I just heard that a woman in my town parked her car in front of Starbucks, with her kids strapped into car seats, locked the doors and went in to grab a coffee. She was supposedly in and out in 2 minutes and could see the kids through the windows at all times, but someone called the police, and she was arrested for child endangerment. I have to say that I was a little bit surprised. I was surprised that someone would call the police over those 2 minutes she was gone, and I was also surprised she was arrested. I haven't, and don't think I ever would, run into Starbucks and leave the kids in the car, but I also wouldn't call the police on someone else who did do it, unless they were gone for 20 minutes or went into a bar or something crazy like that.
It has definitely made me reconsider some of the decisions I've made to leave or not leave Gabe and Josie in the car, and I even went so far as to call our State Police headquarters to ask them specifically what the laws are for unattended children in cars. In the interest of full disclosure, I have left Gabe strapped into the car in front of the dry cleaner during snow storms, with the doors locked, and the front of the dry cleaner is glass, and I am exactly 10 feet away from my door. It makes me a little nervous, but there is no way I can manage the dry cleaning and him and the snow at the same time (he's a sprinter) and he is certainly safer in the car than running through the parking lot without me. I have also left Josie in the car when I run up the stairs to pick up Gabe at his toddler program, but I'm thinking that I may not be doing it anymore. Not because I think anything would happen to her on our safe suburb street in broad daylight with all the other parents running in and out of their cars, but because now I'm nervous someone might call the cops on me!
What do you think? Would you get money out of the ATM? Mail a letter? What about putting your shopping cart away in the cart corral (apparently that is illegal in some states)? What about weather and time of day? Sleeping child? More than one child? Are we taking things too far?