Dear Urban Diplomat: am I a delinquent mom for leaving my six-year-old in a car?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
I recently left my six-year-old son in the car while I ran into a store. The window was down, he was engrossed in his iPad, the car was locked, and I could see him clearly from inside. I was gone less than five minutes. The next day, I see photos of my son and my licence plate on a local mommy blog, with the caption: “Anyone know this delinquent ‘mother’? Disgusting! She should be in jail.” At last check, it had 30 comments, all assenting and with varying degrees of vitriol. What should I do? Fight back?
—Lynched Online, The Beach
I wouldn’t, since there are no winners in cyber-sniping. Plus, the Web-enhanced mob of justice-seeking mothers is right. You shouldn’t leave a six-year-old in a car—period. Ten is the cut-off age, according to child abandonment laws, when your child’s life or health is likely to be endangered. Whether five minutes alone in the car constitutes abandonment is debatable, but why risk it? Next time, drag Junior and his iPad inside with you, and avoid both a blogful of angry commenters and a stint in the slammer.
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