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Mom Confessions Mom Confessions

Should she go to jail?

Anonymous
Posted by Anonymous
  • 79 Replies


http://www.today.com/moms/errand-crime-parents-now-face-hard-consequences-leaving-kids-car-6C10584642


By the time Christina Moon pulled up to her local J.C. Penney to make a return after a morning of errands, her 4-year-old daughter was engrossed in a film in the back of the family’s SUV.

So when it came time to go inside the store, the girl protested.

“She said, ‘Mom, I don’t want to go shopping, I don’t want to get out of the car again,’” Moon, who lives in Brighton, Mich., recalled. “I knew I needed to let her come in with me, but she insisted.”

It seemed perfectly safe. Moon, 32, was parked close to the store -- located in a rural, suburban community she knew well. She left the engine running to keep the air conditioning going on that sunny May morning and locked the car from the outside. There were no keys in the ignition because her Ford Explorer has a remote start. She’d be right back, she thought.

But the errand took about 15 minutes -- longer than Moon expected because shoppers were out in force ahead of Mother’s Day. Back in the parking lot, her daughter Bella was fine inside the SUV, but someone spotted her alone and called 911.

“Finally, I did my return and I ran to my car and I saw the police car circling the parking lot and my heart just sank. I knew as soon as I saw that vehicle that was it – I knew he was there for me,” Moon said.

The mom has since been investigated by Child Protective Services and faces a $500 fine and 93 days in jail. Moon has pleaded guilty in the case, so she has to pay $2,000 in court costs in addition to any fine. Jail time is a possibility, though she is hoping she will get probation when she is sentenced on July 23.

'Tough words'for parents

Michigan is one of 19 states in the U.S. with laws that specifically make it illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle, according to KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit child safety organization. With 21 children dying from heat stroke inside a car so far this year in the U.S. and Canada, it’s painfully clear how dangerous it is to leave kids alone in cars.

“The purpose of the laws is not to be the parent police,” said Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org. “What they’re really meant to do is to say, maybe you don’t know this is serious, but it is.”

But cases like Moon’s – where a parent decides to dash in and out of a store without child in tow and is prosecuted for it – are getting under the skin of some parenting experts.

“I feel as if we’ve criminalized something that we all know in our heart of hearts is generally safe,” said Lenore Skenazy, blogger and author of “Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry).”

“I do think it’s dangerous to leave a child alone for a long time in a car. I also think that a parent is capable of deciding if it makes sense to leave her kids in the car for the duration of an errand.”

Most people remember waiting in cars while their parents ran a few errands, a practice that wasn’t “crazy negligent” then and still isn’t now, she added.

Fennell countered there are many dangers lurking inside a car besides the obvious risk of heat stroke. If a car is running and the kid is playing with the power window switches, he could strangle himself if he sticks his head outside. Children who’ve been watching mom push the buttons on the dashboard could try the same and knock the car into gear. All those scenarios have actually happened, Fennell noted.

It’s interesting when people are justifying that ‘I know my child, I know what’s best for my child, I’m the parent,’ but maybe they should sit on our website for an hour,” she said.

“They’re putting their own convenience ahead of the safety and well-being of the children and people don’t like to hear that. Those are tough words.”

Jail time is possibility

But Skenazy cautions against “worst first thinking,” or immediately coming up with the very worst-case scenario – heatstroke, kidnapping or carjacking -- and proceeding as if it’s likely to happen. Parents want to keep their kids safe more than anybody and if they decide it’s OK to leave a child in a car while running an errand that won’t take too long on a day that’s not too hot, the odds show they are right, she said.

Skenazy also has disdain for people who call the police right away when they see a child alone in a car, instead of waiting a few minutes to see if a parent will emerge.

“The idea that you should always get the authorities involved strikes me as less Good Samaritan and more KGB,” Skenazy said.

Back in Michigan, Moon wishes the person who called 911 realized the consequences to her family. Child Protective Services came to her home four times, though the agency found no reason to keep the case open, she said.

Still, she knows some people think she’s a terrible mother.

“It’s been very traumatic and stressful,” Moon said, adding that she will now have child abuse on her record. “We all think it’s just absurd… where is the common sense?”

Posted by Anonymous on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:53 AM
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Replies (1-10):
thenameshailie
by Ruby Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:56 AM

I dont think she should go to jail, I doubt she will be doing this again.

AlleyCat08
by Gold Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:56 AM

 It is NEVER EVER safe to leave a child that small in a car, especially if it is running. What if that baby had gotten out of her seat and put the car in reverse? A Ford Explorer is a good size SUV, and can do some damage. I am happy the mom paid fines. Should she be jailed, maybe 4 weekends, for a month. She turns herself in on Fri night, and is released on Sun night. 

L202M
by Silver Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM

I don't think she deserves to go to jail.  What she has been through already should be enough of a punishment and make sure she would never do that again.

Anonymous
by Anonymous on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM
I don't care if my kid wants to stay in the car. They will go in like I said so. If they wouldn't get out I would go home and put them in time out. Yes she should
PinkyPan
by Ruby Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM
2 moms liked this

I believe she should pay the fine, court costs and attend parenting classes. I do not think jail time is necessary. I find no fault in the individual who called the police. She knew she should have not left the child in the car and took the chance she would not get caught. 

owl0210
by Emerald Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM
2 moms liked this
Well it's obvious who rules the roost in that house. I think the fines are just.
Anonymous
by Anonymous - Original Poster on Jul. 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM


I agree, I would never ever leave my children alone in a car. BUT I'm hesitant. I just don't think that separating the mother and child would make matters any better.

Quoting Anonymous:

I don't care if my kid wants to stay in the car. They will go in like I said so. If they wouldn't get out I would go home and put them in time out. Yes she should



Anonymous
by Anonymous - Original Poster on Jul. 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM


Haha that was my first thought as well. I agree.

Quoting owl0210:

Well it's obvious who rules the roost in that house. I think the fines are just.



JDmommyJD
by ♥Awesome Sauce♥ on Jul. 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Exactly. She knew it was wetting, but the child"insisted". Ridiculous.

Quoting owl0210:

Well it's obvious who rules the roost in that house. I think the fines are just.
JulyBabies
by Gold Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Yes, I believe she needs to serve some time in jail. The kid is 4 yrs. old, at that age my kids were not allowed out of my sight let alone left in a car while I went shopping. 

And she is asking about common sense and thinks it's absurd? Doesn't sound like she "gets it" yet.

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