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You know what is seriously missing in the suburbs?

Wild coyote? No, we got that covered.

A plethora of tennis skirts and yoga pants? Nope. Plenty of that.

Invitations to trunk shows featuring jewelry and home goods? Check. We’re all set.

What we are seriously missing are drive-thrus. Because there are many times when I need to fill a prescription, get a Starbucks, pick up some food or get a bikini wax but I have kids in the car. What? You’ve never heard of a drive-thru bikini wax?

Anyway, despite my desperation sometimes for a half caf grande soy latte, there is no way I can manage to get four kids in and out of the car. Even two seems a bit arduous. All that buckling. And unbuckling. It’s exhausting.

But are you allowed to leave kids in a car for a couple minutes? Not when it’s 110 degrees outside but on a normal day? When you can see your car? The whole time.

Like for example… let’s say Dylan and Summer wanted pizza on the way home from swimming class.Β  And I decide to illegally park in front of the pizza place while I run in and get them two slices to go. Now let’s say I’m in the place for about 6 minutes and the entire time I can see the car which is about 10 feet from me and locked.

Now what if just as I come out – a police car is pulling up behind my illegally parked car. So I quickly hop into the driver seat and move my minivan but I’m already imagining the dreadful headline… “Mother Leaves Two Kids in Car: Child Services Takes Children, She Keeps Pizza.”

That would really suck. Especially because I don’t even like pizza.

Anyway, in this scenario, I hold my breath as the cop car follows me down the street and then it thankfully turns onto a side street. My panic subsides. I am free! If you consider freedom the same as having four children.

Now of course, I’m not saying any of this happened. Maybe to a friend. A friend name Marge who really wishes there were more drive-thrus in her community.

I don’t want to hear any of you mention that pizza can easily be delivered.

mama bird notes:

Joanna is the winner of the Eleni’s Giveaway! Congrats. And man, do you all love hippos.

And today, we are having a virtual bridal shower for Becky!! So head on over to The Mouthy Housewives and check out our tips for a perfect wedding. Yes, of course they include JΓ€ger.

48 Responses to would you ever leave your kids in the car?

  • MARY says:

    I am just saying, that, IF….. I had a friend named Marge, I would indeed tell her, that she is a pefectly resposible mother who is 100% capable of knowing that it is okay to walk 20 feet away from her kids safe and sound in the car (not in the summer of course) to pick up their nourishment…Now, I don’t have a friend named Marge…but IF I did…I mean…yes, that is what I would tell her…but again, I do not have a friend named Marge….

  • Rhiannon says:

    Yeah, my friend Marge leaves the one buckled in his car seat to return movies to the outdoor redbox 10 feet away from the car.
    When I was a kid my mom always left us in the car. Running errands with kids can be quite the pain in the arse.

  • Jeneen says:

    I totally agree that what Marge did is perfectly fine.

    Actually there is a another parenting blog devoted to this whole debate that I like a lot. http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

    Most of us grew up in the 70s and 80s and were left in the car alone when our parents did errands and we ended up fine. I know my mother would leave me in charge of my 3 other other siblings when I was a little kid and we all grew up just fine


  • Flucky Mom says:

    You crack me up! I have totally done that and I only have 1 kid. But he hates being strapped to the carseat, which makes me think twice before I make a stop anywhere that’s just for 5 mins. Who needs more toilet paper anyway? πŸ˜‰

  • Heather says:

    This is why I’ve (yikes) become a “regular” at the McDonald’s drive thru…they have great latte and you can get apples and bisquits for the kids in the a.m. (which can’t be THAT bad, right?).
    P.S. Maybe I’m delusional, but now I think the lattes are better than Starbucks, but I’m not sure they have soy)

  • Kandi says:

    Oh, I know the guilt Marge is feeling right now! When I was little I stayed in the car all the time but now there is this stigma! And yes, I leave my girls in the car if I need to run into the Redbox or pick up something quick. I always lock them in (obviously I don’t leave them in the car on on hot days)…and they are always fine. I’m glad you wrote about this because I’ve felt like no other Moms do this and it’s good to know that there are. πŸ™‚

  • Cat says:

    I once made an appointment for a bikini wax early in the morning,. When I arrived I found that the girl I go to couldn’t find a sitter for her 3 year old so she would be joining us in the room, definitely squicked me, but that was someone else’s kid. Beyond the unbuckling how would you feel about having them join you?

