Can you ever leave a kid in the car? They did in the 1970s!

Once again a mom has been arrested for allegedly leaving her kids in a car while she ran into a store to shop. In this case, the kids were 5 and 2 and asleep in the car.

From the AJC’s story:

“Zecole Wilkerson Thomas, 29, if Milton, was charged with two counts of reckless conduct and booked into Fulton County jail, where she spent the night before posting $2,000 bond Wednesday, booking records showed.

Passersby called police after seeing the two children in the SUV, which was parked at a Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store on North Point Drive, according to Alpharetta police. The vehicle’s engine was not running, police said.

Following their mother’s arrest, the two children were released to their father, according to police.

In an interview with Channel 2 Action News, Thomas said her children, ages 5 and 2, were sleeping when she arrived at the store. She said she decided to go inside the store for about 10 minutes to buy sewing supplies.

“I would never do anything to harm my children,” an emotional Thomas told Channel 2. “I was not trying to suffocate my children. The windows were open.”

Temperatures were in the 90s while the children were locked inside the SUV, according to police. The children were sweaty, but otherwise in good health, according to police.”

What’s funny is many, many 30- and 40-year-olds will tell you that their parents left them in the car all the time.

I’m not advocating for parents to leave kids in cars, but I just find it odd that so many people say that parents should act more like their parents did (let the kids roam, don’t be a helicopter) but then so many people are bashing this lady on the AJC Facebook page.

Let me play Devil’s Advocate (again I am not saying leaving your kids in the car!!!):

Why was it OK in the 1970s but not OK now? Why it OK to let kids roam up the street alone but leaving them in the car is not? (I’m not talking about a hot car where they could die.)

We talked about this issue in June 2009 when we had a rash of similar cases. Here’s what the cases were then. Check out the scenarios I posted at the bottom and respond to those in particular.

“Lately, there has been a rash of women arrested for leaving their kids in their cars while they go shopping.

The AJC reports: A mother of 4-month-old twins was arrested on charges of child cruelty on Saturday night after another shopper heard the babies’ cries through the cracked windows at about 10 p.m..

“Firefighters forced their way into Janesia Williams’ Toyota Scion and rescued the babies, according to a Clayton County Police report. Paramedics were checking out the children when Williams walked out of the Ellenwood store.”

“Paramedics said the babies were in good health, but still transported them to Southern Regional Medical Center for observation.”

“Williams told police she was only in the store for five minutes, according to a police report. However, Darlene Marshall, who was parked next to Scion, told police the twins were unattended for at least 20 minutes.”

Earlier this month, the AJC reported “a woman left two children, ages 1 and 3, alone in an unlocked car while she went into a Marietta Wal-Mart and shoplifted items for herself, according to Cobb arrest warrants.”

“Lashaundra Chantee Cooper, 23, was arrested at 12:30 a.m. Saturday when an officer located her vehicle with the two children inside.”

“The 1-year-old was screaming and walking on the front seat, according to the warrant. The keys were in the ignition. There was one car seat in the vehicle, but neither child was in it, according to the warrant.”

“Cooper, of Marietta, faces a felony child cruelty charge, according to a warrant. Additionally, she faces a shoplifting charge for allegedly concealing $24.75 worth of merchandise in her handbag and exiting the store.”

I think it seems pretty clear that it’s not OK to leave your kids in a car to go into Wal-Mart or a big store of the like, but is it always so clear cut?

Is it OK to leave your kids in the car to:

Go inside the Starbucks to get a coffee if you can see your car and the kids through a glass window?

Drop a video in the drop box – do you have to be parked directly in front of the box?

Park in front of the vet’s office and standing in the doorway hand-off your dog or pay a bill? Do you have to keep one leg or half your body out of the door?

Leave them parked in the car to run to the ATM?

Or to run into your elementary school to check out a child if parked in front of the school?”

Is it ever OK to leave your kids in the car for any length of time? If so what are the standards?

Why is the car scenario worse than the letting them roam around the neighborhood? Why was it OK in the 1970s?

75 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

July 26th, 2012
4:16 am

My Dad left my sister and I in the car while he went into an office building in downtown Chicago. It was night. We were probably 5 and 8. I remember laying on the floor as I was so scared. That was in the 1960’s. When my son was a baby, I drove to Corpus Christi TX to pick my husband up from a Naval Detachment. It was pouring down rain and I was lost. There were no cell phones, Mapquest and no GPS. I ran into a gas station and left my sleeping son in the car. He was in his car seat and I could see him through the window. The door was locked…manually…no clickers then. That was 1987. My husband remembers his parents leaving the four of them in a car while they partied at the VFW. Really? You leave your kids in the car while you party? Things are different, for sure.

