It Happened. Someone Reported Me for Leaving My Baby in the Car!

When my first daughter was a baby, we lived in a very small town. And it was long enough ago that we actually rented physical movies back then. (I know, crazy, right?) On my way into town one day, I had to take a movie back, so I pulled into the parking lot and realized that my daughter had already fallen asleep. I had a sleeping baby in the car!

Immediately, I was filled with panic. I could see the movie rental return slot from my car — it was literally steps away. So close I could practically slide the movie into the slot from my car. But there was a door in between us. I looked back at the baby, sleeping so peacefully, I looked back at the door, wondering if the $2 late fee would be worth it. Should I just wake her up? But really, wasn't that absurd when the slot was within reach? Why did motherhood turn me into a freak who spends ten minutes contemplating a decision that should have taken me seconds? 

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But that's what motherhood does. It makes some of us paranoid. And honestly, when it comes to kids in cars, I think it's for good reason. Too many children die in cars and the bigger deal we make of it, the more awareness is raised and (hopefully) the less it happens. 

Image via Flickr/ Michael Gil

Not too long ago, someone reported me for leaving my baby in a car alone. At first, I was very offended about it. Looking back, I guess I could see that really, it's better to be safe than sorry.

So let me tell you the story: 

Since that first dilemma when I was a new mom, I've been overly paranoid about leaving my kids or my baby in the car. But as an older mom with school pick-up, it's gotten even more complicated. At my kids' school, I have to physically walk in to get my kids and many times, I'd have a sleeping baby in the car. Not wanting to wake the baby, I teamed up with another mom who had young kids and we would take turns watching each other's little ones while the other went in the school to get kids. Cars were left locked and running. (You can do that with remote start. Yay minivan life!) The mom in charge was standing no more than an arm's reach away and watching any young children intently.

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While the moms knew the babies were safe and sound, to a passerby walking through the lot, it might not be clear that the baby had someone watching over — and that's exactly what happened. Someone reported that parents were leaving babies alone in the car during pick-up. Of course, I can't be 100% sure it was me that someone was referring to, but I was horrified nonetheless. Had I been endangering my baby? Was it wrong? Here I was trying to lean on that infamous “village” people talk about, but it felt like I was getting punished for it. 

But now, looking back, I can see that when it comes to making sure kids are safe in the car, it's always better to be safe than sorry. I'm glad that there are people who were willing to speak up when they thought a child was in danger. And, God forbid, if something like that ever happened in a parking lot, I would hope I would react the same way. If you see a child in a car, it's better to be safe than sorry. Seek help or call 911 immediately. Even a cold winter day can reach deadly temps in a car with a child, because their body temperatures raise more than an adult's. 

What would you do if you thought you saw a baby in the car, all alone?

What do you think?

It Happened. Someone Reported Me for Leaving My Baby in the Car!

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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