  • Jami says:

    Marge should totally be able to do this but I completely understand why she feels somewhat criminal doing so. I’ve done this a few times. Pizza place stops, movie returns…and I’m panicked by the time I get back to the car. I actually have heard that someone reported a local mother for running into a gas station to buy a pop and was reported. The police showed up at her home and ticketed her.

  • Becky says:

    I think it’s funny that almost everyone does this (under the right conditions), and yet there is a stigma about it.
    And my friend Mecky sometimes leaves her infant in the car when she forgets something in the house when they are leaving, or running into the post office to get the mail. So no judgement from her. Or me.

  • hokgardner says:

    I do it all the time when I have to run into the pharmacy or the coffee shop – my car is locked and I can see it the whole time.

    My mom left us in the car when we were kids, for a lot longer than I ever do, and we all survived.

  • E says:

    My ma used to leave me in the car when she went to take her cooking classes. She would come out and check during breaks. It was the 70’s, you know! When we moved here I left the kids in the car to go to get coffee. I asked this woman in line if it was the kind of place where people call the cops on you for leaving kids in the car. She lectured me about how one should never do that but then I found out she didn’t actually have kids of her own! IMO, if you can see them, it’s fine, but you tell Marge that parking illegally is not. I have driven an ambulance and when people park illegally they block emergency access.

  • I do this at the dry cleaner’s all the time. It does make me nervous though – regardless of the fact that I can see them and the doors are locked. When they were babies, I never would have considered it. I would have been shocked by the suggestion.

    And when the twins were newborns, one of my favorite things to do on the way home from what seemed to be their daily visits to the pediatrician was to hit the McDonalds drive thru for a diet coke and a large fries. I often wished that all food services would install drive thru windows…

  • Kimberly says:

    Um, yeah. I do it. Pay for gas, run in and get something. I take the keys because my paranoia is not someone stealing HIM, it’s someone stealing my car and realizing later they have him. Which would totally stink.

    In my state, it’s legal for up to 15 minutes or something. Check your laws, KNOW your laws, and then don’t worry. Being in a car (when it’s not 90+ degrees) doesn’t automatically make life more dangerous for children:-)

  • Jen says:

    Yes, I’ve done it, do it. Quick in and out. But what’s my excuse – Texas has drive-thru EVERYTHING. Starbucks, dry cleaners, do all my banking at Chase in the drive-thru. It’s the land of “dont’ get your butt out of the car” if you don’t have to. I have to say that I HATE driving everywhere. Missing my sidewalks of NYC πŸ™‚

  • Megan says:

    A mother of a student of mine left her sleeping toddler in the car and ran into a store to return something. When she returned the police were there and she got a ticket. AND child services called me (the teacher) to determine if she was a responsible, fit parent. Of course she was a wonderful parent that made a mistake. It was a very difficult situation for her and I always think of that when I want to leave my kids in the car for a second.

  • Amanda says:

    I just got a new car with tinted rear windows, and one of my first thoughts was “now i can run into the post office without taking all three kids out of the car without being crucified!” — so I say, thanks for outing Marge!

  • Loukia says:

    Oh I know. I wish so badly that there was more drive-thru! Especially more Starbucks drive-thru – we only have one in the city that I know of and it’s too far away from me.
    I pay for gas at the pumps because I don’t want to leave my boys alone (even if the car is locked) at a gas station, no matter what time, because to many awful things happen at gas stations.
    But – I have gone in to buy them water once and I ran so fast!

  • Denise says:

    With our move came the arrival of a PO Box for our short term apartment stay. Every single day, I want to leave the girls in the car when I just run in to get the mail. AND every single day I talk myself out of it.

  • Leigh Ann says:

    Dammit Meg D stole my comment! But seriously, is Marge worried about her kids, or worried about what others will think?

    Things like this are much less stressful for me since I got a car with tinted windows.

  • Kris says:

    I have been known to call ahead at the drive through pharmacy and ask for additional items…or call a place that I’m getting take out..pay over the phone and ask them to bring it out. Usually people are pretty willing.

  • ErinB says:

    yum. pizza. thats pizza place is good too. whats worse…leaving your child in the car or sending her in for the pizza? :-} everything should be drive through- and only accessible to parents- if you dont have to deal with carseats then get your butt outta the car.

  • Diane says:

    I would tell you that it’s not the cop you need to worry about. It’s your over-zealous neighbors in the hood that will anonymously report you to CPS. There is a breed out there in the burbs that have been known to do that. Not that I would know. I am just thankful that my 12 YO can now be trusted to go inside the store to do my errands while I wait in the car with the kiddies in car seats.

