The topic of leaving kids in the car can spark some 'lively' discussion!
Fundamentally, it's all down to context - how old is the child, where is the car, is it hot outside, and is the area safe? Many of us will leave the kids in the car, locked, when we nip into the petrol station to pay for fuel as usually you can see onto the forecourt and it only takes 30 seconds, but there may be factors leading parents to feel uncomfortable with this. For instance; being very young, certain disabilities that may mean a child needs constant supervision, and the area being prone to crime.
It's a very common sense sort of decision that a parent will make based on the situation, but it is absolutely understandable for a parent to feel uncomfortable with the idea of leaving their child in the car, however briefly this may be for - and especially if their eyes cannot be on the car at all times.
One mum has taken to the Reddit AITA (Am I The Asshole) board to ask if she's in the wrong for refusing to negotiate with her husband over leaving her three year old in the car as he slept, so that her husband could grab a coffee.
Read the full post below...
"As the title says, my husband is angry because I got very upset about how he handled a situation with our toddler.
I came home from an appointment today and asked how things went while I was gone. My husband said that our 3 year old fell asleep in the car, and he ran into a coffee shop to grab a drink while our son slept in the car. When I asked him if he brought our toddler with him, he said no.
I told him that he cannot leave our child, unattended in a car. He said it was only for 90 seconds and the door was locked.
I told him there was no negotiating in this situation, and if he cannot take our son with him, I would prefer for him to not take him on the drive and to leave our son with me. I told him someone could steal the car with our toddler in the back, he can wake up scared, etc.
My husband has left the house angrily because he said I won't listen to his thoughts about why it's okay.
What was the general consensus?
The overal consensus amongst the readership was that the poster is NTA (not the asshole), with the majority of readers agreeing that it's not safe to leave a small child in the car under these circumstances. One of the top-rated comments said;
"You're NTA. Maybe he planned for it to be 90 seconds. What if something had happened? What if he had a medical problem while he was away from the car? What if the store had been held up? Where I live, unattended children left in cars have had tragic results. It takes very little time for the temperature in a locked car to rapidly rise.
Even if nothing like that happened, it takes less than 90 seconds to steal an unattended child from a car.
ETA: there are a few people inferring that I am saying it is preferable that he have the child with him if the store us being held up.
How anyone can make that nonsensical leap is beyond me. But rather than repeating myself in response to those who are saying that, here is my response to them:
No. The father should leave the child with his mother as opposed to leaving him unattended in a car, because numerous unforeseen things can happen to delay him. But even if nothing happens, his claimed "90 seconds" is too long to leave an unattended toddler in a car."
Like we said before, context is key, but in this situation, we'd agree that leaving a small child in a parked car when they cannot be watched the entire time (like you can in UK petrol station forecourts) is definitely risky, and we'd be unhappy with this too. We appreciate that daddy doesn't want to disturb his toddler from their nap, but a coffee from a coffee shop is a luxury, not a necessity, so he should rethink his routine if he wants to regularly swing by for his favourite drinks with his toddler in tow in future!
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