73 answers

Leaving Sleeping Baby in Car

My good friend just informed me that she leaves her 14 month old in the car if he has fallen asleep. She only does this at home (not at stores, etc.) She said she leaves the garage door open and leaves the front door to her house open so she can hear him. She also leaves the window down. She said if it is hot outside, she leaves the car in the driveway with the motor running to use the air conditioner.

Am I overreacting by thinking this is very unsafe? I mentioned the possibility of someone kidnapping him or trying to take the car with him in it but she said she trusts her neighbors. (It's not really the neighbors I would be worried about.) I can think of all kinds of other reasons it's not good idea as well. I don't want to ruin our friendship by being "aggressive" about discussing this with her (she kind of made it clear that it's her decision not mine) but I also am concerned about her son's safety and even about my friend should something ever happen to her son. Any advice on what I should say or am I overreacting?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow. What polar extremes in the responses I received. You all either wholeheartedly agreed with me or vehemently disagreed with me. There really was no middle ground. Many of you who disagreed seemed rather angry with me for even considering saying something to her ("mind your own business" "her kid her problem your kid your problem" etc). To answer your questions, yes, my son was a very high-maintenance baby (WISH he had colic, but it was a dairy allergy undiscovered until he was 4 months old). He was a terrible napper, and he always woke up when I brought him inside from the car. So, yes, I do know what all that inconvienence is like. But it was worth it to me to keep my son safe.

Thank you for your advice. I'll take the advice of those who told me I have done the best I could by stating my opinion but not to pursue it further.

Featured Answers

I've left my kid sleeping in their carseat in the car... But with me in it with them (I find it a good time to read that magazine article or nap with them) or since my driveway is open to the backyard (or was before this summer), I'd be doing something in the yard.

3 moms found this helpful

You aren't overreacting at all. You should never leave them in a running car or a hot car PERIOD. If it's cool and the baby is sleeping in the garage w/ it closed and the car OFF - maybe... but why risk it at all?

2 moms found this helpful

Actually, if someone called the police she would be charged with child endangerment. Probably not something she wants. A sleeping child isn't worth the danger to them whether she likes it or not.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Can you tell me why it's any different than her son sleeping in his own bedroom one or two stories away from his mom? Actually, I really don't think anyone is going to steal a car from a driveway, especially in broad daylight and when the car is obviously being observed. I think that worrying so much about that is a little bit high-strung.

If my son has fallen asleep in his car seat, I will leave him be. I will leave the car running to keep him cool/warm depending on the season, I will bring in the groceries and put them away with the house door open and the car in view while his brother hangs out with him and then I will grab a book and hang out in the garage with the car window cracked so I can hear if he wakes up. He's a terrible sleeper and it's impossible to get him back to sleep once he wakes up. We also live in a rural area. Our neighborhood is a little more spread out than some and we have a semi-long driveway so we're further back from the road. So I do a modified version of what your friend does. Yes I am more cautious than she, but to each their own. It's her child after all.

Since she made it clear that it's not your business, I wouldn't say anything else about it. She's on her own property handling her child as she sees fit. If you HAVE to say something, then encourage her to sit outside of the house in view of the car until he wakes up.

Oh, and I leave him strapped in his seat and the emergency brake on. Just so y'all know. Hope no one decides to call CPS on me!! What's with the "especially with the car running" comments? That's how you keep the car cool or warm to keep them comfortable... If you are worried about your car shifting on it's own (especially if the e-brake is on), then you need to go have it looked at by a good mechanic.

Wow, helicopter parent much??? You are allowed to be a few feet away from your kids, ya know! I don't think she should be out of sight of the car, but it's okay as long as she can keep her eye on the car. For goodness sake!

9 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't ever leave my baby in the car alone for any reason, ANYWHERE. Even if I parked the damn car in my living room I'd still wake her up and move her to her bed and hope she went back down for a nap. And if she missed a nap for that day. Oh well! Better safe than sorry.