VaLady

July 26th, 2012
6:56 am

I don’t remember my parents leaving me or my brothers alone in a car as young kids. My mother would put us kids into the baby coach and leave it in the front yard while she did chores inside. When I had my first son in 1990, I had to run to the 7-11 to get milk. I took him and had a mini-debate with myself as to whether I would leave him in the car for a quick dash-in or unload from baby seat to baby carrier and take him in. I chose the latter. Good thing, though. A police officer pulled up next to my parked car and did peer in the backseat when he saw the baby seat.

Just off the tack, but related — did any of you parents ever receive the board book, Good Dog, Carl? The story line was about a rottweiler that babysat his young mistress while Mother went shopping in the department store or took tea with her friend in the park. The dog and the baby had all sorts of adventures and returned to the pram just in the nick of time.

PENN STATE: The New Notre Dame

July 26th, 2012
7:16 am

Yeah, in this “country country.”

That’s right. I said it.

Eating Boogers For The Protein

July 26th, 2012
7:18 am

My parents never left me alone in the car and I grew up in the 60s and 70s. Theresa? What evidence do you have that this was regular practice in the 70s? Be honest….The headline is just more of your mongo hyperbole.

Van Jones

July 26th, 2012
7:21 am

My parents did.

PENN STATE: The New Notre Dame

July 26th, 2012
7:29 am

I was thankful my parents left my brother & me in the car when they ran into the grocery store.

That was when we got to take turns climbing behind the wheel of the parked car and pretending like we were driving The General Lee like on “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

PENN STATE: The New Notre Dame

July 26th, 2012
7:31 am

All you left-coast-ists and elitist yankees can go back to from which you came.

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-HAW!

djm_NC

July 26th, 2012
7:37 am

my parents did…if we were asleep when we got to where we were going….left in the car while they were grocery shopping (thank god). partyng and leaving us in the car? no…my concern these days would be more of the worrying about someone taking my kid…of course they never left us with the windows up and suffacatingly hot…

motherjanegoose

July 26th, 2012
7:44 am

Good Dog Carl…yes a book we enjoyed with our kids and it surfaced recently when my daughter was cleaning out a closet.

@eating…not sure anything we did with our parents was regular practice…but it was done by both in the 1960’s and 1970’s. We also walked to the bus and even to school itself, without a parent in tow.

I also know some parents who left their kids asleep in the their car seats, in the car, when they got home. Did not want to distrub them from their nap. Never did that with mine,

Maybe...

July 26th, 2012
7:46 am

…but remember, only about 50% of cars had air conditioning in the 60s-70s, and it was easy to leave windows rolled down so that the car would not get overly hot – plus there was an exponentially less chance that some predator would abduct your child back then…

But still – not many people would leave 4 month old twins, or even singles, alone in a car, especially a hot car, back then, either…that was just stupid and probably criminal, as was leaving the 1 and 3 year old…

hsn

July 26th, 2012
7:47 am

My dad wouldn’t leave me in the car, but he would send me in to get cigarettes. Only sometimes would I have to point to him in the car to the clerk to show who I was buying for. Just once did a lady boom

hsn

July 26th, 2012
7:49 am

Tell Jim to get off his Burt and get them himself. (Typing without glasses. Didn’t mean to hit send yet)

Janice

July 26th, 2012
7:50 am

it was a different world in the 70’s than today. we were left in car while she ran into store, but we knew if we misbehaved we’d feel the warmth of her hand as she slapped us for misbehaving. in 70’s i was a teen. when i was a child in the 60’s we played outside and the moms in the neighborhood would be out. every day it seemed like we had lunch at a different house while our mother did something, it was a rotating schedule to help with house work while kids were off from school. we’d ride bikes and we knew all the neighbors. i grew up in a neighborhood where people lived and raised their families for generations. wasn’t as transient as things are now. like i said it was a different time and world back then.

