Anonymous asked in Pregnancy & ParentingParenting · 1 decade ago

Can Social Services really take your children for something like this?

Before anyone else says it: Yes I know this woman was over stepping her bounds.

I was unloading the groceries from my car and taking them into my house. I left the kids in their car seats in the car with the AC still running and my driver door open as I went back and forth from the trunk to the front door. My door is literally 25 feet from where my car is parked in the driveway. A nosey woman walking her dog had approached my drive way as I had my back turned to set the bags in the door. When I turned around she said "You know, your children can be taken from you because you left them in the car".

Is that really true? Will being 25 feet from my kids in the car just to set 5 bags of groceries in the house be enough for CPS to take my children from me if someone decided to report me?


*If being 25 feet away from my kids safely buckled into the car and in the AC makes me a neglectful mom, then I guess leaving my kids in the house napping to walk 40 feet from my house to the mail box to check the mail is abandonment, huh? :)

29 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    No that's ridiculous. Your kids get at least 25 feet from you just playing in the backyard. You were in your own driveway and were just putting the groceries into the doorway, not going all the way to the kitchen and back each time. In reality your children are safer waiting in the car while you unload than alone in the house while you go out to the car and back.

    EDIT: For the record, the woman who was arrested for leaving her baby in the car while she dropped off coins in a donation box was not prosecuted and did not lose her child.

    Here is a link and quote:

    "Treffly Coyne, 36, was set to go on trial Thursday on misdemeanor charges of child endangerment and obstructing a peace officer. But the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office found the evidence did not support the charges, sources said.

    Prosecutors will drop the case at a Thursday court appearance in Bridgeview, sources said."

    Here is something I found on Texas law regarding this....

    "Texas is one of a handful of states that criminalize the act of knowingly or intentionally leaving your child in a vehicle. However, <<the law is not going to kick in if you simply pull up to a curb and quickly step out of the car and drop an envelop in a mailbox all while Junior is fast asleep in the backseat.>>

    The Law of Five and Seven

    The key numbers to remember are five and seven. That is, if you leave a child age seven or under alone in a vehicle for five minutes or more, the law kicks in. Also, if you leave you child in the vehicle for more than five minutes with another person age 14 or under the law applies.

    You can face a Class C misdemeanor, which may translate into two years behind bars and/or a fine of up to $10,000."

  • 1 decade ago

    I personally don't think so...I DO know of a situation where a father very nearly lost visitation of his children for a REAL case. My friends ex-husband had visitation of his 3 year old son and was running errands when the boy fell asleep in his seat. When they got home the father left him in the seat in the car and went to help the landlord move a piece of furniture. When he came back ( supposidly 30 minutes MAX later) there was a cop sitting in the back seat of his ( the fathers) car with the child....and the cop had been there 30 minutes. He swears he only left the child for 30 minutes, but it was long enough for someone to notice AND for the police to arrive. He got a suspended 30 day jail sentence and I think a $500 fine. He was told that if he was caught doing ANYTHING that could b considered neglect he would have to serve his sentence.

    I have 3 children, and I HAVE left them in the car for a minute while I go in my house to go to the bathroom ( I have dumping syndrome and sometimes I do not have time to grab kids), or while I run into the gas station to pay, but at the gas station the front of the store is plate glass and I can see my entire van. If you think about it any different if you leave them unattended in the house to go get the groceries out of the car? they are still "alone"...

    Source(s): mom of 3 (13,9,3)
  • 1 decade ago

    OMG no. You didn't do anything wrong at all.

    I think it makes a lot more sense then bringing them in and leaving them unsupervised in the house where goodness knows what could happen, right?

    This woman is a nutcase and was not using common sense and also being very rude.

    I have twins and had to bring them in and out one-at-a-time for a long time. Now I have twin 2 year olds and a 5 month old. If I leave the house alone then I MUST leave 1 or two of them in the car while I get the others.

    People are psycho.

    If you live in tha hood or something then I wouldn't do it but if you live in a decent neighborhood then what is the problem? You're right there!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If you left the kids in the car while you went to the bank and they were left unattended...I can see how that would be an issue.

    If you went to the grocery store and left the kids in the car alone for 20 minutes...I can see how that would be an issue.

    If you locked the kids in the car and went into the house to take a phone call or take a nap...I can see how that would be an issue.

    If you walked 20 feet from your car while it was still running to drop grocery bags at the front door...then no...that's ludicrous. You had the air on, the children are restrained in their seats, you were within earshot and line of sight.

    The woman is being nosey and needs to mind her own business.

    I have a second fridge in the garage, and it's about 15 feet from where I park my car, I leave my son in the nice cool car, while I sweat my asss off putting groceries away where he can see me and I can see him...if anything...I'm being kind and sparing him from the heat for a few more precious moments before we have to go into the hot damn house.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 5 years ago

    Never, even if there was a reason for them to remove a child that they thought was at threat they would have to get a court order if it was a real emergancy then they would get the police to take them in to protection, if there is absolutely no reason tgen no way woukd they just take a child of you! If this person does ring child protection/social services they will come out just to check if the kids are really at any tgreat or if its just a stupid person making up stories, dont worry

  • 1 decade ago

    First, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, so don't take it as such.

    Depends on the CPS agent involved and the state you're in as to what constitutes neglect or endangerment, but I'd be inclined to say that you wouldn't ultimately lose custody even if you did have them removed temporarily, which I doubt would happen anyway. Most CPS workers aren't Nazis that just go ripping children away from their parents (those are just the ones you read about in the papers). Most would probably just warn you about leaving your children unattended and might drop by the house to make sure they weren't being neglected in other ways.

    Keep in mind that to deprive a parent of custody on other than a temporary emergency basis, most states require the state to prove by clear and convincing evidence that you are neglecting or endangering your children. That's a step below beyond a reasonable doubt(~95-99%), but a step above preponderance of the evidence (>50%). That's going to be a very hard burden to carry if you were only a few feet away, and they were in no danger from heat or another external factor.

    I wouldn't worry too much about it, but maybe next time the better thing to do would be remove the kids first and the groceries second. You certainly won't get them removed from your care for leaving them in the house.

  • Moon
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I think she meant it as they could be kidnapped.

    I am no expert or anything, but I don't think CPS can take them from what you described. You had the AC running and the car was on your own property and you were just feet away. However, some CPS workers do not always use common sense.

    From now on, I suggest that you put the children in the house first and then bring the groceries in. That way Miss Nosey does not see you doing that again.

  • No, they can't take your children away for leaving them in a running car, with the AC on, and the door open while you unloaded a few bags within a few feet from your car. Don't sweat it.

  • 1 decade ago

    No that way. You left the car for a second to drop the groceries off at the door. They never left your site. If you left them in the car and piddled around in your house they may have a case but they usually give parenting classes for things like that not immedietly taking your kids away. Sounds like that lady had a bug up her butt.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That's just ridiculous! When I was little my parents would leave us in the car when they went in the store or gas station, and we were perfectly fine. They didn't always leave the air conditioner on, either. They had six kids and none of them got taken away by CPS.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.