how do you feel about leaving kids in a car to run into a gas station?

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Maggie - posted on 02/01/2012

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I'm not saying it's crazy to not do it. I'm just saying the reason most people are using doesn't make sense. "anything can happen" applies whether the kid is in the car or in the gas station. If the gas station gets robbed your kid can either be in the car or in the gas station with a robber. If a kidnapper tries to take your child they can either try to break into your locked car or snatch the kid right out of your hand. You can leave the kid in a car seat where your car might get hit by another car or you can walk them across to the station where a car might hit them while pulling up to the pump. There is ALWAYS danger. "Anything can happen" is not a reason to do or not to something.

If someone had presented a logical argument for not leaving their kid in the car (my ex husband is trying to get custody and he'll do anything to take her, my car doesn't lock, my child can get out of her seat and knows how to start the car, I live in a neighborhood where there are gangs hanging out at the gas station) then I wouldn't have a problem. What most people are presenting is abstract and highly unlikely.

I'm not saying everyone should leave their kids in the car or not leave them in the car. I'm just saying those who do are not bad parents for calculating the risk and making a decision based on facts.

Brandee - posted on 06/23/2011

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Nope, I wouldn't do it. The only place I leave my son in the car is in our garage if I need to run back in the house to grab something. In a public place I wouldn't leave him in the car and be more than a few feet away. Someone would probably call the police if I went into a store. I know I would call 911 if I saw a child alone in the car with no adult visible.

Melanie - posted on 06/23/2011

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Brandee..just wondering...do you only have one kid? You may change your mind...I never left (or thought I would leave) my dtr in the vehicle but once you have more than one, everything changes. I think it's a bit extreme to call 911. I would at least wait a minute or two to see if the parent returns. I go to an ATM sometimes where I can park in front and can see my kids the whole time and I don't think it's being neglectful.

Sharame - posted on 12/27/2011

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I still disagree. For example today i had to pay the water bill.. They only take cash or check. No drop box, no drive through, no 1-800 number again very small town. We still read our own meters, before you pay. It was 20 degrees outside car was running with the 4 year old and 3 month old. I parked in front ran inside the police chief was there. We talked about random things, knowing full well that the kids were in the car he even waved at my son. There was no warning there was no you can't do that. In some places things like running into the store is still acceptable. Granted i wouldn't drive into the neighbor town and leave them in the car. But were i live i do. If the police chief does not care. I don't either.

Maggie - posted on 02/01/2012

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the "I could never leave my kids for a second" argument isn't reasonable. Sorry but I'm pretty sure most of you go to the bathroom by yourselves...and shower...and maybe cook dinner while the child is in another room. What if something happened?!?!?! Something could fall on them, they could fall off something, they could swallow something, some random stranger could break into your (locked) house and kidnap them, a car could come crashing through your wall at any moment!!! Let's all keep our kids directly next to us no matter what - forget the risk of spilling boiling water on them while cooking or tripping over them. Forget privacy of any kind in the bathroom. Until they are fully grown (I'd say 16 or so) let's hold our kids hands so nothing will ever happen to them. Unless you're holding their hand too tightly...

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Kyrie - posted on 08/31/2013

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I think it depends on how safe the area if, if the doors are locked, how long you will be gone, does the area have security cameras, and the temperature maintained inside the car. Some people like to add in the ages of the kids. I don't think that's an issue if you are going to be less than 5-15 minutes and made things as safe as possible.

Marissa - posted on 02/22/2013

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ok first of all i strongly feel it depends on a lot of things. and for the people that do leave their kids in the car are not bad parents or negelecting their kids so for the other who keep saying this need to stop judging. im sure if someone looked at everything your doing they could find some things wrong and call you a bad parent, i dont think its right to leave your child for a long period of time like the women at starbucks it probably would have taken a lot to not say something to her, but its not my place and its not anyone else's place to sit here and tell these women they are neglecting their kids, if they want to leave their kids in the car for a few seconds and run in to pay for gas than thats their business. i personally do not leave my kids in the car but i dont judge others for doing it unless they are really negelecting their child. everybody has their own ways of parenting. so dont judge unless your hands are clean.

Leanne - posted on 01/31/2013

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strongly disagree.I would never leave my child or anyones elses child in the car,unless they are over 11 years of age .Children don't understand the dangers of moving around or jumping inside of car , while you are gone.Even for a few seconds and anything can happen in this time ,always lock the car and take kids with you .I know sometimes it could be a hassle, but if something happened you would never forgive yourself .