Augusta

July 26th, 2012
7:53 am

It depends on the age of the child. Would I leave an infant in the car – NO. Would I leave a 8, 9, 10 year old while I dashed into the convenience store for a coke – Yes. WOuld I go shopping and leave kids in the car – OH HELL NO. If you plan to be away from the car longer than 3 minutes, take the kid(s). The consequences are horrible……

Don’t leave your pets in the car either. especially on these morbidly hot days…..

gtmom

July 26th, 2012
8:02 am

Yes. My parents left us in the car. I think the problem now is common sense. When I go to the cleaners to pick up my laundry, I park right in front of the window, walk 2 feet to get inside, pick up my laundry and then get back in the car. If it is comfortable outside, I should be able to leave a baby in a car carrier in the car locked up. It is more dangerous for me to pick up the carrier, walk inside with the baby and pick up laundry and walk out. Then I cannot pay attention to my surroundings and someone could walk up and abduct either of us. Or i could lose my footing and drop the baby carrier. I am in and out in less than a minute and like I said the car is parked 2 feet from the door. But instead, I carry the baby inside so I don’t get arrested for ignorant’s people’s past mistakes. My neighbor was held up at a Kroger when she was getting her children inside her vehicle. Personally, I am most uncomfortable when I am getting the kids in or out of the vehicle. I am the most vulnerable then. I would never leave my child in a vehicle in the heat or while I was at a store. On a side note, I once had a friend of mine pick up a child of mine. This guy who was 56 years old and loves my children and did not have children himself. He was a Big Brother though. Anyway, he said that on the way to my house (45 minutes), my child complained of being thirsty. It was 50 degrees outside. He stopped at a gas station, locked his vehicle and went in the store bought my son a water. I replied, “Did you take _____ with you inside?” He said, “No, why would I do that? He might have run away from me (like little toddlers do) and get run over.” I said, “good thing you were not arrested!” My friend was shaken. He had no idea that he did anything wrong. I told him I wasn’t upset but because of people’s past mistakes, we all have to do stupid things now. More likely that my child would have been run over if he got away from my friend than anything happening to him while sitting in a comfortable vehicle buckled up and doors locked.

gtmom

July 26th, 2012
8:05 am

I actually would feel safer leaving my baby in a car than my 7 year old. He is mobile and could open a door or jump in the driver’s seat. That would make me very nervous.

Jane

July 26th, 2012
8:05 am

My parents did it and I do it now, so long as I can see my car through the shop window–such as to mail a package at UPS or pick up dry cleaning. I cannot leave my older daughter for a second, though, as she is 5 and old enough to unbuckle herself. The danger is too great that she would get out of the car in a busy parking lot.

motherjanegoose

July 26th, 2012
8:06 am

@ Augusta…no worries here. We do not leave our dog in our fenced in back yard alone. This after the previous dog got plowed over by a neighbor THE ONE TIME she left the yard to chase a stray dog. A dark day for our family. We put the lab down ( at 14) 4 months prior and never dreamed this would happen. We need to keep this dog a long time.

Hecks Yeah

July 26th, 2012
8:29 am

I’m a child of the 70s and my mom left us in the car while she shopped when we were about 9 and older. We were instructed to not touch anything nor to leave the car and we did what we were told. Leaving a child under 9 isn’t a good idea. An infant should never be left alone in a car.

motherjanegoose

July 26th, 2012
8:36 am

@Hecks…there was a day when kids did what they were told. I see children and I wonder about this now. Of course, some kids are told to do awful things and that is very sad. There was also a day when my 1st grade teacher taped my mouth shut with masking tape, as I was talking to all my friends near me. I even got sent home with a note to show my parents. Guess I have been talking for a LONG time!

Roberta

July 26th, 2012
8:57 am

@Penn State: The New Notre Dame: Dude, I think you’re looking for the Fox News blog. This is a blog for busy moms. Hello?

If I may ask – why so bitter? Not enough hugs when you were a kid?

Bridget

July 26th, 2012
8:59 am

I was born in 1980, and my mom left my sister and I in the car, doors locked, all the time if she had a quick errand to run….as long as it wasn’t the summer. I think that’s the issue here. Even with the windows down, sometimes it is just too dang hot to leave a kid, pet, or anyone else in the car, no matter what your parenting style is!

Ann

July 26th, 2012
9:00 am

I am 50 years old. In 1973 when I was 11 we were on a family vacation. We went to the Alamo in San Antonio. I was not feeling well. So my parents left me in the car by myself while they and my siblings toured the Alamo! Another time my mother went to the 7-11 with my sister and did take her inside the store. Good thing because while she was inside, the car slipped into gear and rolled backwards out of the parking lot all the way across the road.

