Parents Debate Whether or Not It Is Acceptable to Leave Their Kids in Their Car During Errands to Protect Them From COVID

Parents Debate Whether or Not It Is Acceptable to Leave Their Kids in Their Car During Errands to Protect Them From COVID

In a question submitted to Slate, parents debate whether it is acceptable to leave their kids in the car while they run errands in an attempt to shield them from COVID. Slate has a parenting column, called Care and Feeding, in which parents submit questions looking for advice.

One of the most recent, and relevant questions submitted was “is it acceptable, during a pandemic, to leave a 7-year-old in a locked and properly ventilated car while quickly running into the store? Has the societal wave shifted back to 1970s parenting on this topic?”

Parents Debate Whether or Not It Is Acceptable to Leave Their Kids in Their Car During Errands to Protect Them From COVID

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The question was submitted by Motor Mom in Michigan. In response to whether or not COVID makes it acceptable to leave kids in a car, Slate said this:

“I’m not an authority on the relative risks here, but I personally won’t do more than grab curbside pickup or something else that can be completed in fewer than five minutes while my own 2013 model remains in my line of sight and close enough for me to get to her in seconds.”

Slate continued by saying, “And honestly, I still feel like the worst parent on the face of the Earth each time.”


The columnist then makes a good point. “Obviously bringing your little one inside of a business isn’t ideal right now, but you can do a lot to protect them there; if you leave them in the car and something goes wrong, the dangers are the same as they ever were. Let’s just both agree not to do it anymore,” they concluded.

And as Cafe Mom reported, some commenters agreed with Slate. “Please don’t leave your child in the car. Even if it’s locked and you think there’s enough ventilation, even 5 minutes can be long enough for something terrible to happen,” one commenter wrote. “And most people passing by can’t just assume you’ve gone into the store for only 5 minutes and the next thing you know the police are showing up. I know it’s not convenient and it seems a lot better than potentially exposing them to COVID but it’s still not worth the risk.”

However, others revealed that they do, in fact, leave their children in the car. And believe they’re children are perfectly safe.


“I leave my kids in the car (ages 10 and 5, never the younger one alone) while I run into a store if it’s going to be ten minutes or less, if it’s not terribly hot or cold. Windows cracked for air. And I did this before the virus as well. My older child will sit in the driver’s seat and knows to honk the horn incessantly if someone bothers them,” one commenter wrote.

It is important to note that, as Kids and Cars reports, “the inside of a vehicle heats up VERY quickly! Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees in minutes. Eighty-percent of the increase in temperature happens in the first 10 minutes.”

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Already this year, in 2020, 15 kids have passed away as a result of being left in a hot car. In 2019, 53 kids had died.

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