The other day, I had to run into the library to pick up a reserved item. I had a choice: bring my kids in for the few seconds it would take to pick up my item or leave them, locked in the car for those same few seconds. If I took them with me, it would involve taking them out of their car seats, one at a time, making sure they held my hands as we walked through the busy parking lot, dodging drops of rain (did I mention it was downpouring at this point?) and then keeping them under wraps while I spoke to the librarian and then hustled them back out to reverse the process. Or, leave them in the car, together, locked up and safe. Mind you, it was NOT a hot day, I had parked close to the library (any closer, and I’d have driven into the front windows), and I knew my item was ready to go. I won’t tell you what I chose, so that you won’t judge. But it definitely brings up some interesting ideas and thoughts regarding this whole debate.
It’s constantly in the news, especially since it’s summer time and the weather has been HOT. Before it was kids, it was people leaving their dogs/other pets in cars, windows cracked. Now, it’s children. When it starts to make the news, it’s usually a terrible situation. I think within a week of one another, there were two sets of parents who left their kids in the car for an extended period of time, and it ended with death. Sometimes, the parent legit forgets: their kid is quiet, sleeping, and they go into work, on the train, etc, and truthfully forget. Other times, it’s because they are too busy to figure out what else to do. Regardless of the reason, it makes you wonder, what parent leaves their child in the car??
When I was little, my mom used to leave my sisters and I in the car together. I never remember it being super hot, and considering I can actually remember it happening, we weren’t particularly too young to care for ourselves somewhat. It was so she could run into the bank, dry cleaners, or drug store, quickly, uninhibited, and of course, without the constant request of something that was in our line of sight (“Mom, can I have…?”) I don’t fault her now and I am sure I didn’t then, because it meant we could get to our ultimate destination quicker. So why is it such a big deal now?
Maybe it’s because our media is at our fingertips, constantly updating us and reminding us of what is going on in the world. Maybe we are more aware of how things can affect children. Maybe we’re too busy with our social media, cell phones, computers, our own lives, and we are too egocentric to think about our children and what their needs are. I know I love my kids. I know that I would never do anything to endanger them in any way. I also know that I am a busy woman, and find it difficult to take care of the 80382 things I have to do in one day. So whether I choose to leave my kids in the car for those few seconds while I run into the dry cleaner (and can still see them from the window and know its NOT a hot day) or deal with the carseat/hand-holding/distractability that comes with every trip into every store, I suppose is ultimately my decision. Reckless endangerment? For a few seconds? You decide.