Let’s Get a Little Real Here

I’m going to make a confession. It may sound terrible. In the age of helicopter parenting, one might think I was an awful mother. Ok. Here goes. Sometimes I leave my kids in the car.

Now, wait. Before you judge me, know this-I only ever do it if I have to run in a small store or gas station for a single item or to pay for gas. I never leave them if it is even slightly warm out and never for more than five minutes.

I have three kids under four. If I had to take them into the store with me to buy a box of tampons or to pick up a prescription, I’d never go anywhere.

I’m not talking about doing the weekly shopping while my kids sit in the car. I’m talking about running in quickly, no more than five minutes. The car is locked, the keys are with me and let’s face it, my car is so ugly and mommish that no one would steal it. Their gaze just passes over my gross gold minivan in search of nicer, newer cars.

I do worry, however, about the “good Samaritan.” I worry about the person who thinks they are doing a good deed by reporting a mother with three young children who ran into CVS alone to purchase ibuprofen for the teething baby.

I worry about someone calling the police because I left my sleeping child in the car to go into the gas station to pay for gas because the pump’s card reader is down.

I worry because I know it happens. I worry because it happened to someone I know. Luckily, this mother, though berated by the “good Samaritan,” was not charged by the police. Luckily, though the officer said he had grounds to arrest her, he didn’t because he had a little common sense.

I don’t want people to stop being good Samaritans. If you see a kid in a hot car on a hot day, by all means, call the police, break a window, get that child out. Or that dog.

But use a little common sense. If the child is sleeping, if it’s cool outside, if the mother is gone for only minutes, do you really need to call the police and potentially harm an entire family?

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