car. It was a visible view to her car but more than a few feet away off a busy intersection. I felt uncomfortable witnessing and found myself also watching the kids. Later it seems the older child needed to use the bathroom and she took him out of the car and let him go in. She stood at the door of the station with it open and was sort of looking back in forth (meanwhile I know where the bathroom is and its out of physical sight) she was looking left and right left and right and then she closed the door and was gone for about a minute while the younger child was in the car alone and for that minute the only one who was watching her was me. Finally she and the older child returned and I wanted to get out of the car and suggest that next time she take the three extra minutes to undo the seatbelt and bring the younger child with her. All I could hear in the back of my head was those crime dramas and the woman say " I just turned my back for one minute".

Do you think I am overly judgemental here. Would you leave a child in the car when you went to the gas station to pay? On the rare occasion I have to pay in cash at the pump I always take my child in even if I can see him, am I overly cautious. Just wondering what other moms do.

 
hotelmom123

Asked by hotelmom123 at 11:42 AM on Mar. 25, 2011 in Parenting Debate

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This question is closed.
Answers (44)
  • Yes, I think you're a bit overly critical. It's a pain in the ass to have to get kids out of the car just to put them back in it two minutes later. Gas stations tend to have lots of security surveillance for their own safety, and it's a highly visible public place. Only an exceptionally stupid person would attempt to kidnap a child with so many people around and cameras watching.
    FluffyMamaBunny

    Answer by FluffyMamaBunny at 11:46 AM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • as much as a pain in the ass it might be, its the safer thing to do for the child's sake. i have three children all in carseats so i never pay gas with cash. i use my debit card so i never have to leave my car. and even if i had to pay cash, you better believe all 3 of them would be with me in the store. i guess i care more about their safety than my convenience.
    tnm786

    Answer by tnm786 at 11:49 AM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • You are NOT being overly cautious. You should never leave children alone in the car. I always bring my 1 year old in with me even if I'll only be a second and I can see him through the window. I would never risk it. There have been times that I wish so bad I didn't have to unbuckle him, pick him up, bring him in while I get what I need, pay for my items with his 25 lb little butt on my hip and them get him strapped back into his car seat but I do it because it keeps him safe.
    Court128

    Answer by Court128 at 11:54 AM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • for those that say they would leave your kid, you ever think of the what ifs? what if a person pulled up smoking a cigarette and the pump exploded.. those few seconds could have been what you needed to pull your kids out. instead you have to run out, find you keys, meanwhile your kid could be burning to death. or what if the store you in gets held up.. you are now stuck inside.. what if your baby starts choking or your toddler learns to unbuckle themselves and gets out to wander to start the car.. what if the guy that pulls up is a pedophile or a woman who is desperate for a baby.. it only takes a minute for them to snatch your kid, and run. or the car that pulls up, slides on ice and hits your car.. or a cop pulls up to get gas and sees the kids.. bye bye babies.

    every second counts in emergency situations.. where would you be? inconvenient or not, i'm staying by my kids or bringing them in.
    xxhazeldovexx

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 1:29 PM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • There are 2 states that don't allow self-serve gas stations. Having to navigate a gas station with kids? Makes me glad to be in one of those two states. ;)

    Seriously, my kids are 8 1/2 and 6. I wouldn't leave either home alone. I'm not going to leave them alone in my car in a public place. I'd rather be inconvenienced with getting them in and out of the car (even back when they were both in car seats) than run in for a gallon of milk at the convenience store, for example, and hope nothing happened in that brief interlude of time. Cameras and foot traffic doesn't equate to worry free. Sure it gives you witnesses - and hopefully they come in handy if the police are searching later. It doesn't mean nothing *can* happen, perhaps just that it's less likely. For me, less likely isn't good enough odds to make the easier way worth it.
    ldmrmom

    Answer by ldmrmom at 2:28 PM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • i dont think that is EVER a good ideai ALWAYS take my kid out of the carseat even if i just have to run in for a sec!!!
    kylansmommy09

    Answer by kylansmommy09 at 11:44 AM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • My children are 14, 12 and 5 and most of the time I get gas at a 'pay at the pump' station so i don't have to go in. If I do have to go into the gas station I ALWAYS take my 5 yr old and 12 yr old in with me. If the 14 yr old is with sometimes he goes in and sometimes he wants to stay in the van. I will allow him to stay as the van is off, I take the keys and the doors are locked.
    MizLee

    Answer by MizLee at 11:49 AM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • having more than one kid is different. if i had one kid, i'd take him out if i had to anywhere. when you have 2 or more, at least i do anyway, you think twice. usually, if i have to pay with cash, i figure out a way, either i leave the kids at home with DH, before we leave for somewhere, or if i have enough gas, i'll run them home if DH is home, drop them off, run and get it then come back home. or, if dh is on the road, i'll ask him to meet me there for a few minutes. sometimes he tops his truck off if this happens.

    there has been a couple of times however, where i've found myself in a bind. i desperately need gas, DH or anyone else isn't available, and i only have cash. both times i was lucky though. there was no line in the station, so all i had to do was run in, give them the cash and run out. i didn't even worry about the receipt. now, the whole potty situation, i'd drive the car to a parking spot and take both kids
    armywife43

    Answer by armywife43 at 11:51 AM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • i do think that was very nice of you to keep watch for the children :)
    way to go!!!
    happy2bmom25

    Answer by happy2bmom25 at 1:07 PM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • I don't think so. Leaving children under age 12 unattended is child endagerment here.
    GrnEyedGrandma

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 11:45 AM on Mar. 25, 2011