Two weeks ago, I stopped by the bank to make a withdrawal. This bank has large plate glass windows across the entire front, and the parking space where I left my car was about 20 feet from the door.
I left my children in the car.
They were all buckled in and clearly within my view, and frankly I felt that they were perfectly safe. However, a gentleman (to use the term loosely) took strong exception to my obvious complete lack of parenting skills, and berated me quite thoroughly for my idiocy in supposing that my children could possibly be alright in the car without me.
Now that I've received some legal council, I'm feeling confident enough in my parenting abilities to post about it here, where the rest of world can agree with him if they like.
As it turns out, this particular state does not have a law that specifically deals with leaving children unattended in a vehicle. According to my lawyer that would fall under general neglect of a minor child, and she felt that as long as the vehicle was within sight or sound, and especially given that my oldest is seven and all three were buckled in, I had clearly not acted in a negligent manner.
(Full Disclosure: "My lawyer" is actually a woman I know from Knit Night, but she is a real lawyer who really specializes in laws dealing with children and child safety...whatever that particular legal branch is.)
Pertinent to the topic at hand, I have added a new blog to my blog-roll. Free-Range Kids was started by a columnist who ended up doing the talk-show circuit labeled "America's Worst Mom?" after writing a column in which she shared how she had allowed her nine-year-old son, after careful coaching, to ride the New York Subway by himself. I thought this post in particular was very interesting, since abduction is probably one of the main fears of parents these days. Thank-you, media. It turns out, a person is three times more likely to be hit by lightning than abducted by a stranger. Knowing that made me feel so much better. Because, really? How much time does the average parent spend preparing their child for an inevitable lightning-strike, and losing sleep over when it will happen?
Next time some creepy guy at the bank decides to tell me off for not parenting the way he thinks I should, I'll just say "Thanks for your concern, but my children are just fine."