Today I ran out to the store closest to my house to pick up one item. As typical, I unbuckled all my children, ages 9,6,3,2 and brought them into the store with me. I never think twice about it – everyone always goes in. We got our one item along with a snack I got talked into buying and went back to the van to get in.
Out of the corner of my eye, I look over to the car on the other side of my van and notice children in the back seat. An infant in a carseat and a toddler who was probably in the 2-3 year old range. The toddler appeared to be looking for his mom and I very concerned he would either try to climb out on his own, or that a stranger would notice the car running and try to take off with it.
I loaded my kids in and stood outside in between the cars and waited and watched. A few minutes later, the adult came came out and got in the car and drove off. In her hands was a 4 pack of Angel Soft toilet paper.
My heart stopped. She put her children at risk for toilet paper? I thought about saying something to her but I just couldn’t bring myself to at the time. It honestly just made me sad. I said a prayer for her sweet babies and for whatever she may be going through that required her to leave the kids in the car alone. Perhaps a kid had the stomach bug and she didn’t want them to puke in the store. Perhaps she is a single mom and just spent the last of her money getting toilet paper. I do not know her situation.
Do I think this is acceptable? Absolutely not. I was about to call the police when she came out.
This brings to me a question. At what age is it acceptable to leave my children in the car alone? And for how long? What would you say or do in this situation?