I don’t have children but if I did Iwould not leave them in the car alone for fear of them being stolen.

Things were different back then. You can’t do the same things now.

Chris

July 26th, 2012
9:03 am

Well said gtmom. It all comes down to common sense. How hot is it, how long will you be gone, how safe is the area, can you see your vehicle?

I have left DD in the car on more than one occasion to run in and pick up the local paper (small town east of Athens). 2 minutes tops and I can see the car. I have also left her in the car in the garage because she was sleeping. I would check on her about every 5 minutes. She wakes up, looks around, and sucks her fingers.

Oh, and yes, I was left in the car with my brother on occasion in the 70’s. A parent was running into the store to pick up something. Never more than 5-10 minutes. The “fighting” ended as soon as the parent was seen exiting the store!

Voice of Reason

July 26th, 2012
9:19 am

I have to put this out there. It is MY responsibility to raise MY children. As long as my children are not doing anything to hinder your forward progress in life you need to keep your damn nose out of my damn business.

Give people the benefit of the doubt, if you see kids in a car that is not running, commit it to memory and go about your business, if, when you return after a reasonable amount of time from doing your business and the children are still sitting in a car that is not running in the hot sun. THEN maybe you say something….try to find the mother, whatever.

Whoever called the cops has probably done as much damage to this family putting them through this trauma as it would if this family were forced to watch as their home burned to the ground.

Stop and think people, don’t just react. Why is this so hard a concept to understand?

JOD

July 26th, 2012
9:21 am

I watched the Ch. 2 interview with this mom, and she must be living under a rock if she didn’t know she would be arrested for leaving her small children in the car on a 90+ degree day. I don’t know what kind of crafting emergency requires leaving 2 kids in the car in the summer, but I’ve never experienced it.

The only time DD stays in the car when I am not in it is if I am dropping library books in the box outside and I am parked in front of it.

@gtmom – You said it all and more :o) I try to keep a look out when I am putting DD into and out of the car seat, as that is when I feel most vulnerable, too. It’s a shame that people target the elderly and women with small children in parking lots, but that’s reality these days.

Augusta

July 26th, 2012
9:23 am

Back in the ’70’s we didn’t have pansy parents. We didn’t use seatbelts. My brother and I used to lay across the top of the back seat while travelling on the freeway, with speeds in excess of 75 MPH….OH THE HORRORS…….

Our parents SMOKED in the car with us, with the windows UP…..

We rode in the front seat at the age of 4 with NO CAR SEAT.

We also drank water from the hose (GASP). We fell, we got back up. We climbed trees, we hiked, we played OUTSIDE.

Things have definately changed.

Techmom

July 26th, 2012
9:39 am

I left my son in the car a few of times when he was young. To run into the cleaners for sure though usually I use the drive through and then if we would pull up at home and he was asleep in his carseat. No sense in waking him up. Usually he would wake up within a few minutes anyway but no big deal if he was in the garage in the car and I had the door open.

I’ve also run into pay gas (before every gas station had a card machine) and left him in the car. I had a remote car starter on the car I had when he was little so I could get out, lock the doors and then start the car. The remote starters have safety features that will shut it off automatically if for example, you get in and hit the brake or gas without the key being in the ignition. After that car, he was old enough to not have to be in a carseat so he could either come in with me or sit in the car and listen to the radio. And I’m talking about 10 minutes or less… not 30 or 45 while I shop.

And I do remember being left in the car for short periods while my mom ran into 7-11 or to return a movie (you know, in the dark ages when you had to go to a store to rent a movie!!) when I was younger but usually I liked to go in (sitting in the car is boring).

polly m

July 26th, 2012
9:40 am

In the 60’s my friend car pooled to work. One day the car pool driver wanted to stop at the neighborhood bar for a beer after work, so they did. My friend’s wife drove their car to the local small grocery which shared a parking lot with the bar. Not knowing that her husband was in the bar, she left their small children in the car while she ran inside the grocery to pick up some milk. A neighbor saw the kids in the car as she was going in to the bar and then saw my friend in the bar and assumed that he had left them in the car while he went in for a beer. She gave him heck and didn’t speak to him for a long time.

