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Monday, March 28, 2011

Abandoned child!

Friday while I was at the used tire place getting a tire put on my car (before I backed into the sign and scraped the paint off my car--see Friday's post), I had an interesting conversation with the owner of the store. I suppose he told me this story because I was there with my baby, and I reminded him of the woman in the story.



He said a few days prior, a young woman had come into the front counter to ask him a question about rates. She left her baby sleeping in the car seat in the car. I don't know if she left the car running or not, but the temperature here these days is a lovely 50 degrees. Not hot.

At any rate, he said another woman pulled up to the car, got out and stood outside smoking her cigarette. Then she came in and said, "Who's car is this?"

The young woman turned around and said, "Mine."

The smoking woman said, "I'm calling the police because you left your baby in the car. I'm an RN and am required by law to report this child as an abandoned child."

The young woman did precisely what I would have done: burst into tears. After listening to this RN chew her out (and the owner put in his two cents, telling her that there was no way that child had been abandoned), she promptly got in her car and left. So did the RN.

I have no idea what ended up happening, but I'm dying to know what you think.

I'll be the first to admit I do similar things. Just today, I parked at the Honda dealership, locked the car, and ran inside to grab my new jack and spare tire key that I ordered on Friday. It took all of two minutes. Perhaps I am wrong in my justification, but if I have to unbuckle all three kids and take them in, carry out my new jack with a baby carrier on one arm and a toddler dangling from my fingers while I yell at my 5yo to walk with me, just to buckle them all back in, I've taken a simple, 2-minute affair and turned it into a 10-minute nightmare.

I'd rather not, thank you.

But I will admit that I had one eye on the car to see if anyone was stopping to check out the interior.

Where do we draw the line? When is it okay, if ever? Can we rely on common sense? What are your thoughts?

23 comments:

lara said...

I have done this a million times. As long as it's not too hot or cold outside...I don't have a problem with it. The RN could of handled the situation completely differently. She could of gone inside and ask for the owner of the vehicle to come out and get their child from the car or else she would be forced to call the police. I think it's not always wise to leave the kids outside but sometimes it just happens.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Totally agree, Iara. That would have been the sensible thing to do.

Jamie - I'm a guy, btw said...

You would think that common sense would prevail but it doesn't. I would say that if you are a rational thinking person and you don't see a problem, most others won't either. The crazies just have to be dealt with case-by-case! :-)

Carrie said...

The thing that gets me about this story is that the RN was smoking. She's probably never been a parent and left her kids in the car for two seconds. I wonder if she did have kids and if she smokes with them in the car. That's illegal too.

banananutmeg said...

I think every situation is different. Ages of kids, temp outside, what town I am in, who's parked next to me, is the building one of those with a clear glass front and a checkout counter that is literally 20 feet from the car? I won't leave the kids in the car in any place where they are out of my sight, but I totally leave them in the car to drop something off at the door of a friend's house, and things like that.
I think that mother should have told the RN "Right back at ya, babe. The Arkansas Clean Air act made it illegal to smoke near any child young enough to be confined to a carseat. Get the crap away from my baby or you can have a fat fine, too, for smoking all over her." Grown adults love to tattle on one another. Sometimes, it is helpful...like the situation probably made the mother reconsider when it is a good idea to leave her kid in the car, and when it isn't. But most of the time, I think the world would be a better, happier place if people sought out opportunities to help each other out, rather than get one another in trouble. I saw a guy at church literally run across a room full of able bodied people to get the door for a woman with her hands full, yesterday. I wondered why the other 15 of us didn't think to open the door for her. I'm sure someone closer would have had another 20 seconds passed, but the point is that the guy was one step ahead of us all, because he was looking for the opportunity to serve and had charity on his mind, and the rest of us were distracted by whatever was keeping our own hands full at the moment.

David Powers King said...

Obviously, if it's not hot outside and the car is within viewing distance (and apparently earshot), there's really no need to go out of your way to freak out someone. I'm such a relaxed person that hearing stories like this makes my head shake.

Miss RN--smoking is bad for you!

Be sure to check out my giveaway. :)

Elisa said...

ditto on all the comments about common sense. If it isn't hot, you're not going far, and it won't take you long... I say leave the kids in the car. If I know it will only take me all of 1 minute to pick something up, then why would I turn a simple errand into a juggling session?

