New Jersey Judge Rules That Leaving Kids in the Car Is Child Abuse

New Jersey Judge Rules That Leaving Kids in the Car Is Child Abuse

So there's this: An appeals court in NJ ruled that leaving any child, of any age in a car alone for any amount of time is child abuse.

*sigh*

Stuff like this makes me crazy because it's so black and white and such an extreme overreaction. Child abuse? Really? You're going to equate leaving a kid alone in a car for a matter of minutes with beating the shit out of them? That's insane.

New Jersey Rules That Leaving Kids in the Car Is Child Abuse
Credit: catherine_nyberg.

I routinely leave my almost two-year-old strapped in his car seat, with the car running alone for the 90 seconds it takes me to walk my three-year-old into preschool.

It's part of our routine now; he's used to it and knows I'm coming right back. He usually sits in his seat with a book or a snack and is completely happy for those perilous 90 seconds. The preschool is in a safe neighborhood, and the only other people around are other parents. If I thought weather was a concern (which it's usually not since I just leave the car running), I'd take him with me. I just feel he's 100% safe there and frankly it makes my life a hell of a lot easier.

My Little Guy doesn't want to leave the preschool room that My Big Guy is in and letting him go in there only to rip him away from those amazing new toys seconds later seems more cruel and more upsetting (tears! screams! fits!) than just letting him enjoy a snack and a book in his seat. Everyone is happier this way. Apparently that happiness is abuse.

In fact, my biggest concern is some jackass seeing My Little Guy in the car and calling the cops. I'm not worried about him being kidnapped, or the car blowing up, or him freezing/overheating (again, the car is running) or whatever crazy ass thing these people think will happen if you leave a kid alone for 90 seconds.

Would I leave my kid strapped into an off car in the desert for half an hour in the parking lot of a Target? Hell no! That's stupid and dangerous. I'm not a moron, and I love my kids and I wouldn't subject them to anything that I thought might cause them harm.

I'm his mom, and I know what's best for him and what's too dangerous. I have decided that leaving him for 90 seconds in a climate controlled car is not dangerous. That is my choice to make -- not the cops, not a random passerby, not another parent. Mine.

The link to the Free Range Kids site lists the statistics, which no one ever hears about. More kids die from car accidents than from being left alone in a car. Way more. You know how many kids are kidnapped by a stranger each year? About 50. You know how many kids die left alone in a car? About 40 (and as Lenore of FRK points out, those kids are forgotten in the car, not left alone for a couple of minutes). {Sidenote: WTF is that? What kind of awful dickwad forgets their kid is in the car?} Driving your kid around in your car is probably the most dangerous thing you can do with them (over 1500 kids under the age of 15 die a year in car accidents), but we all still do that and no one is calling the authorities and reporting someone driving with their kid. It's ridiculous.

I, as the parent, am the judge of what is safe or not for my child, not you.

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