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Old 07-11-2011, 02:34 PM   #1
TaraPA
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At what age can kids stay in the car alone while running an errand?

I just got back from a quick trip to the post office. DS14 didn't want to go in & I felt very comfortable leaving him alone in the car while I ran in to mail 1 package. The keys were with me, the windows were open, and he had his cell.

When I went in the PO there was no one else in the parking lot. When I came out, there was a car parked aside of me (on my side, the drivers side) with the window down. There was a woman in the passengers seat & when I got in my car she said to me "You shouldn't be leaving him alone in the car like that. I could call the cops on you." I was so stunned I didn't know what to say - so I said "thanks for your concern but I think my teenager can stay in the car while I run a 2-minute errand" and left!

Ok so now I'm thinking - is there an actual law on the age limit a child can be alone in a non-running car without an adult? He's going to be 15 for crying out loud - and he'll be DRIVING the car alone in another year or so! Now I wish I would have told that to the other woman, but I was taken by surprise & didn't really have a response. Or maybe I should be looking up the PA law, maybe she was right...????
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaraPA View Post
I just got back from a quick trip to the post office. DS14 didn't want to go in & I felt very comfortable leaving him alone in the car while I ran in to mail 1 package. The keys were with me, the windows were open, and he had his cell.

When I went in the PO there was no one else in the parking lot. When I came out, there was a car parked aside of me (on my side, the drivers side) with the window down. There was a woman in the passengers seat & when I got in my car she said to me "You shouldn't be leaving him alone in the car like that. I could call the cops on you." I was so stunned I didn't know what to say - so I said "thanks for your concern but I think my teenager can stay in the car while I run a 2-minute errand" and left!

Ok so now I'm thinking - is there an actual law on the age limit a child can be alone in a non-running car without an adult? He's going to be 15 for crying out loud - and he'll be DRIVING the car alone in another year or so! Now I wish I would have told that to the other woman, but I was taken by surprise & didn't really have a response. Or maybe I should be looking up the PA law, maybe she was right...????
I would've been taken by surprise too. Your 14 yo DS should be able to sit in the car alone. You're right, he's coming up on driving age. That is nutty, nut, nuts.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:36 PM   #3
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In NC the law is 8 you can't leave a child under the age of 8 alone.

Your son was 14......you were a lot nicer than I would have been. I would have told her to mind her own business!
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:37 PM   #4
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I think 14 is fine. 12 is the age for me personally.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:39 PM   #5
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Different states have different ages. 14 should pretty much be OK anywhere.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:39 PM   #6
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good grief! 14 is plenty old to be by himself ... in a car or at home. In our area 12 year olds babysit!
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:41 PM   #7
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14??? I would have had a few choice words for that busybody. I am fine leaving my daughter in the car while I run in the supermarket at 10/11 years old! Heck she WALKS to the supermarket by herself to pick something up if I forgot to get something so she certainly can sit in a car while I am in there!
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:42 PM   #8
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I would have told her that since a 14 year old is old enough to walk to the PO alone, that he is probably ok sitting in the car by himself there, and that not to worry in just a few short years he'll even be able to drive himself there all alone.

I just looked up PA and it looks like its 6 and under, so your 14 year old won't have any trouble
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:43 PM   #9
TaraPA
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Ok thanks everyone, now I feel better. Now I wish I would have had a better response like mind your own business! Or something like "Would you like me to stay in the car with him while he's DRIVING in a year???" Coulda woulda shoulda.

Oh well, maybe she thought he was younger. I think he looks 14, and he was sitting in the front passenger seat texting, so who knows what she thought.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyScraps View Post
In NC the law is 8 you can't leave a child under the age of 8 alone.
Dang....so I could have been leaving him alone in the car MUCH longer than I have been?????!!!!!
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:53 PM   #11
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Fourteen is way old enough to be left alone in the car! I can't believe someone had the nerve to say something to you. I might say something if I saw you leave an infant or toddler alone in the car. Fourteen year olds babysit and have jobs around here.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:55 PM   #12
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14 would be fine, they only thing I can think of is she thought he was younger, but I did not leave DS13 in the car alone until 11. He actually preferred to come in places with me. But at age 11 he suddenly asked, he wanted to listen to a Phillies game on the radio. I felt comfortable at the time.

I have issue with people leaving little ones, esp sleeping ones in the car alone to run an errand like that though.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:59 PM   #13
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we do have an alarming number of busybodies in the Valley don't we? I feel bad that happened to you, FWIW I just started to leave my kids in the car for a few minutes and DS is 13 while DD is 12.
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:00 PM   #14
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Deja vu
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:05 PM   #15
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I dunno, I think any age is OK as long as you crack the window. Like for a dog.

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