If I called the police on you this afternoon: I'm sorry I ruined your day | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, July 03, 2008

If I called the police on you this afternoon: I'm sorry I ruined your day

I have debated whether or not I would blog about why I called the police today, but decided that I should. It's just too important not to.

So here goes:

I ran down to the store to grab baby wipes and a couple other things this afternoon. I was in the store for maybe 20-30 minutes. Even though I wasn't getting much, one of the things I was buying was a 4th of July outfit for Bria, who has a future as a fashion designer or the fashion police. Some notable quotes from our outing today were, "I don't want to look CUTE, I want to look COOL!" and "I am not a cutie, I am a cooooooool girl!" So, understandably, that part took a little longer than I had hoped.

Also, the lines were pretty long. Must have been the day before the 4th get everything you need for your barbecue rush. So, when I finally got out to my incredibly hot car I was very tired and really just wanted to go home and sit down in the air conditioning and contemplate how I ever survived living in the Phoenix area. Unfortunately, that didn't get to happen, at least not right away.

Because, as I was climbing into my van, I noticed that the car parked next to me had three kids inside. A baby, a 3-ish year old, and maybe a 5-ish year old, if I judge by the sizes of my own children. The windows were all rolled up, and since it was over 100 degrees I freaked out a little and immediately called 911. When I got out to read the license plate number to dispatch, I realized the car was running, so at least they weren't all going to die in there. However, that's just as negligent, and when I told the dispatcher that the car was on after all, she said, "Well, that's good, but they still can't be in there alone and an officer is on the way."

I had to stay and flag down the police car so he knew where in the vast parking lot we were, and when he got out and looked in the car, he was obviously angry. He asked me a couple questions and then told me I could leave. Another officer drove up just as I was leaving, and they opened the door to the car and talked to the oldest child. (Also, the two older kids didn't have any sort of car seat/booster, and the 5-ish year old girl was sitting in the front seat, which is a whole 'nother ball of wax that I may have tsk-tsked, but not called the police over.)

I feel a little bad that I most definitely ruined the day of the person who was in charge of those children. I know as well as anyone else just how hard it is to take 3 small kids into the store if you only have to grab a couple things. I know we all make mistakes. And I certainly would never want to walk out to the parking lot and be greeted by two cops because I made an error in judgment. I worried about all those things as I was talking to the dispatch, but I never hesitated in making the call, because I have seen first hand the devastation that can happen when a child is left in a car on a hot summer day. Not to mention things like kidnapping and having your kid decide to put the car in gear just to see what happens.

I stand by my decision to call, and I sincerely hope someone out there will make better choices where their children are concerned after this.

I certainly learned quite a few things from my experience today. One of them being that my hands shake and my heart beats incredibly fast when I call 911. Hopefully I'll not have to ever do it again.

18 comments :

  1. I've actually called 911 a few times... and you did the right thing, for sure.
    You are my hero.

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  2. You totally did the right thing and I would have done the same thing in your situation....

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  3. I would have done EXACTLY the same thing. Period.

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  4. You did exactly what you should have done. They have had way to many kids die from being left in the car. Jake had to call about a month ago in st george when there was a 2 year old asleep in a car. the dad was gone for atlest 45 mins.. Thanks agian and you saved some lives today!

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  5. You did exactly what should have been done. Living in Texas, it was a monthly occurance, a death of a child by being left in a car. One little boy was fine the windows rolled down, it was a cool day. But..he tried to get out of his seat, somehow flipped forward and hung himself on his own seat belt. No sense of urgency is worth leaving your child for a second. I really try to remember that story everytime I lug my three little girls into the store for only one gallon of milk!

