Never, Ever Leave Your Child In the Car — I Will Turn Your Butt In

Well I did it. I called 911 on a negligent parent.

I didn’t want to rat someone out, and turn someone in (I realize we are all doing the best we can), but I also didn’t want to leave a cute little toddler sitting alone in the back of her car.

On Monday afternoon after a fun-filled trip to Wal-Mart I headed to my van and started loading my boys inside. I noticed that the engine of the car next to me was running.

I peeked inside and thought I saw a baby alone strapped in her car seat in the back of the car. The back windows were tinted and I couldn’t see too clearly so I stopped another lady who was walking into the store and asked her what she thought.

Sure enough, she agreed with me. There was a baby girl about 18-months-old alone inside her car. The car was running and the driver’s side window was a quarter of the way cracked.

I didn’t know what to do so I called 911. They asked me to describe the vehicle, what was going on, where we were and then wait until a policeman arrived.

I was scared to death that a parent was going to show up and I was going to have to confront them alone.

Luckily a policeman arrived before a guardian. He asked me to stay until they found out who was responsible.

My boys, as you can guess, were thrilled. They were watching a police investigation evolved before their eyes. My coolness level skyrocketed as I became a witness to a crime.

A few minutes after the officer arrived, a young father came running through the parking lot to the car. To his defense, he looked like he was in a hurry. But by that time I had sat next to the car for about 10 minutes – way too long for a little girl to be stuck in there alone. And who knows how long she was in there before I showed up. My cell phone registered at 94 degrees. Who knows how hot it was in the car even though the air was on.

Now I will admit that I have THOUGHT about leaving my boys in the car alone dozens of times. It would be a LOT easier to run in for a roll of stamps or pick up a gallon of milk while childless. The very morning of this incident I hopped out of my own van, ran 20 feet and dumped our library books into the drop box while my boys sat watching me from inside the car. I didn’t bother letting them all out while I returned our lot.

They could see me and I could see them the entire time. But now I am wondering if I should have unhooked them and taken them with me.

Because, the thing is, you never know what will happen while you are “hurrying.”

The day I saw this little girl in the back of the car, all of the cash register computers kept going down inside Wal-Mart. Maybe this dad got stuck checking out longer than intended because his card wouldn’t read.

Meanwhile anyone could have reached their hand inside the driver’s window, unlocked the car and taken his baby. Heck, they could have taken the entire car. Who wouldn’t want a nice, new jet-black BMW?

Lucky for this father, no one took his daughter and she didn’t get too hot. Unlucky for him, he was cited for child negligence and given an appointment for a meeting with DCFS. I had to fill out a witness statement and, if it goes that far, could be subpoenaed to appear in court against him. Crazy.

I don’t know why he left his toddler daughter in the back seat of his car, or why he left the engine running and the driver’s side window a quarter of the way down, but I do know that I wasn’t going to let that little girl roast inside.

I may not know what his story is, but I do know that no matter how fast he thought he could make it through the Clinton Super Wal-mart it wouldn’t have been fast enough.

Here’s an article from WebMD on the dangers of leaving kids in cars if you are interested:

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle Smith
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 02:11:43

    Wow Natalie I am impressed. I’m glad you didn’t have to confront the father. Hope the little girl is okay.


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