Have you left a child behind like the prime minister of England?

England’s Prime Minister David Cameron is taking a drubbing over leaving his 8-year-old daughter Nancy behind in a pub after lunch.

From The Associated Press:

“The Camerons, some friends and their children had gone for Sunday lunch to the Plough, an establishment in the village of Cadsden dating back to the 16th century, when it was a staging post for London coaches.”

“Like many British pubs, particularly in rural villages, it offers a pleasant local gathering place with a garden where children are welcome along with their parents and even their pets. It’s common to see several generations spending entire afternoons catching up while children and dogs run free.”

“As the Camerons visit with friends neared its conclusion, Nancy went off to use the bathroom. Minutes later, the families piled into two cars to drive back to Chequers, in the countryside west of London.”

“Cameron was traveling in one car with his bodyguards and assumed that Nancy was in the other car with his wife Samantha and their two other children. Samantha, however, assumed young Nancy was with her father, and they only realized she was missing when they got home.”

“That was when panic sent in. “The prime minister and Samantha were distraught when they realized Nancy wasn’t with them,” said his spokeswoman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity in line with policy. “Thankfully when they phoned the pub she was there, safe and well.”

So was this terrible parenting to leave a child behind or just an oversight considering each parent thought the child was in the other car?

Have you ever left a child behind?

I will say I have lost a child – always Walsh, my wanderer. And I have forgotten to pick up Lilina from preschool this year. I just completely flaked and they sent her on to stay and play. It wasn’t a big deal but I felt terrible. But so far I haven’t left a child behind. (Never say never.)

What about you?

39 comments Add your comment


June 12th, 2012
12:13 pm

Well, I NEVER considered that my (ex) husband had any of the children with him (ie had taken any responsibility).


June 12th, 2012
12:18 pm

The security detail added to the confusion. I’ve forgotten my child was in the backseat as I headed towards work only to see through my rearview mirror. I abruptly made a U-turn and took him to daycare.
Mistakes happen….when we’ve been in separate cars, my wife has called me after we’ve left a place to be sure I had the kids. For the record, I did.


June 12th, 2012
12:21 pm

No I have not!!!!


June 12th, 2012
12:22 pm

I’m guessing the child wasn’t too worried either otherwise someone would have figured out a way to get a hold of her parents before they made it all the way home.

Native Atlantan

June 12th, 2012
12:25 pm

As there were 6 of us, I’m sure my parents quite often “left us behind” just to have some alone time.


June 12th, 2012
12:33 pm

And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. Lk 2:43

I would say it has bee known to happen to even the best of families. ;o)


June 12th, 2012
12:36 pm

FCM – I had forgotten about that story until now! Our pastor used it as a example of how even the best of parents (even those chosen specifically by God!), get distracted and make mistakes.


June 12th, 2012
12:45 pm

No, I haven’t, but I see that it can happen..I guess I’m to worried about it, so I always double check..So far, so good..


June 12th, 2012
1:06 pm

I have exactly 1 child, so no this has never happened to me.


June 12th, 2012
1:09 pm

FCM, thanks for the reminder. Joseph and Mary were not “helicopter” parents.


June 12th, 2012
1:14 pm

Another reminder that England doesn’t have No Child Left Behind!

Judge Smails

June 12th, 2012
1:25 pm

OK, let’s be accurate. Cameron is the Prime Minister of Great Brittain, not England.

And yes, I left my 4 year old at Chucky Cheese once because I thought he was in my wifes car. We drove separately. Wow, that was a close one!


June 12th, 2012
1:35 pm

@Smails….as long as we’re splitting hairs, it’s the United Kingdom not Great Britain. You’re leaving out N. Ireland otherwise.


June 12th, 2012
1:46 pm

I have never done so. Combining both topics…we knew of a family who had a lake house. The Mom thought the child was with the Dad. The Dad thought the child went up to the house, to be with the Mom. The child drowned. I cannot fathom it. So sad.


June 12th, 2012
1:54 pm

I didn’t leave a child behind but I did make it to work and the child was still in the back seat.. she was so quiet and I just drove my normal route and forgot to drop her off…. mistakes do happen. Thank God the child was saft…


June 12th, 2012
2:16 pm

We left my brother behind at church one day. There were three cars coming to our house (my parents, my grandparents, and me), and he didn’t get in any of them, and we all thought he was with someone else. Someone from church called when we got home, and my dad had to go back and get him. After that, we made sure that everyone had a designated car to come home in!

