Toddler health

Alone in the car

Our expert explains why you should never leave your child in the car

By Kathy Lynn
Alone in the car

Q: Is it OK to leave my toddler in the car, in the car seat, ignition off, while I run into the store?

A: It is so tempting to leave your child in the car when you are going to be away only for a moment. Getting her out of the car seat, bringing her with you into the store and then having to handle her along with your purchases can feel truly overwhelming.

However, there are just too many things that can go wrong if you leave your child. When you think you will be only a moment, the cashier takes a phone call, you can’t quickly find the product you need, the store is unusually busy, or a friend stops you and wants to chat. Suddenly, your quick trip takes much longer than planned.

Toddlers get bored quickly and are also ingenious at getting out of their seats. Your toddler will want to join you and will work hard to leave the car. When she tries to escape, she may get tangled up in the seat straps and injure herself, or she may actually get out of the car and find herself alone on the street or sidewalk.

If your child was asleep and awakens to find you missing, she will be anxious and scared.

The risks are too great to leave her alone in the car. So, in other words, just bring her along.

This article was originally published on Jan 25, 2008

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