Barista Kids Poll: Do You Leave Your Child Alone in The Car?

BY  |  Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (8)

New York State Senate passed a bill last month making it illegal to leave a child, under the age of eight, alone in the car. The bill also states a child younger than eight cannot be left alone or with anyone under the age of 12.

This means, that even though a NY parent may be parked right in front of the dry cleaner, they could be fined for leaving their 7 year old alone in the car while they run in to pick up shirts. According to The Queens Chronicle: “Those found guilty of an infraction would be fined no more than $50 for the first violation, no more than $100 for a second infraction within 18 months of the first, and no more than $250 for a third, but at that point it would be a misdemeanor and the person would have to appear in court.”

Some are criticizing the law, saying that it is overprotective and believe it would be difficult for a police officer to tell if a kid was in fact, younger than 8. However, supporters say that children left in cars have died because of overheating. Data from the journal Pediatrics shows that between 1998 and 2004, 230 children in the United States died of hyperthermia (overheating) while waiting in parked cars.  In 2005, there were 19 deaths by mid-summer for the same reason and simply cracking the windows has little effect on the interior temperature.

According to my police officer friend, New Jersey does not have a law like this, but does have the ” endangering the welfare of a minor” statute, which encompasses almost any circumstance involving improper caretaking of children.

What do you think? Do you agree that a child should never be left alone in the car, under any circumstances? Or do you think it’s totally fine to leave your sleeping child in the car for 5 minutes while you pick up his sister a the school door?

(Photo: Flickr)


  1. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  March 29, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    There are two kinds of parents in the world. Those that have left a sleeping toddler to finish his/her nap in the car seat, on a cool day, in the driveway with the windows open, in the shade. And Damn dirty liars.

  2. POSTED BY ali9ia  |  March 29, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

    LOL – thank you, ROC!

  3. POSTED BY Holly Korus  |  March 29, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

    Does this law apply to private property?

  4. POSTED BY walleroo  |  March 29, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

    Omigod, a pic that isn’t one of the Baristas’ kids? Call the media!

  5. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  March 30, 2012 @ 8:16 am

    In Montclair you get fined for leaving your dog in the car. I don’t have kids – but I’ve seen enough stiff as a board “you won’t get me into that car seat” tantrums to know that once a kid is in that seat and asleep, you don’t want to go through that again if you don’t have to.

  6. POSTED BY pac2  |  March 30, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

    And then there’s a third kind, ROC — the ones who actually have never left a young child alone in a car. Silly people, huh? I’m one of these fools (or liars?), who has never left any of my three children when they were young alone in a car. Ever. Perhaps it’s because I was raised in NYC (although not sure how that might influence that), or because I’ve worked in law enforcement. Or perhaps it’s just because I consider it dangerous to do so.

    On the other hand, I have sat in my driveway in the car while a sleeping infant slept in the back. Boring. And confining. But boy did I want that child to sleep. And there was no way I was going to leave my child alone in the car. I made phone calls.

  7. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  March 30, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

    I’m with you pac2. Never, not one minute. The way I figure it, parenting is a pain in the butt and lugging your kid around is par for the course.

  8. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  April 01, 2012 @ 12:54 am

    Hopefully humorlessness isn’t genetic.

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