Munique - posted on 02/12/2012

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It's all about common sense & situational safety. My (step) kids were bigger twins (between ages 5-11 & then they're little brother was 3 yrs younger), so sometimes they'd go in with me and I'd let them pick something out or go to the bathroom, especially if the gas station was busy, but I pd at the pump when I could, and if I had to go in, I moved my car up to the space next to the door and went inside as soon as the line was down to less than one or 2 people........also I had them get in the car & buckle up while I loaded groceries & took the cart right back..... better they be IN the car buckled than running across a crazy Walmart parking lot not payin attention to where they were going or other cars! I've also left them buckled in the car, radio on but my door open & e-brake on while I ran in the house to grab my bank card or cell phone, but even to pick one up from school, the other came in too. Pickin their dad up from work, sometimes they stayed in the car parked by the door next to his office, sometimes they came inside to go to the bathroom. But we worked for an amublance svc & there was more traffic & danger in letting them out than there was leaving them in there with a snack (again they were ages 5-11 at the time of any of this)..... I'm about to have a baby and YES she will probably stay in the car when I pump gas (again most places are pay at pump now) but to go in a store or something NO.

Sherri - posted on 02/12/2012

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@Daphne my kids are small and I have 3yr old twins, a 5yr old and a soon to be newborn. So I have a few options unbuckle them all (as yes everyone is still in a 5pt harness car seat), try and keep them safe to walk across the parking lot buy my milk, pay for gas etc. then make the treck back to the car buckle everyone back in again.



So this would take me a good 15mins or run in the store lock the doors and be gone less than 2mins.



Sorry but I opt for choice #2. #1 is not an option or even feasible to me. They are far safer in the car, then me with one available hand trying to navigate them all.

[deleted account]

Depends where you are... I've left my vehicle unlocked w/ the keys in it for 17 years w/out one single issue.... I take way better care of my kids than my vehicle. ;)

Daphne - posted on 02/12/2012

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Sherri i see what you mean if the other child(ren) are about 9 or old i then it would be ok but if they are under that age it would not be safe

Sherri - posted on 02/12/2012

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It is Daphne when you have more kids than hands especially when they are very small.

Daphne - posted on 02/12/2012

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my thing is how hard is it to take you kid(s) out of the car.if the child is over 10 it would be fine .you dont know now days with peoples.i would never leve my son in the car i know it can be hard to take them out and go pay but it only take 15 to 20 seconds to take the out it is not that hard.

[deleted account]

The law where I live is that a child under 9 can not be left unattended in the vehicle for more than 5 minutes, so... 4 minutes or less and it isn't against the law... HERE, at least. ;)

Sherri - posted on 02/09/2012

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I do it all the time with 4 kids in car seats it takes more time to buckle and unbuckle 3yr old twins, a 5yr old and a newborn then the 2mins I could possibly be gone if that.

Cynthia - posted on 02/09/2012

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i dont leave my kid in the car. i send him in to pay as i pump the gas

the baby in the car seat the whole time.

Chene - posted on 02/09/2012

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If they are I guess 8 or 9 I'd feel a little more comfortable w leaving them in the car, but never my three year old. You def can get into trouble w the law for leaving a young child unattended. There are many things that can happen... So until they are close to 10 yrs I'd say it's not ok!

Jaime - posted on 02/07/2012

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I really like the point of if it could happen or not. because that is not the issue here. When I was a child it 'seemed' far safer to be aloud to cross the street, now I wonder if there so much fear out there that having our kids in the back yard is too much for us to handle? The question really is, is it legal and appropriate to leave your child in the car to run into the gas station? How does society look on this? How many of us if we saw kids in the car would make a phone call to the police that could change the life of someone forever?

Sabrina - posted on 02/07/2012

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I know its so much easier to do then to drag a kid inside the store especially if they are like my daughter who makes every outing 10 times as long. I just don't think it should be done. I have heard way too many horror stories where kids get taken even in a minutes time so I just won't do it personally.

Wendy - posted on 02/03/2012

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I don't in public (sometimes in the driveway if she's sleeping so I can unload groceries, but I can still see her the whole time and the air/heat is still running). That being said, I have decided to not stop somewhere I planned to b/c I didn't want to wake her up. I think so much depends on where you live (small town vs city). I try to do drive-thru (pick up Rx, pay at the pump etc) as much as possible.

Jessica - posted on 02/01/2012

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When I had just one, he was sleeping, it was cool out and I could see the vehicle the entire time then yes.