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  6. Hi Lara. This would've been a tough decision for me. After the experience you went through, I can see why you called 911. Ultimately, I probably would have done the same thing, though I may have waited by the car until the mom came out, or for 10 minutes and then called, whichever was first, and balled her out when she got there. My problem is that no doubt CPS was called to investigate, and I hate CPS because I have seen too many situations when CPS made a bad judgement call. (No, I have never had CPS called on me) I would wonder things like, (and I'm sure you have also wonedred about this, knowing how you look at things from every angle)did the mom just make a mistake, like we all do as parents, and will she ever do a stupid thing like that again? If the answer is no, she'll never do that again, then I think CPS should leave her alone, taking the kids will do far more damage to them than letting them go home with their mother. But how do you tell? Since she didn't have carseats for them, there is a good chance she is an irresponsible parent. But what if she just doesn't have the money to buy carseats? Hopefully the police have a program to ensure she gets carseats for them if she can't afford them. So many things to consider, that you don't know when you made that call, so it is probably a good thing you did call. I just hope if she really is a good mom who just made a stupid mistake that they won't press any charges and will not take her kids. But that is doubtful. As a child, my mom did daycare and I remember being in the car with the other kids (usually 7 or more, no carseats, piled in a little datsun car and in the back hatch as well), and we would wait in the car while she ran in to get a few or more things from the grocery store. In fact, there were usually 4 or 5 cars in the small parking lot that looked the same as hers, all loaded with un-attended kids. It was commonplace and acceptable then. I know society is more informed today, and possibly more dangerous, so it is not acceptable now. But I also think that society as a whole is far too paranoid, they are always searching to blame someone, and there can be no more "accidents", everything is a result of "irresponsible parenting" and punishable by CPS. I know over a handful of people whom I would consider to be great parents, and they all have left their children in the car while they ran in to get something. Thankfully, nothing bad happened when it could have. I know this is an earful. If anything, I have resolved never to leave my children unattended in a car, even if I am just going inside a glass door from the curb and can see them the whole time. Anyways, I support your decision, and whatever happened to those three children, they ought to be safe now, which is most important of all. Your friend, Amanda

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  7. You acted instinctively, and I think 99.9% of instinct is actually the Spirit, anyway! (The .1& being logic.) Good job!

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  8. You made a great call!!! I did that once cuz I saw some young kids go into a Walmart in the middle of the summer, leaving their tiny little puppy in the back of their van. They opened up the back of the van, made sure the puppy was surrounded by BLANKETS, shut the door and went inside. Made me so mad! By the time the cops got there, they were gone. Don't people watch the news??? Seriously!

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  9. It makes me sick how irresponsible parents can be...there is no doubt that as parents, we all make mistakes. But when it comes to the well being of our children? It's sad that someone thought it okay to leave there kids in the car, even with the car on...someone could have easily stolen the car! Small town or not, you can never be too careful. I'm sure whoever it was was ticked that the police were there...but hopefully it was a wake up call and a lesson not to do it again!

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  10. I agree, you definitely did the right thing. I'm glad that you know you did. My brother ran himself over as a toddler when my mom left the car running and he shifted gears and jumped out. It happens and you cannot be too care ful. There was a news story out here this past week about a mom who left a 14th month old in the car outside a store with the windows up for atleast 20 or so minutes. Luckily someone saw and called the police and the baby was okay. It had everyone in an uproar as it well should have.

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  11. I also agree. You would really feel bad if something awful happened because you were a little reluctant to call the police. Good job.

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  12. You definitely did the right thing. Good for you.

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  13. I think you did the right thing.

    I had to call the police on my neighbors kids once. They had the keys to their mom's car and were taking turns locking each other in the trunk! Yikes.

    I have to say though, that I have left my kids alone in the car for a couple of minutes. Never when it's particularly hot or cold outside, I always roll the windows down a teeny bit, and I lock the car but don't leave it running.

    I hate doing it though - but I HAVE done it. I've always wondered exactly what the law is on this - I mean, there's got to be an age where it's OK... right? I wonder.My kids are 8 and 5. Oh, and not that it really makes a difference, but I never do it when there is just one kid in the car - just when it's both of them.

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  14. I definitely think you did the right thing. There just really is no reason to leave a child alone in a car. It's bad enough that they had no proper car seats, but what if the engine had stalled, and the air conditioning cut off? Pick a scenario, choose a reason; anything could have happened. I'm glad you were there!

    Oh, and as to the previous post, you seem like a kindred spirit to me!

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  15. I would have panicked if I saw that.. and would have called 911.. what if this was someone WATCHING someone elses kids... KWIM??

    You know..many people would think TWICE about leaving a million dollars sitting in their cars...

    Yet some dont' think twice about leaving their children...

    $$ is replaceable..
    Our children never will be!!

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  16. I think you did the right thing hands down. If someone else was watching them in the car then it's the cops job to sort it out. Chances are no one was watching them. I don't think there is ever a reason to leave your kids in the car. even if you're just running in the station to pay for your gas. Kids have been taken that way. I'm glad you were thre watching out for those kids. You totally did hte right thing and you shouldn't feel bad about it at all. As a matter of fact you are higher on my list of great peas now! ;) :D LOL

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  17. You made the only decision you could have made!

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  18. You did the right thing by calling. Imagine how much worse their day would have been if their kids would have perished in the car, and you've had experience with that. I remember growing up in AZ, at least 2 or 3 times a summer, you would hear of children or pets being left in the car and dying from the heat. Even now that I live in a much cooler place, I see kids and pets left in cars "for just a minute" and I just shake my head.

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