Not a Crime to Leave Kids in Car During Quick Store Runs

| by Science-Based Parenting

I stumbled across a forum thread that asked whether there were any other parents who felt comfortable leaving their kid in the car during a quick transaction at a convenience store. Even in scenarios when the business had a big window, parents said they would not run in for a second. Even parents with teens insisted that they would have kids old enough to babysit get out of the car, if only to protect them from imagined atrocities during those brief minutes that circumstances might separate them. Here are sampling of the answers…

I always think, what if something happened to me that I couldn’t get back out to the car? What if someone came in and held up the place and wouldn’t let anyone leave? I’ve probably watched too much TV, but my mind goes to these places and I just can’t do it. Maybe when they are older, but not at 6 and 3.

If someone held up the place, your kids would be safer in the car. It’s so odd that the first thing that enters someone’s mind is a hostage situation. What an imagination! Why is it that this person can’t shake the improbable fear of convenience store terrorism, but still feels safe driving her kids around on statistically unsafe roads.

No, never!  My DD is almost 9.  It’s not that I don’t think she’s old enough, smart enough or whatever, it’s that I don’t trust other people.

You don’t trust other people? Fine, lock your doors. It’s not like some pervert kidnapper is going to bash in your windows to snatch your children…

NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR PRECIOUS CHILDREN IN YOUR VEICLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!!!!! Just a quick trip into the gas station to pay could end up in tragedy!!!  Think about how you would feel if someone took one or all of your children. Just a quick brake of a window and they  are gone. Or if something happend to you or the veicle. When I see a child left in a veicle, I want to call the police for child neglect!!!

COME ON! Just a quick trip ANYWHERE doing ANYTHING could end up in tragedy.

I have 4 kids 12 5 3 and 1. No way no how.  One of the 4 of them would end up doing something horrible.

You feel like the two minutes you take to run in and pay for your dry cleaning will inspire “horrible” unimaginable acts? Wow.

There are just so many scary stories out there and as a mom, I have ONE chance to keep my child safe.  A screw up on my part just ONE time and the consequences could be catastrophic!!.

You also have one chance to teach them autonomy, self reliance, and personal responsibility. Hovering over your kids may help keep them safe, but it won’t help them adjust to life without a parent.

It only takes a blink of an eye for something to happen, the scenarios are endless    I like the other poster may have read to many horror stories or seen too many scenes such as this depicted on tv, but for me a moments inconvience is not worth a lifetime of regret.

This is a false dichotomy. Your  choice is not between slight inconvenience and horrible tragedy. The scenarios are endless for any moment, regardless of proximity to parent. You could have a gas leak in your pipes, your kid could fall down the stairs, a car could explode as you walk your ducklings to the gas station counter.

Call me paranoid I would rather be paranoid then have a child dead or seriously hurt because I was to lazy to take them in the store with me.

I just want to be clear. Your child is buckled up on a nice temperate day, not boiling hot or anything, the door is locked, and you are within eyesight. And yet, somehow they end up dead. Are you leaving sharp knives in the  car?

I could never forgive myself if anything ever happened to them and I know that no matter how safe you think it is it only takes a few seconds for something to go wrong. The car could roll back (this actually happened to me when I was six and it was really scary), something could happen to me and no one would know I had the kids in the car, someone could break into the car, another car could hit the car, someone could scare or threaten my children, the list goes on and on. Any of those things could happen in seconds or minutes. Just because you can see the car doesn’t make it safe

Your car could roll back any time if you are parked in neutral on a slope with the parking break off. Your problem wouldn’t be that you left the kids in the car. It would be that you forgot to put the parking break on. But, “another car could hit the car” is my favorite explanation so far. What are the chances! Too bad you weren’t there to transform into a protective elastic bubble like Mrs. Incredible.

I have NEVER EVER left my children in the car for a second.  You never ever ever know what could happen.  There are some freaks out there and your kids could be gone in the blink of an eye. I could never ever do it.

Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom at night. Will you start sleeping next to your kids at night now that I’ve reminded you of this? How can kids ever feel safe if they live in a world where their parents are constantly worried about freaks.

Before I had children I watched an episode of Oprah about tragedies that had happened due to children of all ages being left in cars. After watching it, I will never be able to leave my child unattended in a car.


Anyone who leaves a YOUNG child or in this day in age ANY child in a car is just NUTS- you don’t know what could happen in 3 minutes or LESS! Get over yourselves!  It could save YOUR child’s life!  No disrespect- YOU know who YOU are!


Wow, that is absolutely insane to think about! I just think some people out there truly believe that “there are worse things that could happen” or “bigger things to worry about”. No I don’t think so. I would say leaving your child alone in a car is something pretty serious.

The only reason that I fear leaving my kids in the car for a few minutes is that one of these freaky parents would call CPS or 911 to report me. Seriously, that’s the only thing that runs through my mind.

If you find yourself thinking like these parents, go visit Free Range Kids.