clyde

July 26th, 2012
9:46 am

My mother left me in the buggy.With the horse untied.

oneofeach4me

July 26th, 2012
10:02 am

My vehicle has a remote start so I can leave the car running and locked without keys in it and it will run for 15 minutes that way. One time, I had just picked up my kids from school, and my 5 yr old son was sick and was sleeping at the time, but my 10 yr old daughter was awake. I had to run into a grocery store to grab a head of lettuce and some cheese to go with dinner. I usually never do this.. but the parking lot was practically empty so I knew it wouldn’t take long. I timed myself, 9 minutes exactly, in and out from car to door back to car. When I got back, some man proceeds to bang on my window telling me to get out of the van because he called the police and they are on their way. His wife is standing on the other side. So what do I do? I look at him, like he is crazy, and back right out and drive home. At what point can I leave my 10 yr old and 5 yr old in the car without someone feeling as though I am SUCH a bad parent?? They were in the parking lot when I got there, so they know EXACTLY how long I was in the store. Not to mention the car was running. They must have called the police right when I walked off.

I can understand leaving infants in the car or any kid under 5 without an older sibling being seen as neglect, especially anything over 15 minutes. However, I also think that sometimes people just want to be the “hero” and all they do is cause those same kids and family more harm. Not every parent who runs inside of a store, and leaves their kids in a locked air conditioned car for 10 minutes is a bad parent. Would I go shopping and leave them in the car? NO. But there is a difference in grabbing something and shopping.

malleesmom

July 26th, 2012
10:10 am

My brother and I were definitely left in the car while mom ran into the store (yes, in the 70’s) Again we weren’t babies but in elementary school. I do it on occasion at a convenience store for example. My kids are elementary and middle school age. Would I run into a mall, super store, and actually shop? Nope.

FCM

July 26th, 2012
10:12 am

My mother left me in the car if she need to run into Kroger and get a few things…say 10 – 15 minutes. I was about 10 or so and sometimes my brother would be there too so he was 7. I thought it was wrong then, I think it is wrong now.

I do leave mine in the car if I run in to get a lotto tix, I mean coke at the QT. They actually ask to be left in the car. Part of it depends on how close to the door I am and all.

However there is NO excuse for leaving kids in the car to run into the craft store, grocery store etc.

oneofeach4me

July 26th, 2012
10:14 am

@voice of reason ~ those were my EXACT thoughts when that couple called the police on me. I am not sure why they thought I was going to wait on the police to get there. Plus, my kids were 10 and 5 at the time.. I am not so sure the police would find that endangering, especially once they pulled video footage showing exactly how much time had elapsed.

Fetus Breath

July 26th, 2012
10:24 am

True story…..I left my children in the car while went in a Chick Fil A to pick up a party platter for my gay friends wedding. It was only 45 minutes, but it harmed my children when they went off to college they were placed in co ed dorms and participated in orgies, sacrifices and Olympic themed parties.

Fetus Breath

July 26th, 2012
10:25 am

Am I a bad mommy?

MA

July 26th, 2012
10:28 am

I never left my children in the car. We were not left in the car when we were little, but, I grew up in a very small town and we could leave our cars running while grocery shopping. We had two station wagons (family with 11 kids) and would lie down in the back with our feet hanging out the back window. No car seats, seat belts, babies on mamas’ laps in the front seat. We walked or rode our bikes everywhere. We would play outside from just after supper until too dark to see. We swam at the outdoor city pool from early morning (swim team practice) until 9:00 closing (only stopping at the 12 and 6 o’clock fire bells to run home to eat lunch and supper). It was a different time back then.

The least dramatic solution

July 26th, 2012
10:31 am

There was a time when the 3 kids were all 3 and under and I had to drive several hours away at night for an emergency. I urgently had to use the restroom (remember, 3 very recent pregnancies!) and only one gas station was open in not the greatest part of town. My choice was 1) get out the stroller, wake and load up the two youngest, take the oldest by the hand, and try to fit us all in the one stall restroom (the stroller would not have fit, btw), OR 2) lock the car doors and run inside alone for 2 minutes to use the restroom. For our SAFETY, I chose option 2. We would have been a completely vulnerable target had I had all four of us outside the car in that location, and I would absolutely make the same choice today.

