Ask the Moms: Do you leave your kids in the car?

Let me re-phrase the question. If you’re running into the store ‘real quick,’ do you leave your kids in the car? If you’re just running up to the door of a friends house, do you leave your child in the car? What about if you pull up to a 7-11, the baby is sleeping or the kids are behaving well, do you run inside real quick and just keep the car locked?

I want to know. 
Do you feel like it’s safe to leave your kids in the car for any amount of time at all? Or do you always, even if it’s only to the mailbox, take your kids out with you? 
Do you have a rule of thumb that you go by when deciding this? What about if your kids are sleeping? Do you wake them up, or leave them be? What about if your in your driveway, about ready to back out, but then you remembered you forgot something inside the house?
Tell me your thoughts. I mean, please. 

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

25 thoughts on “Ask the Moms: Do you leave your kids in the car?

  1. I had to deliver some things to a few neighbors and I pulled the car into their driveway, got out of my car leaving my sleeping baby in the car, and walked up to their door to deliver the items and never went into their house. I was literally less than 20 feet away from my son and he was always in eye sight. I feel that this was no threat to him at all. I am a bit on the over-protective side of parenting so I was too worried to let him out of my sight.

    I have been tempted to leave my son in the car while in the driveway when I was about to leave somewhere, (he was already strapped in his car seat) and I forgot something in the house, but I worry WAY too much and didn't dare. So, I unbuckle him and haul him (he's a heavy kid) into the house to get what I need. It is a hassle and takes longer, but I am a mother. Mother's are frequently inconvenienced for the safety and well-being of their children. It's our job. (And I try not to look at it too much as an inconvenience. The rewards far out-weigh any inconvenience.)

  2. We live in a very rural part of Co. and yes, my child does stay in her car seat when I have to run back into the house. She also has stayed in her seat while we do chores feeding animals around the ranch. I don't leave her in the car when we go to town.

  3. I've done it, but since hearing about the child taken in Alberta while the parent left them in the car for 'just a minute' I've had second thoughts. My son griped a little when I just ran into the bank to use the ATM and brought him in with me (I used to park right beside where there's a big window and alarm lock it), but I don't dare anymore. He's too precious. Yes, It's a little annoying as I've had to forgo some errands as he's fallen asleep. But errands can always be done later.

  4. I never, ever, ever leave her in the car when I'm “just running into the store”. When I'm getting gas, I almost always pay at the pump, so that's not a problem.

    As for leaving her in my own driveway, that happens a lot. Sometimes it takes two trips just to load all my gear up, so it's inevitable. We are extremely rural though, we could go for hours without a car driving by our house, so I have a certain sense of security with that.

    Same for running to the door to pick something up a friends house. If she's sleeping and I'm just going to the door, I don't sweat it.

    This is really interesting, can't wait to hear more responses.

  5. i have four kiddos. i have left them in the car. LOCKED always. if i have to run in the gas station. never to go into a store. but usually a gas station. or if i have to run in and drop something off at the post office. or what i do is leave the car running and pull the key fab off and lock the car. but the car is always locked. for me it's easier to just run in the gas station and grab a soda and juice for the kiddos by myself instead of hauling them all in. i will always haul them all in at the store. i also leave them in the garage sometimes if they are sleeping. caitlyn and dustin will always go back to sleep. amelya is usually always up and breigh is hit or miss. so i leave them sleep!! what a great question! and i realized i never emailed you answers to the interview. i'm off to do that now! sorry!!

  6. Hello to you my neighbor Oregonian. How are you?
    Thank you for visiting and keeping in touch. I am a follower of yours, love your blog. do you follow on twitter also? I forgot to look into that before I started to type. I am @whenwelisten

    I hope you have a great day. Keep in touch.


  7. For me, it depends on the situation. I never leave my (3) kids in the car to go into a store, the bank, or any other public building. I do leave them in the van while I run into the house for something I've forgotten, or to run up to someone's porch while I pick up or drop something off.

  8. Oh my word…never, never, never! They are much to precious and I know millions of crazies would want them for their own!

  9. I don't leave her alone in the car for any amount of time. She locked me outside once when she was two. I went to get the mail and I ended up having to raise my garage door enough to roll under and kicking in the garage-playroom door. There she stood, phone in hand, not really sure what to do with it! (Taught her to speed-dial grandparents and 911 after that!)

  10. I've left Kaius in the car when I had to run in the house to get something and we were about to leave. I was nervous the whole time though, so I haven't done it since. Normally, I just throw him in the sling if it's a quick trip into a store…

  11. I struggled with this issue a LOT when I still had two under 2 y/o, with the oldest not ready to follow direction. If my husband wasn't home, I'd attempt to carry them both or make two lightening fast trips to get them both in and out of the car. My heart would pound the whole time one was unattended. Now the oldest is listening/holding hands pretty well, so we all go together. I left them in my locked car to pick up some prepaid photos once. Pulling them both out of their car seats and transferring to double stroller is a huge hassle, but I usually do it anyway, even for quick errands. I occasionally have to pick up a document at my office and will just call someone from the parking lot to bring it out to me. I use drive thrus. I delegate errands when I can. I look forward to when they both walk beside me reliably. In the meantime, it's a workout!

