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It’s not 1977 & we’re not in Kansas anymore!

One of my earliest memories is being all of about 5 or 6 years old, sitting with my little brother and cousin in the back of my mom’s car (or lying in the back window, remember how we could do that in the good old days?)  and my mom pulling into the car park at Blue Route shopping center and telling us kids she was just popping into Pick ‘n Pay for bread and milk quickly and we were to stay in the car, not take sweets from strangers or talk to anyone.

The year… probably around 1977 or there abouts.

Fast forward nearly 40 years and you bet parents wouldn’t dream of doing that anymore right? We live in a different time, a different era. We know about child trafficking rings and are bombarded with news of kidnappings and high jackings, of families being high jacked and the thieves driving off with the small children still in the car, hell, just a couple of week’s ago we were all horrified by the news of a 5 year old boy being stabbed multiple times after his dad was high jacked and he was forced to remain in the car.

The sad reality is, we’re not safe anywhere anymore, and our children are more vulnerable than ever. Perceived danger lurks around every corner and we have adapted our parenting styles to meet the needs and times we live in. We go a step further than just telling our children not to take sweets from strangers, which was 1977’s version of stranger danger and instead teach our children what to do in a high jacking or house robbery.

So imagine my horror, when, at 11h30 in the year 2015, as I was pulling out of my parking bay at the Boskruin Shopping Centre, when I looked into the car next to mine and discovered a toddler, strapped into a car seat, completely alone in a locked car in the car park. At first I thought I must be seeing things, surely NO ONE does that in 2015?? So I stopped and checked and sure enough, there was a small toddler/baby strapped into the car, totally alone and looking at me with rather big, frightened eyes.

I really debated what to do from there. What is it about these types of situations where were really just don’t want to make a fuss? We don’t want to be the cause of unpleasantness or a scene. I remember the first words through my head were that this was none of my business and I should stay out of it.

But I couldn’t. My conscience just wouldn’t let me.

So I waited for the driver and assumed parent/guardian of the child to come out of the shops. I called over a car guard and asked him if he knew who was driving the car, he said that a lady had gone into the doggy parlor with her dogs and left the child in the car asking him to keep an eye… yup and unarmed car guard. This made me even madder! I get it’s a pain in the arse, lugging a baby with you to take your dogs to the parlous but seriously…. this is a child’s safety we’re talking about here.

So I waited some more and about 5 minutes later, the lady comes out of the doggy parlor and to her car, it was then that I realized, it wasn’t mom being irresponsible, it was granny!

I tried not to go all cray cray on her but landed up demanding to know if she was utterly demented leaving a small child like that alone in a car in a car park.

Her response…. I was only away from the car for a few minutes.

LADY! High jackings, fires, kidnappings, accidents happen in SECONDS! Forget your few minutes! SECONDS is all it would have taken for disaster to have struck and that innocent child to have been trapped in the car seat and UNABLE TO HELP him\herself!

You know what she told me?

To mind my own business!

I’ve really debated about whether or not to post the picture I snapped of her car here. I realize she’s an old lady, who grew up and probably parented her children in a different era, a different time to what we’re dealing with now, I realize there was no malicious intent in what she did today, just a lack of understanding of the times we live in.

But then I also thought why a child of that age would be with granny at 11h30 on a Thursday morning and I’m willing to bet it’s because mom works and mom is entrusting her precious child to granny and granny is playing Russian roulette with precious child’s safety in busy car parks. And I wonder if mom knows that granny may make a habit of such carelessness and poor judgement with her child’s safety and that if it was me, and that was my child, I’d want to know so that I could put a stop to the irresponsible behavior….

So here you go, if this is your Mom or your Mom in laws car, she’s leaving your small toddler unattended and locked in the car and seems to think that just because it’s for a couple of minutes that there is no danger. Please put a stop to this.

Boskruin Car

 

P.S. saying that you’d made the car guard away is also not an acceptable deterrent!

Image credit: http://jalopnik.com/is-it-okay-to-leave-your-kid-in-a-car-if-youre-not-an-i-1702237113

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15 Comments

  • Reply Mom of three

    Sharon – this really broke my heart. I have hand it to you Maam. You did what you had to. Its simply mother hook instincts.

    June 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm
  • Reply paddatjiesema

    I once left the kids (6 and 3 years old) in the car while I went to the ATM. I parked right in front of the ATM, locked the car doors, and literally watched them the whole time. And the stress was too much for me to handle. I kept on thinking I’m going to look at the ATM screen and when I look back they’re going to be gone…..but on the other hand, I did loose the 3 year old in a shopping mall once, so I know the panic that goes with a missing child

    June 11, 2015 at 3:23 pm
  • Reply Suzanna Catherine

    I’m from “granny’s” generation. Thankfully, I am not of her mindset! I applaud your actions wholeheartedly – you did the RIGHT THING!!

    Frankly, I think you should post that picture of her car on Twitter. Don’t know what your laws are about that – maybe it’s prohibited – but she definitely needs an attitude adjustment regarding the care of her grandchild. Just saying…

    I’m sure the mother of that toddler would appreciate knowing what is really going on during the days when Granny is supposed to be the adult in charge.

    Again, thank YOU for being the concerned adult in this situation.

    June 11, 2015 at 4:26 pm
  • Reply Heather

    At least you advocated for that child.
    Never mind hi-jackings etc what about a kid in a car in the heat of the day at 11:30am – that’s dangerous.

    June 11, 2015 at 10:50 pm
  • Reply catjuggles

    One of my moms friends drive around her grandchildren and let them sit outside the car seats that the mom specifically installed in her car. The one little guy even sits in the front seat ! No seat belt to I will bet but I could not see. I have no idea who to contact but actually decided to talk to the granny. She said that they were just going ot the pick and pay 1km away -t o me that is 1km too far. I guess the point is that they just do not think te way we do

    June 12, 2015 at 10:52 am
  • Reply Charlotte aka The Stiletto Mum

    People might throw rocks at me now, but hear me out…
    1) I am not okay with the granny leaving a toddler strapped in his/her car seat alone in a huge parking lot is not okay.
    2) My girls are 9 & 5 and I started leaving them in the car at the beginning of the year. Not to go into big shopping centers, but when I stop at our local Spar or cafe I tend to park in front of the door, lock the car and run inside, get bread and milk and back in 5 min or less. Amandalynn (Grade 3) has also started walking to school from the creche in the mornings on her own its half a block, but I feel that teaching her independence is important.
    We will never all agree on the right age to do this.

    June 12, 2015 at 12:26 pm
    • Reply Jenny

      I have to say (and not throwing rocks) but I just would never do that. Mine are 8 and 5 and they go everywhere with me and I would not let them walk unsupervised on the street. I even stopped letting my nanny fetch my daughter from play school and walk home. I hear you about the independence but there are other, safer ways. Perhaps it’s a joburg thing? Aside from the crime, I wouldn’t entrust my kid wouldn’t get sideswiped by a mad taxi or a hormone-deprived range rover driver.

      June 12, 2015 at 1:02 pm
  • Reply South African Mom Blogs June Roundup and Linky - South African Mom Blogs

    […] Sharon writes about a child left in a car in It’s not 1977 and we’re not in Kansas anymore! […]

    July 1, 2015 at 3:00 pm
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