Is It Ever OK to Leave Your Kids in the Car?


Plus? It’s illegal. If you leave a child six years or younger in a car without another child 14 or older supervising, it is a misdemeanor. If there is an accident or some harm occurs, it’s a FELONY, punishable by 6 months to 2 years in jail. My police officer friend has said he would not hesitate to arrest me if he ever caught me doing this. He’s been to one too many calls where he found a child curled up in the passenger well of a car, trying to find the least hot place to die.

According to Mindy Roberts of, “0 seconds equal 0 consequences.” Leave your kid in the car for even half of a second while you run that quick errand, not only may end with horrible results, but will also lead to leaving your kids in the car again and again- for longer periods, says Mindy. After all, we do get into habits don’t we?

What do you think? Have you ever left your child unattended in the car? Is it ever okay? In the driveway? In front of the house to run back in to grab something? Tell us your thoughts!

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8 Responses to Is It Ever OK to Leave Your Kids in the Car?

  1. Sondra July 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    So, to clarify, it’s ok to leave my 7-year-old in the car? I’ve run into the gas station quickly to pre-pay for a tank of gas while my kids have remained in the car. I leave the front windows open all the way and make sure to park close enough so I can see the car at all times.

    My husband, who works all week and hardly spends alone time with the kids, has to remind himself that he’s not alone when he runs errands with the baby on the weekends.

    His biggest fear is forgetting the sleeping baby is even in the car when he gets to his destination. My biggest fear is accidentally locking the keys inside the car with the kids inside.

  2. CraezieLady July 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    I do leave them in the car to go pay for gas, but I will only do this at a station that’s set up where the pumps are VeryClose to the front door of the station and there are windows where I will be able to see them at all times.  Plus, it can’t be stiflingly hot outside.  (I won’t even bother filling up in that weather, anyway – who wants to be outside in 101 degrees?)  I won’t leave them in the car anywhere else or for any other reason, for any length of time.  By now I’m pretty accustomed to schlepping my four kids around on all kinds of errands (sometimes +1 or even 2 nieces and nephews), so the hassle of getting them in and out isn’t a deterrent for me.  My main beef with the gas station is the f’ing candy and sodas.  I’m not about to buy four+ treats at $2+ per kid for a half-tank pit stop.  

  3. Laurie July 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    My kids are now older teenagers/young adults, but I remember the hassle of waking them up to run in to get one item at 7-11 and wishing I had more hands or had planned a bit better.
    I thought it was brilliant when a local entrepreneur opened a “Moo Thru” two miles from our home. Like the concept of “Brew Thru” for beer at NC beaches, you could drive up and purchase milk, eggs and common, gotta-have-it items. The moms I knew loved it, but alas the concept didn’t draw enough business. I wish someone could make it work.

  4. Jessica July 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    I have never left my son alone in the car. Except for maybe if we’re parked, I put him in the car, and smoke a quick cigarette before getting into the car myself. If I have to get gas I bring my credit card so I can pay at the pump, if I have to go inside the store to grab milk my son just comes with me. You never know what could happen. Children can unbuckle themselves and touch things, it could get too hot in the car, someone could kidnap your child, someone could try stealing your car, etc.

  5. NoKidsInMyCar July 22, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    On a totally unrelated note, it looks like the pillow in the middle of your bed says “s+m”. So…you’re into the kinky stuff?


  6. Mindy July 22, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    An seller makes pillows with couple’s initials on them. Guy’s real name begins with “S.” Plus, we thought it was funny.

  7. DianaF July 22, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    I once saw 2 sleeping kids in carseats in a car parked in a mall parking structure. It wasn’t hot but I called security anyways. They could’ve been kidnapped.

  8. Cecilia @ Parenting Controversy July 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    When my daughter was a baby, I heard a news story describing how a mother had left the car running, parked in her driveway, with her baby in the car, while she ran inside to grab her phone. When she came out, her car (and baby) were gone. Thank goodness whoever took it left the car a few suburbs away with the baby still in it. But that was the defining moment when I decided I was NEVER going to leave my daughter in the car alone.

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