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Is It OK To Leave Your Child in The Car For 5 Minutes? [Poll]

Kids and Pets in the car. Image: Jackie/

A few weekends ago I was reading one of mommy magazines on our way back from a family vacation. As I was reading I was feeling like a slight failure. All of the articles were about, “Amazing Mommy Projects”, that I would never attempt. Then I came across an article that would change my everyday life. This is an article I think about at least once a day and when I think about it my heart feels like it stops beating.

It was an article about how many kids die every year because they are left in a car. You may think the only reason a child would die in a car is because an irresponsible drug addict left their child in a car, but the truth is, it happens to parents who think they are doing everything right.

The story I read was about a mother who had switched her regular routine for one day. Instead of her husband dropping their baby off at day care that morning, she was going to drop her child off. After her 45 min commute to work, her child had fallen asleep in it’s car seat and she had forgotten her child was in the backseat. She never stopped at her daughters daycare. She never glanced in the backseat. The baby fell asleep as soon as she pulled out of her driveway at home and stayed asleep. When the mother arrived at work she grabbed her lunch and her purse out of the passenger seat and headed to her office’s front door…just as she had done for the last 9 years. When she returned to the car that afternoon (8 hours later), she found her baby dead in the back seat.

I prayed about this story. I talked to friends about this story. Then I read another article about a 4 year old who was left in the car for 12 minutes while his mother bought head phones. The child was fine but, she was turned in by another mother who witnessed her leaving her child in the car. This mother almost lost her son even though she is an extremely good parent, community member and contributor to our society, Some parents think it is perfectly fine to leave your kids in the car, while you run into the store really fast. Other parents think leaving your child in the car, even for five minutes, is child abuse.

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