Momof1 - posted on 02/01/2012

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There is a difference between leaving my child in a car out in public, then letting him play in his child safe bedroom while I am in the living room where I can hear him and he is never in there longer then a couple minutes at a time without me. Actually and unfortunately my son has to come to the bathroom with me every single time. :/ My son is hardly coddled and isn't kept in "bubble wrap." I didn't say in my post that I thought it was crazy or nuts for parents to leave their children in the car, I just stated my opinion on what I would do. However you (Maggie) are calling out the women who say they would never leave their children in the car alone and acting like we are crazy. Anything can happen anytime, anywhere, but if something happened that I could have prevented by simply bringing my child into the gas station I would not be able to live with myself. If/when I do shower while my son is awake (which is not often) he sits right outside the bathroom door playing with a toy. Luckily when I am cooking in my kitchen, I can see my dining room and living room, so that isn't an issue either. Not to mention I like to get the majority of my meal preparation done while he is napping, so I don't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen while he is awake.

Momof1 - posted on 02/01/2012

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I couldn't do it. My son is two and he is with me everywhere. There were only a couple times that when I had to return a movie to Redbox, I pulled up right in front of it and left him in so I could return the movie. (Note that you don't have to go into a store to return the movie, it is outside.) Yes it is annoying to get him in and out, especially if we are going to a lot of places but I could never leave him by himself. I also understand that it is slightly easier for me because I only have one child, but if/when I have another baby, I would still not leave them in the car.

Allison - posted on 01/31/2012

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I NEVER leave any of my kids in the car by themselves, ever. It doesn't matter if it will only be for two seconds, I still won't do it. The only way they get to stay in the car is if someone else like my husband is with me, because then one of us can stay in the car with them while the other runs in.

Barbara - posted on 01/31/2012

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I wouldn't leave mine in the car for a second.....I unfortunatley witneseds a horrible accident several years ago, where a mom left her 3 children in her car just to run into a small store for a second, no sooner did she step foot into the store, a large truck lost control and slammed into her parked car. So very sad. A freak accident, and one I will never forget. My kids are glued to me always.

Karen - posted on 01/30/2012

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I would love to sometimes because it would be MUCH easier!!! BUT all it takes is one person reporting you to the police and DHR getting involved and you could have your kids taken away from you because of neglect or endangerment. Believe me, I know. My husband is an attorney and I have seen kids taken away from people for things smaller than that. One Mom went inside to use the bathroom and left her kids in the front yard to play and a neighbor called DHR and her child (5) was taken away from her. PLUS, what if a nut talked the child into unlocking the door and stole your child? I don't trust anyone now a days. But a lot of us would probably love to leave them in the car to make a quick trip into the store.



Last summer I fussed at a Mom who left her newborn and her 2 year old inside a hot car (98 degrees outside in Alabama heat) to go into the post office. She had been in there for at least 10 minutes. I know because I was in there with my 2 kids (3&5). I asked who the kids belonged to and she said they were hers. Everyone looked at me like I should mind my business, but it was HOT outside and even hotter in that car. She got mad and went outside to bring her kids inside. I told her I know it's aggravating, but it's not worth them dying.



Sorry so long. Just my thoughts.

Karen - posted on 01/30/2012

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I would love to sometimes because it would be MUCH easier!!! BUT all it takes is one person reporting you to the police and DHR getting involved and you could have your kids taken away from you because of neglect or endangerment. Believe me, I know. My husband is an attorney and I have seen kids taken away from people for things smaller than that. One Mom went inside to use the bathroom and left her kids in the front yard to play and a neighbor called DHR and her child (5) was taken away from her. PLUS, what if a nut talked the child into unlocking the door and stole your child? I don't trust anyone now a days. But a lot of us would probably love to leave them in the car to make a quick trip into the store.



Last summer I fussed at a Mom who left her newborn and her 2 year old inside a hot car (98 degrees outside in Alabama heat) to go into the post office. She had been in there for at least 10 minutes. I know because I was in there with my 2 kids (3&5). I asked who the kids belonged to and she said they were hers. Everyone looked at me like I should mind my business, but it was HOT outside and even hotter in that car. She got mad and went outside to bring her kids inside. I told her I know it's aggravating, but it's not worth them dying.



Sorry so long. Just my thoughts.

Teresa - posted on 01/28/2012

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I leave my 2 children in the car as long as I can see the car the entire time and I do watch it the whole time I'm away from it.

Elizabeth - posted on 01/22/2012

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I have a 3,10, and 15 year old, the only time I leave the kids in the car is one when I'm only gonna be a short time and two if my 15 year old is with them! There is just too many creepers out there, and if its hot they all want to come in with me... so it really depends!!