Wilma Miller

June 12th, 2012
2:19 pm

Once when I was a child (I was the oldest of 6) we stopped at a service station to get gas, snacks and use the restroom. After we got on the road again, it was discovered that my 6 year old sister was not in the car. We returned and claimed her. She is no worse for the wear.


June 12th, 2012
2:33 pm

My late father, a Baptist minister, used to tell of one time that he, Billy Graham and another preacher were driving somewhere, with Rev. Graham asleep in the backseat. They made a stop for gas and bathroom, and left Rev. Graham sleeping. They returned to the car and proceeded on their way, not realizing that Rev. Graham had gotten out also and had not gotten back to the car. He was patiently waiting when they returned for him a little while later.


June 12th, 2012
2:49 pm

No, I’ve never left my two anywhere, but I do see that it can happen..


June 12th, 2012
2:50 pm

My mother-in-law shared the following story. Many years ago they had friends stop by to show off their new infant, who was about one month old at the time. As they left, there were hugs and waves all around as my in-laws waved good-bye from their front steps to the new parents driving away. The new parents returned just a few minutes later — to retrieve their child, who was still sleeping in my father-in-law’s arms.

Voice of Reason

June 12th, 2012
3:03 pm

I cannot say that I have ever left my kids and forgotten about them.

Reading so many tragic stories of parents who drove to work and forgot that their sleeping kid was in the back seat in a locked car in the hot sun have pretty much guaranteed that I will not forget about my kids before I get into, or out of, a car.


June 12th, 2012
3:28 pm

@FCM – Good post!

@Voice – Know what you mean…I watched the Oprah with the principal who left her baby in the car. Knock on wood, there haven’t been any fatal stories recently.

DD’s still in a booster seat, and since we only have 1 – in my SUV – this scenario isn’t going to happen to us any time soon. I have, however, gotten in the front seat without buckling DD in, to which she loudly proclaims, “MOMMY! I’m not buckled!” before I can even shut the door. Safety first, kiddo.


June 12th, 2012
3:29 pm

Or maybe I should say, “Here’s your sign, JOD.”


June 12th, 2012
3:39 pm

@Voice..That is one that I do not understand..Never have, never will..Twins and I have never left one of them in the car and forgotten them..Yes, I have left my lunch in the car and maybe my phone, but not a child..


June 12th, 2012
3:54 pm

This happens all the time. Take it from someone who gets the calls (DFCS) when the police are called to Chuck e Cheese, McDonalds etc.. about an unattended child. It sounds horrible but it just happens. Almost always there are two or more cars involved and one person thought the child was in the other car.
I think the cases where the child is left in the car are different. It’s different to assume your child is with someone else than to completely forget that you ever had him/her with you in the first place. Sadly, that happens a lot too but I think parents need to be a lot more diligent about making sure that doesn’t happen because of its probable deadly outcome. Nothing worse than those cases. I still think of that principal and her daughter.


June 12th, 2012
4:51 pm

I have not left my child, but that’s only by the Grace of God. When she was an infant and toddler, I was terrified that I would forget that she was in the car, and leave her locked inside during the sweltering summer heat. Thankfully that never happened. My husband did however, manage to lock the keys in the car, with her buckled into her car seat on a very cold January day. I drove very quickly to their location to rescue them. No harm done!

Atlanta Mom

June 12th, 2012
5:16 pm

I had a meeting at home with a client on a Sunday. My husband took the kids and a house guest to a restaurant. I joined them 20 minutes later. Inquired about the eight year old–oops, she was still at home.


June 12th, 2012
5:36 pm

I’ve never left a child behind, but, I have locked my daughter in the car with the keys inside. One time, at a park, with friends and the friend drove to the police station down the street(no cell phones at that time). The nice police officer came to help unlock the car all the while my daughter(9 months at the time) was laughing at me. It was in the shade and not too hot. The officer said she wouldn’t charge me because a child was involved. Lock smiths also do not charge if a child is involved.