Once we were leaving Walmart and my daughter wanted to put change in the kettle. We got back in the car and drove to the front entrance. I stopped 15 feet from the kettle and got out myself to put the money in the kettle as the kids were already buckled up. A woman actually yelled at me for “leaving my kids in a car” when I was standing right outside of it!! Some people either totally lack discernment or just search for drama wherever they go.

joe

July 26th, 2012
10:37 am

Back in the 70s, our country still had family values and morals. Today, we don’t…especially the NINJA generation (no income, no job). If the heat doesn’t get the toddlers, some thug will. That’s what you have to look out for now…no matter where you live.

non committal mind reader

July 26th, 2012
10:48 am

TWG, I have been discussing this very thing with my wife (in ref to our two youngest, 4 & 2 years of age).

I am 51. When I was a child:

1) we were allowed to walk to the local store and purchase candy when we were 4 years old. Nobody thought twice about it. ALL parents allowed this.

2) by age 6, my mother would boot us out of the house during the summer at 9 in the morning and say “Don’t come back till lunch time”. Nobody thought twice about this. ALL parents allowed this. Children were expected to find something to do.. to amuse themselves.

3) My mother would go grocery shopping, and leave us the option of going in or staying in the car. Staying in the car meant that all/none of us kids (ages 4-8) could stay in the car with the windows rolled down for the hour that my mother grocery shopped. No one thought a thing about it!

4) We could stay out until the street lights came on (dark). When the street lights came on, we had better be heading home ASAP.

Someone wrote We also drank water from the hose (GASP). We fell, we got back up. We climbed trees, we hiked, we played OUTSIDE.

Things have definately changed.

Yep. I can assure you, too, that we learned a lot more about how the world works, too. We learned about all manner of animals, plants, streams. We had trails through the woods and went on long hikes into (what was to us) wilderness. We packed our own lunches for extended excursions. All at the tender age of SIX. On any given summer day… no matter how hot… we spent at least EIGHT HOURS outside unsupervised from the time we were 6 until 16.

Now kids are packed in all day long for fear of human predators. They watch TV and wait for their parents to entertain them. I REFUSE to entertain children. Read those recent articles on how the French raise their children? They refuse to entertain children as well, and they grow up more socially adjusted and self sufficient than American kids.

I spent more time outdoors in one week than they do all summer long. The kids in my neighborhood know nothing about picking up a machete and cutting a path through the woods, catching frogs, hassling snakes, building tree forts in unseen places. We were allowed to carry a pocket knife! I remember collecting 200 bubblegum wrappers to get my first knife. I can remember hunting frogs with a 22lr rifle… at age 12… with no adults in sight.

The changes in just about 40 years have been dramatic… and not for the better. Kids are playing Xbox when they should be climbing trees, catching frogs, or getting together for some football, baseball, or basketball.

Dixiecrat

July 26th, 2012
11:08 am

My brother and I grew up in the 70’s and we used to ride on the rear jump seat, above the gas tank, facing the rear coming traffic in my mom’s land yacht oldsmobile station wagon. Also, we didn’t have car seats. I remember plenty of times of standing or sitting in the front passenger seat and my mom simultaneously flicking the cigarette ash in the ash tray and holding her arm across my chest as we came to abrupt stops. She would leave us in the car sometimes when she went to the grocery store and told us not to unlock the doors for anyone, period. Also, we played outside until my mom had to yell to have us come in for dinner or to go to bed in the summer. We also didn’t wear helmets to ride our bikes and we were usually telling out buddies to add another brick to the ramp….so we could really go far! Things are different now for sure, but everyone my age (early 40’s) made it okay… things were just different.

kay

July 26th, 2012
11:11 am

Yes, I remember my mom leaving myself and two brothers in the car while she went grocery shopping. We get out the car and cause terror in the shopping area and still always made it back to the car before she got out the store and we’d be there sitting peacefully like angels. Worked everytime.

We also regularly rode in the cargo area of our huge Oldsmobile wagon. On long trips, we got a blanket and slept back there, that’s right, no seat belts.

Funny, I would never ever do that with my children these days, but back then, it just kinda ‘what was’.

kay

July 26th, 2012
11:13 am

Oh, and I’m a YANKEE…. we know how to have a good time too!