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

My sister almost got a ticket when she went to put the grocery cart away and left her two kids in the car. A policeman drove by at just that moment and scared her to death. That being said, I agree with you. If I have to deal with the 10-minute ordeal just to put away a grocery cart, it's getting ridiculous. At that point, my life becomes a hostage of the circumstances.

Aaron and Emily said...

I can't tell you how much I hate returning movies to redbox, because our machines are INSIDE the grocery store.

Jen Daiker said...

I'm with Carrie. The first thing I noticed was the RN smoking. She had the audacity to complain about a mom who was just trying to take care of something quickly. I know there are lines that shouldn't be crossed and the nurse and the lady should have been one of them. The RN shouldn't have mentioned a thing.

I guess for me I would like to say I'd take them inside but like you said, THREE kids, that's a lot of work for 2 minutes.

Go with your gut.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

@Carrie and Meg--now that I didn't know! so seriously? she was doing something illegal??? no way! :::shakes head::: some people!

@David--I'll check out your blog!

@Elisa--exactly!

@Kayeleen--no way! now that's scary!

@Emily--oh girl. not fun.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

LOL, Jen. Don't worry. your day is coming. ;)

Jolene Perry said...

Someone who would call in a person for leaving their kids for two minutes - didn't have kids or is a way better mom than me ;)

If I can see the car, it's fair game. If I can't, I let the 8 year old stay, but not the younger one.

I think some people just like drama.

Ann Best said...

I love the long comment above about the RN smoking.

Common sense is the rule, I think. But today I would feel a bit nervous, since there ARE crazies out there, more than there used to be. Oh, I feel for you, Tamara, will all those kids to maneuver. I never had to deal with this. When mine were little, I had a husband who stayed with them while I shopped. And he did the car. (He didn't have to go to war.)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I'm so glad most of you agree w/ me! I was afraid someone would feel the moral obligation to call the police on me!

@Jolene--I remember begging my mom if I could stay in the car!

@Ann--ha ha, yeah, I can't wait until I can grocery shopping w/out all three kids!

Ralene said...

You know, sometimes I get really frustrated with the freedom the government has to put restrictions on certain aspects of our lives--like this. I reailze that there are people out there without the sense God gave a goose, but I'm not one of them! Why am I being tortured by fear/guilt for leaving my kids in the car while I run inside to pay my phone bill when the car is in view on a cool day? Puh-lease!

Definitely an example of how the ignorant few can ruin it for the many.

JEFritz said...

I think the RN was trying to scare the young woman to make a point about responsibility, and that's just using the law to bully people. Like others have said, common sense! The woman was nearby and able to see the baby. Had she been gone longer or the weather different, THEN it would have been an issue.

Rebecca said...

Missouri has the same laws, so I rarely leave them in the car where someone else can see. WIth our law here, it doesn't matter how far away (or close) we are. Now my van has tinted windows, so when we go get pizza I can pull right up to the store, lock them in, and watch the van through the store glass.

I'm kind of paranoid about someone reporting me for anything, but I do put away the cart after they're in the car. I don't leave the keys in the car with them, though, so there's never a chance of someone hijacking them. It's awful what we have to worry about these days!

Cheree said...

This seems reasonable. If she was just standing inside where she could still see the child and it wasn't a blistering hot day, then that's not that bad. It would be another matter if she went and did her grocery shopping and left the child in a busy supermarket parking lot.

Ann Stewart said...

I will admit I would never leave my son in the car when I'm not in it, but I have one child to take in and out and I'm a bit on the overprotective side. The RN was out of line, had a bad day, and needed someone to take it out on. At any rate, my husband the police officer, said that b/c they both left there wasn't any evidence and unless the store owner wanted to back the RN up, no case.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

@Rebecca-- that's exactly what Ii do!

@Ann--really? that's interesting to know!

Nisa said...

We our an overprotective society I think. 9 times out of 10, nothing happens, but because of that 1 time, we overreact, freak out... Whatever you want to call it.

I remember being horrified at my mom telling us that when we were little she'd put us down for naps and then run and do her errands. There were never ANY incidents. We are all healthy and certainly not scarred because of it. Now I've learned to be a lot more moderate in my thinking.

We all just worry to much and want to control everything I think. I don't see a problem with leaving kids in the car while you run into a store as long as they know not to go anywhere near the steering wheel! ;)

Part of it is knowing your kids. My youngest would be out of the seat belt and wandering around the car in a heartbeat where my older what sit quietly and obey the rules.

Sorry. That was a long ramble.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

wow, how often I've wished I could run errands during naptime!

thanks for sharing, Nisa!

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