June 12th, 2012
6:06 pm

it happens all the time. think about how less helicopter like parents *had* to be as they had so many more kids *and* fewer resources.
For it to happen I think it’s no big deal. I think those people who are indignant about it are the most helicopter like *and* the most likely to have their kids not know how to do anything.
As someone said, the pub didn’t even *call* because the kid was fine. She knew how to handle it.
For those of you who think it could never happen to you – well, it could. But the *most* important thing to do is to *teach* your kid what to do in that kind of situation.
We ‘lost’ our kid at disney once, and well, we found him again. he was actually really upset (and disney can be kinda overwhelming). If we don’t teach our kids how to handle situations that they can get into – even if it’s a far fetched scenario, we are doing our children a grave disservice.

Valet Away!

June 12th, 2012
6:35 pm

Boy, the fine citizens of Georgia dodged the bullet on this turkey.

I used to work at a north Atlanta private golf club populated by the finest and most wealthy alcoholics, swingers, entrepreneurs, pill addicts, and ego maniacs. One of them, at the time, running for governor, a multi-millionaire businessman, walked out of the club and drove away. We already knew he was an airhead. An adult airhead.

A few minutes later, his adult son walked out of the club and asked us if we had seen his father.

He just drove off, we said.

The son got on his cell phone.

Ten minutes later the goobernatorial candidate came back to pick up his son.

Fred ™

June 12th, 2012
8:39 pm

There have been some really funny comments on this blog. Thanks, I needed a laugh today.

As to leaving MY child behind? Although I sometimes have wanted to because she was being a brat no one would take her. Other than that? It’s not happening. I’m not too self absorbed to know where my child is. I’m not too tired and I’m not too………. anything, not even drunk. Shame on some of you. Why did you have kids anyway? Too stupid for birth control? A kid doing a runner (small kids) is onre thing, leaving a child behind or “forgetting” your child is in your backseat? Really? They test for a drivers license but any idiot who reaches puberty can procreate, we have seen here today……..

Miss Priss!

June 12th, 2012
9:30 pm

Fred, honey … you drink and comment, don’t you. It’s obvious. Your lameness is your trademark.

another comment

June 12th, 2012
9:36 pm

Valet Away!, you must be talking about Guy Milner! the perinial canidate before Sonny boy actually won.

Madge From Accounting

June 12th, 2012
11:24 pm

I’m with Camille — I have forgotten that a child was in the back seat and had driven all the way to work! Luckily for me, I always put my purse in the back; so when I had parked the car and got out I had to get my purse and then I saw my child, sleepily peacefully in her car seat.

It was the dead of summer and it could’ve ended so tragically!! We parents are human, so that means we’re not perfect, and that also means that sometimes WE FORGET.


June 13th, 2012
1:23 am

I haven’t, but I can still remember when it happened to me! I was about 6 or 7, so this was in the early 60’s, before seat belts were a fixture. While driving to my grandparents (about 7 hours away), we had stopped at a service station. I had been sitting in the back floorboard (cars were MUCH bigger!) reading, and my parents went into the station to buy drinks. I decided it would be a good time to hit the bathroom, but in the meantime, my parents came back to the car and drove on. I came out of the restroom . . . no car?! I looked around, thinking that Dad had parked away from the pump, but the lot was empty. The owner ambled out and stopped short when he saw me. “Girl, where’s you mommy and daddy?” “Umm . . .they were here a minute ago . . .” I think he had a moment of panic that I had been abandoned! So I sat on the curb and waited. About 5 minutes later, the car came roaring back into the station — Mom and Dad had only gotten a couple of miles down the road, and mom had reached over the back of the seat and offered me a cracker, and gotten annoyed when I didn’t answer. When she looked back to scold me for being impolite and not responding, she was very startled when I wasn’t there . . !


June 13th, 2012
1:40 am

To be honest, it’s not a bad as it sounds — the house at Chequers is only about a mile from The Plough walking across fields — about 2 miles by road. The child could have walked and easily been on Chequer’s grounds within a 1/2 mile, if not for security concerns!

English 101

June 13th, 2012
8:33 am

No, the child I left behind was nothing like the Prime Minister of England!

[...] Prime Minister leaves daughter at da pub. [...]


June 14th, 2012
5:51 pm

i’ve never left either of my children anywhere. but, i will admit to locking one of them in the car with the keys in the ignition. he was 8 days old, and i went to an appointment. i sat in the front seat, nursing him until he fell asleep. i had the ignition on, with the air on, as it was june. once he fell asleep, i put him in his car seat, turned around and shut the door. i about died. luckily the locksmith came out, unlocked the car and all was well. my son never even woke up.