March 26, 2011

Question For Parents

Would you leave your 2 & 5-year-old in a car alone while you were watching a T-Ball game?

I went to watch Damien's first T-ball practice/game (he's 3) and it was really cold out.  He told his mom and dad that it was too cold, so we decided to leave.  When I was walking to my car, I noticed that a kid who couldn't be more than 2 and another who couldn't be over 5 were sitting a car all by themselves.  I sat there contemplating what to do.  I'm not a parent but I cannot see myself leaving a child alone in a car like that, even if my third child was in the middle of a game.  I am not a parent but I can't see myself leaving a 5-year-old to take care of a 2-year-old.  Is this OK? 

I sat for a long time trying to decide what I should do.  Doing nothing wasn't an option.  In the end, I sat there until both parents got to their car and I got out and said "you shouldn't leave your kids alone like that".  The woman said "these are my kids and I was right over there." My question is, if you were right there and could actually see them, why didn't you come over when the five-year-old got in the front seat and set off the alarm.  I didn't say that but I should have.  Then the dad starts yelling at me how she's a mother of three.  I'm like, OK, well then you should know better.  Right then, I knew I should have called the police.  I don't like to start things but I am not the type of person who can just walk away and hope for the best.  So I tell them that next time I will call the police.  The guy starts yelling at me to call his brother/brother-in-law (I don't remember which it was).  There were a lot of people around and I hope that I embarrassed them enough not to leave their children unattended like that.  All I kept thinking was, these kids could be on the 6:00 news as kidnapped.  I just don't understand some people. 

Did I over-react?  Or should I have called the police?

Well, I'm sure I will see them again the next time my nephew plays T-Ball.  That should be interesting. 


  1. You completely overreacted. And if it had been me, and you had called the police on me, there would have been strong repercussions. I'm sure the mother knows her children and what they're capable of. Putting them in the car when it was "really cold out" was likely a protective measure. I'm sure she locked the doors and was checking on them.

    If it was 103 outside and the windows were rolled up, that would be a different matter.

    You probably shouldn't try to parent other people's children until you have some of your own.

  2. Thank you for your comment. I was there for 20 minutes and never once saw anyone check on the kids. Also I found a few important laws:

    A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes, knowing that the child is: (1)younger than seven years of age; and (2)not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older. (b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor. Added by Acts 1984, 68th Leg., 2nd C.S., ch. 24, § 1, eff. Oct. 2, 1984. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994. Read more:

    As of now twelve states have laws that specifically prohibit parents or guardians from leaving children alone in cars. Some of the states make it a traffic violation that includes a ticket or fine and other states make the offense a misdemeanor with a possible prison sentence. All states have laws that allow authorities to charge parents with child neglect and endangerment if a child dies because he/she was left unattended in a car. - read more

    Here is an article about a woman who was arrested for leaving her kids in an unattended vehicle while running into the store -

  3. As a Mom of 2, I would also have been concerned about the safety of the kids and looked for their parents. If I could not confirm that someone was actually watching them, I would not have been able to just walk away. Beyond that I don't know what my reactions would have been without having been in your shoes. I am glad to hear in the end the kids are ok. It's just unfortunate things escalated to yelling and a confrontation.

    Personally, I feel kids that age should NEVER be out of a parents line of vision. Not only is there a risk of someone abducting them but there is always a risk of personal injury. How many times have you heard of children playing in cars, accidentally shifting them out of gear and rolled over a sibling. It's sad when you hear a parent say "I only took my eyes off them for a second"? That's all it takes.

    In the end, for me what it amounts to is that I have to live with myself and my actions. I would always rather err on the side of caution to ensure a child's safety than to walk away and possibly find out later I could have done something to prevent an injury or tragedy and didn't.

  4. You absolutely did the right thing and bless you for waiting to make sure those kids were going to be okay and then speaking up. You're correct about laws regarding leaving kids in vehicles,locked or not, and regardless of the weather. Common sense should tell a parent that it is not okay to leave these kids there alone. Certainly one of the parents could have taken the smaller kids to get warm in the car while the other one watched the older one at practice. I hope "Anonymous" will rethink her/his opinion on this. (I'm the mom of two, step-mom of two, and grandma of 5.)

  5. I would have done what you did. I would be more concerned for the safety of the children. I do not have any children but I am the oldest of 7 siblings and the aunt of 14. I tend to young nephews (2,4 and 6) quite a bit. I have sat in the car with children of that age I have not left them a lone.

  6. I would've done what you did, too. It's always easy to just walk by--after all, those are OTHER people's kids. But kids are the least amongst us able to protect themselves, so kudos for speaking up. The yelling happened because those parents KNEW better, but couldn't justify their decision. As with anonymous. Oh well...

  7. Thank you all so much for your comments. I really appreciate them all. I was so upset after I left the field that I cried all the way home. I just don't see how a parent can do a thing like that. And I kept thinking, what if someone had said something or called the police when kids were in cars and suffocated to death? I'm not a confrontational person and I definitely don't want to undermine a parent but at the same time it is a parents job to make sure that their kids are safe. I've watched my nephew and my friends kids and I couldn't imagine being responsible for a life and not doing everything in my power to keep them safe. Things happen everyday, even when parents are watching their kids. I'm really glad I did say something. I wasn't yelling or anything, I just wanted them to know that they shouldn't do that. Anyway, this has been bugging me all day and it's nice to know that you all would do the same thing. So, a very big thank you!

  8. You did the right thing! Last I checked it's against the law in many states to leave your child in the car, there is always horror stories about kids getting abducted and in hot weather dying from the heat. If I was in your position I would have done the same thing but if it was hot outside and I didn't see the parents anywhere in site I would have called the cops right away. Luckily it was cold. The only reason the parents got defensive is because they know what they did was wrong *lets hope*.

  9. I say you did the right thing. I don't have kids but I have watched my nephews at that age and they really need someone to be watching them at all times. A parent should have been checking on the children or in the car with the children.