  • Laura H says:

    I know. They totally need drive thru grocery stores and post offices, why has no one thought of this? Calling ahead to the drive-thru pharmacy is genius, though–never thought of that. I have done the marge thing(only when i could see them the whole time and the car was locked, o’course), and i never considered that someone might report me! yikes! But I am totally paranoid about somebody stealing the car and unwittingly taking the kids.

  • Anna says:

    there was a story back in 2008 of a mom getting in big trouble w the law when she left a sleeping toddler in her car to go with her other 2 kids to donate money to the salvation army bell-ringer. full tale if you’re interested: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23594474/

    b4 i moved to the suburbs i couldnt imagine ever leaving my kid unattended in the car, now that i live my car-driven life, i’m not sure….

  • Doug says:

    I’ll use the ATM but I won’t go inside a store or whatever with the little one in the car. My fear is partially that some good samaritan will see a baby in the car, panic, and smash the windows or something. There was a recent high profile very sad parking lot infant death here recently and that tends to set folks on edge for a little while.

  • Aunt Marcia (Guess Whose?) says:

    Dylan is old enough to go into the store, hand the clerk a note that says, ‘2 slices please’ and hand the clerk the money. You wait in the car; with your eyes on Dylan…Or else dress Dylan up with lipstick and heels and she can make believe she’s the Mommy watching her children in the car; while you go in for pizza. You’ll figure something out.

  • trifitmom says:

    oh how i love drive thrus….we have a drive thru pharmacy and i adore it and the lady behind that window. i believe they should have drive thru supermarkets…..oh how easier life wld be…..somebody i know left her kids in the car while se went to get a bagel…..and a man waited for her return to yell at her and tell her how unsafe that was……let’s call her marge…..

  • Jen says:

    I live in a small town, where I routinely leave my boys in the running car while I run in to the grocery store/pharmacy/post office…but when I go to the city I get super conflicted about it and I’m way more careful.
    Really, you just can’t beat a drive-through Starbucks, bank, and restaurant…if only they would do groceries too…

  • Michelle says:

    Our family is currently in the process of relocating, so I am living in an apartment ALONE with a 3 month old and a 3 year old in a new town while starting a new job. I have never, ever left my children in the car, but now I don’t have a choice! I mean, seriously, I can’t even take my trash out or get the mail!

  • Michelle says:

    BTW, Jen- I have AND use (every week) a drive thru grocery service in my new town. It is simply divine! My family probably wouldn’t eat if it weren’t for that!

  • sara says:

    Wow – I leave my two little ones strapped in while I get bagels/coffee, whatever. As long as you can see the car, it’s fine. geeeeeezzz
    Throw Marge a bone, Kelcey πŸ™‚

  • Toni says:

    In my community they almost made it illegal to leave your child while returning the shopping cart. Thanks heavens some On-the-Ball moms got involved and pointed out how ridiculous they were being!

    90 seconds for pizza is A-okay. 90 minutes at the pub, now that’s a different story.

  • Betsy says:

    A neighbor of mine got a lecture from her daughter’s preschool after leaving her other 2 in the car in front of hte school while she picked up her daughter. The kicker. Another neighbor was standing next to the car watching the girls.

  • Slow Panic says:

    I leave my kids in the car. The oldest (12) even when I can’t see him, if I’m only going to be gone for a few minutes — I trust him not to open the window or door….

    Really though EVERY store should have a drive thru.

  • Tell Marge to set the parking brake, don’t park on an incline, and please, please, please don’t yell at the middle-aged mother who is loitering next to the car. She is making sure that it is 90 seconds for pizza and not 90 minutes for beer.

  • Okay, I’m going to rain on your parade a bit. Tell Marge to make sure she doesn’t leave her keys in the car and that she locks the doors. In Austin, someone robbed a bank, ran to the parking lot next door and stole a car with keys in the ignition, and a kid in the back!

  • ~Laura says:

    OMG, do you not have drive through starbucks by you?? I have often thought this same thing. Why no drive through post office or grocery store? It would be heaven.

  • Honest Mum says:

    My big fear is what if I can’t open the car again. My parents BMW sometimes gets a lock and as it’s electronic it’s hard to fix. I would not be able to cope if that happened with my baby in the car. Stranger things have happened. I suppose it’s down to the individual and how comfortable you feel.

kelcey kintner