In the summer, public spaces are riddled with warnings about never leaving children in a car unattended. But what about in the fall, when the weather is mild? Apparently, the issue isn’t so cut-and-dry because the entirety of Reddit and Twitter exploded with this debate last week.
A Reddit user posted in the “Am I The Asshole” subreddit to ask whether they were the asshole for calling the police on a woman who left her sleeping baby alone in the car for a few minutes while she ran inside the store.
The Redditor estimated that the child was one or two years old. They say that when they first saw the woman leave the child in the backseat, they assumed it was an accident.
“I said ‘Oh hey, ma’am, your kid is still in there,'” the user wrote. “She said ‘Thanks for your concern, but I’ll only be a minute,’ and kept walking away.”
Stunned and worried, the user walked up to the mom and urged her not to leave the child, even if it was only for a minute. She dismissed the advice as naive and went into the store anyway.
After the woman was gone for two or three minutes, the Redditor called the police. The mom came out just as they arrived, and she was “hysterically crying saying she was just in there for a minute and why was it a police matter etc.”
“Now I’m not sure whether I did the right thing,” the user wrote.
Neither is the internet. Some people sided with the Redditor on this, writing that it’s never OK to leave a child alone in a car.
Others felt that the child was likely relatively safe in the car. They commented that the weather wasn’t dangerous, and kidnapping a child from a locked car in a parking lot is statistically unlikely.
Still other people agree that the mom was in the wrong, but that it wasn’t a situation that warranted the police. After all, calling the cops can have grave consequences, like the mother losing custody of her child.
Clearly, there’s no easy answer in this situation!