If she doesn't stay with her baby in the driveway when she leaves the car running and the air conditioner on... she's a nutjob. The KEYS are right in the car, someone could bust the window and steal the car, not even realizing the baby is back there. The car could sputter and die and the air conditioning would stop running, the car would heat up faster than an oven and then that baby would be heat-stroke dead.

What a dipspit! If you ever see her baby alone in the car, call the cops and let THEM tell her she's retarded so you don't have to.

She may think her neighborhood is good, but sometimes people who don't live in your good neighborhood come by to cause trouble. We had our mountain bikes stolen out of our garage when we were kids because my mom was bringing the groceries in. From the time it took her to grab a couple of bags and put them in the kitchen and then get back out to the driveway, they'd snatched the bikes and ran.

4 moms found this helpful

I would not do this. Ever. I have found and am comfortable with a simple "rule" I've chosen to live by where my daughter is concerned. If something comes into my head (like, "oh, she's sleeping and I don't want to wake her maybe I'll just leave her in the car) I think about how I would feel for the rest of my life if something happened to her. I don't want to ever look back and say "If I had just done xyx" or "If I just hadn't done xyz". I understand that kids have accidents and there are times that you need to let go to allow them to grow and mature, but those are situations that you might feel badly about (i.e, getting hurt at the playground, etc.) if they got hurt. There are also times when if something goes wrong and you weren't there (like going to answer the phone while kiddo is in the tub) you'll live to regret it. Each time I'm faced with those decisions, I choose my daughter.

4 moms found this helpful

Sometimes cars shut off. Like mine did yesterday without any apparent reason. I was letting it run so it would be cool when I got into it and it shut off. So no its not a safe practice at all. I am a nervous nelly when it came to my children , especially babies. Nope I would never leave a sleeping baby in my car no matter what.

Some moms feel its ok. I am not one of them. If you do talk to her tell her sometimes cars just idling do shut off. Like mine did.

As far as not wanting to wake a sleeping baby. So they may be grouchy for a day who cares.......better than having to bury your baby because you left him in a car.

I think its a stupid move to tell you the truth. JMO!!

3 moms found this helpful

I've left my kid sleeping in their carseat in the car... But with me in it with them (I find it a good time to read that magazine article or nap with them) or since my driveway is open to the backyard (or was before this summer), I'd be doing something in the yard.

3 moms found this helpful

No you are not overreacting.

I've done this, if I felt that moving my child would wake them up. However, I roll down all of the windows, and I sit on the front steps just outside the car, and ONLY if its a nice day. If it is hot enough so that its not comfortable to sit outside I wake my child up and pray she goes back to sleep once inside. Never leave a sleeping child in a car, and especially if it means that you have to leave the car running to keep it cool. That is just an accident waiting to happen.

I've seen this happen several times at shopping centers, and I have called the police. Even if the kids were as old as 5. I was told that it was child endangerment and if I wanted to file a report, the driver/parent would receive a citation. We've had 2 children in our area die from situations like this.

3 moms found this helpful

I don't think you are overreacting! I think that is plain stupid, and she is not protecting her baby! Anyone could walk by and jump in and steal the car with the baby inside. All winter you hear about car thiefs who are looking for cars people have turned on and left. I know where I live it is illegal to leave a running vehicle unattended. I would contact the authorities and see what the laws are where you live. I'm pretty sure it would be considered child endangerment leaving a baby in the car running or not.

3 moms found this helpful

You have obviously never had a colicky baby. I would do the exact same thing during my son's colic. Rides were the only thing that would keep my son from screaming all day. When he fell asleep in the car, there was NO WAY I was gonna wake him up by slamming car doors, jostling him around all around. etc. So I would leave him in the car. I wouldn't leave him in there with the car running, but in cooler weather, I would leave him in there with the door open or window down, with me right nearby- sometimes I would sit right in the car with him and take a little snooze myself. I think you are overreacting, and probably should just mind your own business. I am sure that if she felt her child were unsafe that she wouldn't do it.

3 moms found this helpful

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