Blog entry

Is it ever ok to leave your child in the car ?

When you’re not a parent you take so many things for granted . It not that your selfish it just because you don’t realise that they can become more complicated once you have had children. This can be day-to-day things like going to the toilet by yourself to being able to leave the house at the drop of a hat . Recently I have  come across another thing I took completely for granted and it has seriously made me think about how I should respond to it .

I have now been a mommy for 9 months and I have come across the situation of is it ok to leave your child in the car. I don’t mean whilst you go out for lunch or go shopping ( I don’t do this honestly ) . I mean whilst you go and pay for petrol or pop in the shop to get a pint of milk . This has sparked many a conversations recently with my friends with people having such mixed opinions on it . My thoughts on this is its ok to leave her in the car whilst I pay for petrol but as long as I can see her  and there is no queue . This does however make me really nervous and I run back to my car as soon as I have paid . I have once pulled my card out too early and  ran off with the cashier called me back. This is why where I can I try to go to pay at the pump petrol stations so I don’t have this problem.


So I thought I would ask some fellow bloggers to see what they thought on this topic. There was a very mixed bunch of opinions.

No. I don’t even leave the dog in the car if I can help it. Always filed car with petrol when we were both there, or when she wasn’t with me. Maybe done it once or twice, but try to plan not to. And never if out of sight. Never into a shop, always took her. I can see that if you have more than 1 it would be trickier, but I’d just plan around it. In US is illegal in many states.

Naomi (Tattooed Mummy’s randoms)

No! You don’t know what’s around the corner. I pay at pump so I don’t have to leave them in the car.

Jaymee ( The mum dairies)

I’ve read too many horror stories about leaving young children in the car, especially during the Summer; and this always plays on my mind when I’m in relevant situations. So, I won’t leave my child in the car alone, for more than a few seconds to a minute or so; and I mostly must be able to see him. If I ever have to do this, I’ll make sure the windows are not all fully rolled up, so that fresh air comes in. I’m rarely ever in situations when I consider it with my toddler and my preference is never to leave him, in case something bad happens.

Mo ( Adventures of a novice mum)

I wouldn’t leave my six month old but have felt bad for having to wake them. I have visions of the car being stolen.

Natalie ( Mum Worthy)

I am so with you on this one. I do worry someone will take my car with Ava in it . I’m sure they would soon return her and the car once she starts screaming on volume 100 !

Paying at the pump seems to be a big favourite amongst most for many different reasons convenience and also safety.

I try to use pay at pump or avoid getting petrol if have the kids with me, but on the rare occasion I’ve had to I’ve left them – getting a 5yo, 3yo and 1yo out of the car and across the forecourt is much more dangerous than leaving them for two minutes where I can still see them.

Rachel ( Coffee,cake,kids)

Typically I pay at the pump in petrol stations where I can, otherwise I’m happy to leave them in the car for a few minutes just to go and pay – but I’m always looking through the window to keep an eye on the car. If I’m running into a local shop for a pint of milk, then I’ll leave them in the car then too, but again they have big windows at the shop front, although I’d never dream of leaving them to go into a supermarket though! It’s hard work getting two out of the car just to run in to grab a couple of bits.
Having said that, I will avoid when I can and try to do things like that when the boys are at home, or if someone else is in the car with me, but it’s just not always possible! My parents left all of us four in the car on our own.. and we’re fine!

Jade ( Raising the rings )

I have done it in the past but I do make sure it’s not too hot or too cold before I do it and other things like: how long will I be and is he asleep. It’s usually for paying for fuel (although then I do pay at pump and now we’ve got an electric car) or nipping into the corner shop. If I’m expecting to be longer than a few minutes then I take him with me. I would never leave him in the car if I was going to the supermarket though.
I’m sure my mum must have left me/my brother in the car when we were younger. I’m sure she tells me how she’d leave my brother and I in the double buggy outside the corner shop while she dashed in because the corner shop was too small for her double width buggy.
I know that some children have lost their lives because they have been “forgotten” in the car. We use an app called Waze as a sat nav and it has an alert that it plays after the “you’ve arrived at your destination” one and it’s to remind you to get your kids out the car. I imagine that if you’re busy and trying to do lots of things it is really helpful. It makes me chuckle when it plays and Jaxon isn’t in the car!

Hannah ( Hannah says)

The age of the child seemed to be a turning point in people’s opinions . Having older siblings seems to make it easier for people to be able to leave their children in the car.

I have always left mine in the van while I pay for fuel from around the age they understand (around 3) – but locked in and only when I can see the van the entire time. I’d never do any shopping and wouldn’t leave them if there’s a queue.

Jenny ( The Brick castle)

I usually pay at pump but if not they stay in the car with the doors locked. It’s safer for them there than unbuckling them and walking them across a busy forecourt (especially the way the kids around here just pull off without looking)….plus it’s cheaper as they always want crisps or chocolate

Claire ( Emmy’s Mummy)


Is todays society going mad that we cannot leave our children alone for 2 minutes to go and pay for petrol . I know my parents left me in the car and I’m ok , I supposes it a completely different world now !. What would you do in this situation ?


My Random Musings


  • Rachel Craig

    Parental Responsibility, children are Dependent on others for their NEEDS. Safety is an ISSUE. Maybe Society and Businesses NEED to more. Yet much has been done. I find that at petrol stations there is a kiosk which is staffed where I can drive my car up to in order to pay for fuel, all passengers remain in car with me. As I only need to roll down window to interact with staff and make payment.

    At Supermarket there are many parking spaces which are clearly allocated for families. Allowing parent /s to exit car with children / passengers and pedestrian pathway close by to assist in regards to safety. Many prams are designed that car seat system fits onto pram frame, so no need to disturb baby. Just remove car seat from car and fix it securely on car frame. Family parking spaces are wide in order to allow for this and other actions needed to maintain Child Safety.

    Child Safety is anImportant ISSUE. Leaving a baby or child in a car without a Responsible Adult carries a Risk. Why would anyone want to take any chance with a child’s Safety. If parents feel more needs to be done within their Community maybe their Responsibility is to highlight that to the appropriate Authorities etc.

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