Mumsnet user rabbitsdontlayeggs is adamant about never leaving her baby in the car for any reason, no matter how quick her return may be.
Her husband, on the other hand, has no qualms about leaving their child in the car unattended, even if the time away adds up to a few minutes.
The problem is the mom didn’t know her husband felt this way until just recently.
As the Leicester Mercury reports, rabbitsdontlayeggs took to the online parenting forum Mumsnet to settle a dispute over whether it’s acceptable to leave a child in the car for a menial task such as paying for gas inside the gas station.
She explained she would never leave her 20-month-old behind at the pump and is horrified to have learned her husband doesn’t think it’s a big deal — and has left their toddler in the car before:
Leaving toddler (20 months) in the car while you go and pay for petrol. Would you do it? I would not (unless I was using pay at the pump, then I wouldn’t get her out as I’d be stood right next to the car) but DH [dear husband] says he would and has.
I’m horrified that he’s left her and have said I really don’t want him to do that again, he thinks I am ridiculous and ‘it’s only for two minutes.’
Despite many tragic stories resulting from children being left cars, numerous Mumsnet commenters admitted leaving their children in the car was safer than the alternatives: “I leave mine,” wrote one commenter. “What is going to happen to them? I have my car keys with me so the car itself could not be stolen (the door is probably open though) and I can see the car through the petrol station window so would notice if someone tried to kidnap them.”
Another added: “I do it. I’ll also go to a petrol station if I need milk for example, so I don’t have to haul the toddler and baby into a shop. I’ve never seen anyone take a baby or toddler into a petrol station to pay.”
One commenter accused the mum of being “overprotective”: “What would you do if you had 20 month old twins or triplets? I think you’re being over protective. As long as you are able to see the toddler I don’t think it’s wrong.”
Again, another user sided with the woman’s husband: “I’ve got 18 month old twins. No way would it be sensible/practical to haul them both through the forecourt. I also (shock horror!) Have to leave one in the car on the drive while I carry the other into the house. Your husband is being perfectly reasonable.”
Some commenters asked the mom to think of the scenario in different terms: “If I needed petrol on my own then I’m afraid I’d have to leave them in the car… Also when shopping. Sometimes the trolley park isn’t near the car…..I have to put the trolley back…..what do you do then?”
One Mumsnet user said she used to judge parents who left their kids in the car before finding herself doing it, too: “I never used to, judged [sic] people who did. Have done recently as it’s much easier and faster. Hang head in shame at judging ?.”
Another suggested cars that get stolen with children in the back is an “American TV” thing: “You hear pretty regularly about cars being stolen with young children left in the back. I’ve literally never heard of a case of this. The only ones I can think of were from dramas on the TV — American ones at that.”
After numerous parents confessed to leaving their children in the car, rabbitsdontlayeggs wrote of her surprise at the feedback:
Honestly I’m surprised by the responses. No mums I know here leave their little ones — I thought DH was in a minority!
My concerns are:
Her getting loose from straps
Car getting hit
Despite an overwhelming number of responses, the concerned mother found she wasn’t alone. Multiple commenters asserted they had never left their children in the car and never would: “I would never leave my child in the car! I agree with you,” wrote one commenter.
“I would definitely take my toddler with me to pay. Every time,” said another.
Interestingly, some Mumsnet users cautioned those who confidently disclosed they left their children in the car.
As a gas station attendant and fellow mom wrote:
I work in a petrol station and a Mum left her 4 year old child in the car while she came into the shop to pay. The child got out of her seat and released the hand brake, the car then rolled forward into the electricity box. The child was unhurt but the car was damaged and so was the electricity box. Other customers have also left hand brakes off and cars have rolled into each other. So accidents can happen, I wouldn’t leave a child in a car.
Another shared, in part:
A friend once told me that when she was little her mother left her in the car to pay at petrol station & a man got in the car & pinched the toys she was playing with & was gone before mother returned, this story stuck with me & I never leave a child in a car unattended as know this man could of taken her before her mother even noticed, fast forward a good few years and I worked in petrol station for 6 years & I’d say 99% of people would leave them in the car, (most clearly wasn’t watching the children in the shop either) & some of the things that happened on the fore court just reaffirmed my choice to not leave them in the vehicle…
Although Rabbitsdontlayeggs explained in a reply the issue doesn’t keep her up at night, commenters have given her many points to consider: “I just wondered what others thought, that’s all. Now I know!”
As she asked: “Would you do it?”