I have noticed a few posts recently on various groups on facebook regarding leaving kids in the car when nipping in to a shop or on the garage forecourt when you go to pay for petrol. It seems to be sparking the same animosity as the breastfeeding/bottle feeding argument. The fact that parents have gone into these groups on facebook to ask advice on the situation suggests they do not want any harm coming to their children nor do they want to unnecessarily disturb a sleeping baby when they can see the car clearly from where they are nipping. Yet, instead of the advice they went for, they get embroiled with abuse from both sides of the argument.
D asked me about a month ago if it was OK to leave Lucas in the car if he was asleep when he nipped into the shop. The shop he was talking about is a small shop where you can see the car clearly when inside, it is in an area we know very well and know the majority of people around. I told him I didn’t have an issue with it but said it is highly likely that other people would frown upon it.
Whether Lucas is asleep or not, I take him with me if I have a few items to get or if I can’t see the car from where I am going. I always use the pay at pump facility at the petrol station. However, if I am literally running in the shop for a bottle of milk where I can see the car, know the area and Lucas is asleep, I don’t see the point of disturbing him. If it was a particularly hot or cold day I wouldn’t leave him in the car but for an average temperature for a couple of minutes if I know he isn’t likely to wake up, I would rather let him get his sleep.
It did make me wonder what the law is though…
According to GOV.UK “The law doesn’t say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.” “Use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them alone, eg at home or in a car.”
They also state that the NSPCC say “children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time”, “children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight”, “babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone”. I went onto the NSPCC website and those guidelines are for leaving a child at home and I am struggling to find anything specifically for leaving a child in the car x
The above quotes where stated on GOV.UK on the 19/09/2015, last updated on 02/09/2015.