Charmaine - posted on 01/19/2012

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Sorry Liana, my 3 year old touched the funny rating trying to get the iPad off me, lol! Don't know how to change it :)

Liana - posted on 01/19/2012

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petrol stations here are built with one huge window so i can see my car and my two children so yes i do leave them in the car alone just the time for me to run in and pay, but never taking my eyes of the car! it would be so much more dangers for me to take both them with me two boys aged 3 and 2,, plus i normaly fill up after i do my shopping so the kids are already cranky and to take them back out the car for 2mins is silly they would not be happy and would prob put up a bit of a fight! if you can see you car and children and it not hot outside then i dont see the problem its only for two mins,

Charmaine - posted on 01/17/2012

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Wow! Very interesting read! I live in Australia and it isn't against the law here to pay for gas, as long as children are in your sight. I dropped my child off at preschool and left other two in the car, in my sight signed book, kissed goodbye. The director sent a memo around to all the parents saying that children are not to be left in the car otherwise the staff at the childcare centre will report to DOCS (Dept. Of Chil Services) as they are mandatory reporters. Fair enough, I say. My husband rang up DOCS and asked them about it. They said the whole in your sight thing. So I have done it at time since for my own reasons which I deem worth it. I have also gone i to pay for petrol (gas) with them in the car, cuz i can see them the whole time. Every child and every situation is different. As a mum, you know which is a good time to leave them in the car and which times isn't. That said, a law is a law and therefore must be obeyed. I know that over here our child welfare services is way overworked and understaffed. I know for myself I would not ring them about something about this. I would ring police if I came across a child in a car and the parent didn't return shortly. If it isn't a matter of law, then it is a matter of parenting choice and, within reason, I think it is a bit harsh to call someone like me a neglectful parent.

Maggie - posted on 01/17/2012

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yes and as often as I've done it nothing has happened. So there you go. It's not as big a concern as it's made out to be

Erin - posted on 01/17/2012

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Umm, I don't understand what you are saying Maggie about the world I live in vs the "regular world". These things happen all over the world, our world. But most concerning is YOUR comment many posts ago that "I often leave the kids (5 and 3) in the car to run in and use the bathroom in the station......". That clearly means they are out of your sight!!!!! No misunderstanding that!!! Furthermore, you said yourself "Yes, it can" happen, your concern is "how often". Most of us don't want that small chance of it happening to be them or their children, so we take extra precautions, thats all.

Maggie - posted on 01/17/2012

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I'm so sick of hearing "the worst can happen in just a moment" Seriously? Yes, it can. But how often does it, really?

If you work in law enforcement of course you see the bad stuff all the time. In the regular world, though, those things don't happen that often. When they do it is certainly a tragedy and I can't imagine what I'd do if it was my kids that something happened to. However, I have chosen not to live my life fearing every little thing that MIGHT happen.



http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

Erin - posted on 01/17/2012

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Nikki, us law enforcement mothers thankyou for taking the extra time to be responsible and not take any chances with you childrens safety. It is very difficult to explain to people the unfortunate, unexplainable, things that we see and deal with every day. The bad dreams/nightmares some of us have after seeing children hurt/injured/killed from bad decisions made by others, is not anything I wish on anybody else.

Nikki - posted on 01/16/2012

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i live in a small town pretty much everyone knows everyone and i still dont leave my child in the car. It gets frustrating at times but better safe then sorry and now a days i hear and see on news a lot of stories about people stealing cars and kids in them. with a child all it takes is a few seconds and the worst can happen at any moment. i maybe a parinod mom and it takes patience where a 5minute trip turns into 10minutes but at least i know my kid is safe!!!

Beth - posted on 01/10/2012

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If it's truly only going to be a moment, it's daylight out and I can see the car from where I will be, then I do it. But, certainly not at night, on a hot day or if the car would be totally out of my sight.

Sharyn - posted on 01/10/2012

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i do it to, i have 4 kids with the oldest nearly 12 he usually sits in the drivers seat with the a/c going, i've never had to worry about him touching anything as he knows he'd be in big trouble.. i also live in a small town too. if i only have to opay for something or grab a few things he prefers to stay with the younger ones than it taking half hr to buy a couple of items. everyone is different on this opion and it also depends on where you live and how many kids you have, one is easy as. once you hit 2 it's a whole new ball game and just takes longer and longer the more kids you have and if you don't have a partner things are different again.

Joanne - posted on 01/10/2012

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Yes if it is for a minute or two and they are in sight at all times. Always lock the door. I would never leave them unattended if I cannot see them.

Luisa - posted on 01/10/2012

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If it is just for a few minutes, I you can see the car, I do not see a problem.

Jessica - posted on 01/09/2012

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I live in a small town, with a gas station about 2 blocks from my home. I always park at a pump with the vehicle visible from the counter if I have to leave my 3 yr old, and I know some of the attendants who also watch it while I grab drinks or other necessities out of window view. But I prefer to stop when I know there is little activity, lock the doors, and sometimes ask someone to run errands with me.