Unprotected

July 26th, 2012
11:21 am

In 1958, when I was 8 years old, my mom left me in the car while she took my infant brother to the doctor for a checkup. There was a perv in the parking lot pretending to work on his car, but after a while he used a ruse to maneuver himself over to the car I was in. I was sitting in the back seat, and the windows were down because it was nice outside. He came up to my window and started talking, pleasantly at first, then sexually, and eventually he reached through the window and began touching me. Needless to say, I was terrified, and helpless. He was interrupted only because someone came out of the doctor’s office, and he hurried back to his car and then drove away. I’m 62 years old now, and a day seldom goes by that I don’t recall that incident and how frightened I was. Because of this, I NEVER left my own son in the car, even for a minute. I’ll bet no one on this blog would even think of something like this happening, but I relate this story so that people will realize that there is no limit to the sorts of dangers kids might be exposed to when left alone, in cars or anywhere else. PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN – NEVER LEAVE THEM ALONE!

Kate

July 26th, 2012
11:25 am

In the 70’s kids also rolled around in the back seat of a station wagon while it was moving, rode bikes without helmets, played on concrete playgrounds, got severe sunburns in the summer that no one worried about….long list of changes.

But just because something was “okay” at some point in history doesn’t mean it was ever a good idea. There were consequences to all those things. Sure, some kids got by without a problem. But lots did NOT.

Am I the only one who remembers news stories from that era where the occasional kid who had been left in the car alone put it in “drive” and crashed into something?

Common sense. If you can’t see the car and the kid, you shouldn’t be leaving them.

And a hot car? 95 degrees outside? At those temperatures, a car becomes an oven in MINUTES, not an hour or two. Heat stroke can seriously injure or kill a child or pet left inside in less than 20 minutes. The younger the child, the more vulnerable they are to heat injury. (FWIW, it’s even more dangerous for a dog – they don’t sweat.) That absolutely deserves an emergency response from authorities, and any parent dumb enough to do that deserves to be called….well, dumb.

Augusta

July 26th, 2012
11:30 am

We were getting on the City bus and going to the local mall at 10 years of age.

We would go to the Public swimming pool, by bus, with our friends at the age of 10. We would walk across the street to my Dad’s office, and catch a ride home with him.

We rode out bikes to the neighboring city, along a 9 mile stretch of road.

We would ride out bikes down the the Univ of Colo, and play on their football field, with all the neighborhood kids. I was 12, and there were kids with us ranging from 8-18……We did this every Sunday during the summer.

We would pack a lunch, grab the dog, and head up to the mountains and go hiking, and caving. We’d be gone all day……

If you didn’t have a bicycle, you couldn’t run with us. We left you behind. we were NEVER in the house. Even in winter. Winters in Colorado are awesome as a child. The sledding, the snowball fights, the snow forts, the igloos, etc. My mom would put us on a bus at 5:30 in the mornings, with $10 and a packed lunch, and we would go to the ski resorts, with our friends. I was in high school, my brother in middle school. NO PARENTS. The bus driver was our chaperone. we knew we had to be back on that bus by 3:00 in order to get home by 6.

Awww memories…..

MatthewH

July 26th, 2012
11:32 am

When I was 2 and my brother was 4 (so this would have been 1970), my Mom left us in the car while she went into the dry-cleaners. I wiggled into the front seat and pulled down on the gear shift and put the car into reverse. The car began to back into traffic and my Mom had to come running. The story goes that I was laughing while my older brother was screaming.

TnT's Mom

July 26th, 2012
11:49 am

My mom would offer me a choice to either go in the grocery store with her or sit in the car and listen to music. I was probalby 13 or 14, maybe 15, can’t remember. This was early 80’s. I got bored and decided it would be funny to move the car so that when she came out she would find it. It was not a large parking lot, so it didn’t take long for her to realize what I had done!

We laugh about it now, but she was pretty mad then.

I also remember growin up with out bicycle helmets, seatbelts and such. Somehow we survived. But I think too there were less cars on the road back then. This was in the 70’s.

DB

July 26th, 2012
12:26 pm

They also smoked and drank during pregnancies in the 60’s and 70’s, and thought it was ok in the 60’s to have separate water fountains and toilets for blacks.

I think it was an overreaction to arrest the mother (although i doubt she was gone only 10 minutes — I have NEVER been able to get through the check-out line in less than 15 minutes!)

michelle

July 26th, 2012
12:39 pm

I’m 58 & my parents liked to browse big stores like Zayre, and would let me browse alone for hours! They always told me if I couldn’t find them to stand still in one place and eventually they would find me! A different place & time for sure!