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Don't leave kids in car ... EVER

June 9, 2009 - Betsy Bethel
The woman in Moundsville who was charged with "child abuse creating the risk of injury" for leaving her 2-year-old son in the car while she shopped must have missed all the cautionary stories last summer.

The bottom line is this: Don't leave children unattended in the car ... EVER.

Yes, that means if you stop for gas and need to run into the store for a coffee fix, TAKE YOUR KID(S) IN.

It means, if you stop on the way home at Convenient for milk or cigs (sad but true), TAKE YOUR KID(S) IN.

It means, even if you are running late, dread getting the kid in and out of his/her car seat and think "Oh, he'll be OK for a minute," DON'T DO IT.

It means, even if your child is asleep and you don't want to wake her, DON'T LEAVE HER IN THE CAR.

Ask yourself this: How important is it, really, that I get this cup of coffee this minute? Can't you hit a drive-thru? I have always said drive-thrus — whether at the bank or the pharmacy or the restaurant — are a parent's saving grace. I believe, in a perfect world, EVERY business would have a drive-thru, and EVERY gas station would offer full service. But the reality is, as parents, we are obligated to go through the "hassle" of lugging kids around with us!

I have caught myself wanting to leave Emma in the car IN MY DRIVEWAY if I forgot something in the house. But I won't do it. It's not worth the risk.

The thing is, anything can happen. Our jobs as parents are to make sure our children are safe, first and foremost. That doesn't mean we need to be attached at the hip until they're 18, but it does mean that when they are very small, we make sure their environments are more apt to nurture life rather than invite death or injury.

Leaving a child in a car alone, or even with siblings or friends under a responsible age (I would say 12), is wrong on so many levels.

1. Cars can heat up to stifling temperatures. Children can — and do — die in these conditions.

2. Even if you plan to only be gone five minutes or less, something could happen that prevents you from getting back (a long checkout line, running into an old friend or an injury of some sort, for example).

3. Even if you keep the A/C on and lock the doors, someone can break in and kidnap your child and/or steal the car.

4. The child may figure out how to get out of his seat and start messing with the car controls — especially dangerous if you leave the car on.

5. Oh yeah, it's ILLEGAL.

You just can't win, folks. Take the kids with you, or just go home.

 
 

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