  12. I would never leave my kids in the car to go in a store. Never. If I leave them in the car it is when they are parked in the garage and the garage is shut. I have left them sleeping a few times with the car door open and our house door open.

  13. NEVER!!! Out and about, NEVER! In front of my house as I run in to get my glasses – the car off and locked with the alarm on – yes. “Count to 10!” and I'm back within 5 seconds…I'm quick 😉 But never at a store…are people nuts?! I've only started doing this too with them older. When they were babies I'd just take them back out of the car…or just leave the glasses in the house…


  14. I don't as a rule leave my kids in the car when I go into a store. I love pay-at-the-pump for this very reason.
    I read this article and never looked at it the same way again. I do run into the house to get something I forgot but only if my 5 year old is with the 2 year old and the car is off.

  15. If I leave something in the house, or if I go to the gas station and have to prepay for gas, sure. I lock the doors so no one can take her, and she is never really out of my sight.

    I wouldn't leave her if I went into the store though. That's just wrong.

  16. Great responses. I'm with most of you- I would NEVER leave my baby ( I don't care what age) in the car alone if I went into a store or something. NEVER EVER. There have been a couple times when I've been about ready to leave but I have to run back in and grab something, so I'll leave him in the car, in the driveway, for 10 seconds, but it scares the crap out of me. I think I'm going to stop doing it.. and just make sure I have everything with me beforehand! 🙂


  17. I had 3 children under age 3 at one time so definitely just to run back in the house to grab something I would leave them in the car! Unloading one child is not that big of deal but unloading 3 for just a second is a different story!

  18. I will never forget the time I had a friend who had a small baby(less than a month) come to visit. My friend who lived in the same building as us was at my apartment and the three of us were chatting for a while, maybe 15 minutes. My friend says “whose watching the baby, daddy or grandma” and the other friend says, oh she's in the car sleeping”. Both of us were completely shocked and we weren't sure if she was kidding but she was completely serious. “Oh she'll be fine, she was asleep” but my friend was up and down those steps to the parking lot(from my 4th floor apt) to get that baby before you could blink…and she came back with her, asleep in her carseat. The other woman was so breezy about the whole thing and we were both completely shocked. She just laughed at us.

    I have a great deal of common sense. I choose my situations wisely and I make choices that I know are pretty safe…for example it's safer to leave them in the car sometimes than to take them with you, particularly if you have a running toddler and are unloading groceries etc. and the carseat is safer than your house or front lawn/driveway.

    There are extremes at both ends and I think I fall in the cautious but realistic end. I don't walk around in fear but I also am not careless with my children.


  19. Never. One of my mom's friends left her kids in a locked car for just a minute. She came back to no car and no kids. Luckily, the carjacker left the toddler on the side of the highway standing next to the baby in it's car seat. The kids were found unharmed.

  20. Having 2 under the age of 2, I have to leave them in the car-sometimes! I put one in their car seat, then go back in the house for the other. No real way around it. Living in Arizona I have never left them in the car when I go in somewhere- it's too hot!

  21. I have but only for really quick things… like returning a movie or dropping something off at a friend's but always with the car running, AC on and the door locked.

    I saw that Oprah with the the school principal who forgot her daughter was in the backseat (she fell asleep on the way to work) and her daughter died from the heat in the car all day long. It was so sad.

  22. I would never leave my kids in the car if I couldn't see the car. We have a garage and if they are sleeping (the garage door is always closed if we are home) then I will leave them there while I unload the groceries. The only time I have ever, or will ever leave them in the car is when we go and pick up food at the local chinese restaurant. It's one of those strip mall type things where you can pull up right in front of the store (all glass front), walk in, pay and turn around with your food in under a minute. The car door is locked and I never lose sight of the car for a second. Obviously that is in the cooler months. If it were hot outside, I'd bring the 2 under 2 in with me…

  23. This is a great question. My children are older (7 and 5) and the only time they stay in the car is if I can see them from my destination. So, if I'm running up to someone's front door to drop something off – then yes, they can stay in the car. If I can't see them, they still come in with me.

  24. I just left my 11 yo {almost 12) in the car alone today and felt o.k. about it. Actually, he was pretty excited, but this was at a rural market and I just went in for some milk. (I live in a detroit suburb :0(
    You always need to be aware your surroundings. A 7-11? No Way!!! I have two other children, and they will not be left in the car anytime soon. At 12 I think it's the perfect right of passage.

Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s