Maggie - posted on 01/07/2012

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it is ridiculous that people could get arrested for leaving kids in the car for a few minutes when they are in sight of the car the whole time. If you are concerned about the kids then wait a minute outside the car to see if someone is going to come back instead of calling the police. That's just unneccessary in most cases.
And again, if you are so worried about your child being injured then look at statistics of kids being hurt IN A CAR ACCIDENT. You're playing "Russian Roulette" every time you put them in the car. Kids are more likely to be hurt or killed in a car accident than being left in a car, be randomly kidnapped, or be stranded while the parent is in a "hostage situation".

Jessica - posted on 12/31/2011

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i have a 4 year old and a 2 year old, even if they are sleeping i wake them up. i could not ever live with my self if something accendently happened to my children, i would die knowing that i caused it and i could have prevented it. i didnt always have a debit card i just recently got it due to it is very very convinent since i do have small kids, and that it is a hassle to get the kids up every time i wanna go to the gas station. i live in an even smaller town then probly most of you and i wouldnt do it, whos to say that person walking down the street isnt a predator, or they wanna break into your car and take a chance at stealing something eletronic. i just dont risk it so i guess i just live on the very safe side.

Erin - posted on 12/30/2011

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Jessica, thank you....OMG....I began to really wonder if there were any parents out there not willing to play the odds or Russian Roulette with their kids..OMG... Apparently some did not understand what I was trying to explain earlier, or go read the link I attached. If you are standing at your car, not a problem, no big deal. If you don't have a card to pay at the pump, get a pre-paid card so you can; for the safety of your children.Yes, we can arrest you, and in some cases, we have and will !! Yes kids have died very recently from being left in cars....Google it!!! And yes hold ups happen in gas stations, they usually go hand in hand with a hostage situation, and yep it usually lasts several hours!!!! ("Smash and Grabs" is what its called when the business is closed, hense "smash" the glass (because the business is closed) "grab" the cash. Armed Robberies, hold ups, and hostage situations happen during business hours.....watch the news or again Google it!!!

Alex - posted on 12/30/2011

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I've done it but only if I can see the car the whole time plus it's at a gas-station I've been going to for about 13 years. BUT I was dropping my friend off at another gas station for work and my two year old daughter was sleeping in the back. I stepped out to have a cigarette with my friend. We were sitting right in front of the car. My husband was inside buying a drink and some lady came in screaming about "call the cops somebody just left their kid in their car!" my husband had to point out I was basically sitting on the hood of the car. So definately a lot of people out there that'll call 911 without even thinking to look around at the situation first.

Audrey - posted on 12/29/2011

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We live in a really small town of about 1000 people so yes i leave them in the car when i run in the gas staion or the post office. if im going to be gone more than a couple minutes though i always take them. i would never call the cops on someone for doing that unless it was real hot out and the car was shut off and windows all up.

Maggie - posted on 12/29/2011

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oh so THAT'S how kids die and get hurt! I was wondering. Seriously, when was the last time you heard about an actual case of a child getting hurt or dying from being left in a car? Now when was the last time you heard of or saw a child get hurt or die in a car accident?
You really think waking a child up for a two minute run into a gas station is better than leaving them asleep in the LOCKED car for two minutes? I guess I'll just have to agree to disagree. I did have the child, and then another one and soon to be a third. I guess I'll deal with "whatever happens" when I leave them in the car. Which for the past 5 years has been that they sleep peacefully while I take care of business.
Not everyone has a credit/debit card so not everyone can pay at the pump.

Jessica - posted on 12/28/2011

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i think it is horrible if you leave your kid in the car even for a moment if you are not there. this is how kids die, get hurt, or hurt others. i think it is irresponsible if you leave them in the car, you had the child deal with dragging them around if you have to go in somewhere, as far as gas stations, pay at the pump with your card if you have small children that is what i do.

Maggie - posted on 12/22/2011

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If a police officer was waiting at my car all he could do is "warn" me not to leave them in there as it is his/her opinion that it's not safe. I would thank them and go on about my business, as other people should also.
I've been in MANY gas stations, none of them have ever been robbed and if they had I doubt it would be hours of waiting in the station. Most gas station robberies are "smash and grab" - get the money and get out quick. Your theory made me laugh.
If you are so worried about your child being safe every minute perhaps you should avoid using a car at all. More kids are killed in car accidents than are randomly kidnapped or that die by being left in the car - probably combined. You can't control the behavior of the drivers around you so why take the chance?!

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