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