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Mom Arrested For Leaving Child in Car Alone

Mom Leaves Child in Car For 5 Minutes and Finds Herself Charged With Child Endangerment

It was an innocent, split-second decision that thousands of mothers have made in a pinch — heck, when we were kids ourselves, our parents did it all the time — but this time it landed one mother with a warrant for her arrest and mounting legal fees. According to Kim Brooks, she's an overprotective mother who spends her downtime worrying about improperly installed car seats, lack of sunscreen, and every possible worst-case scenario. But three years ago, when her 4-year-old refused to get out of the car at the store while she ran in to replace his headphones for their flight home from Grandma's house, she made a calculated decision. She writes in Salon:

"I took a deep breath. I looked at the clock. For the next four or five seconds, I did what it sometimes seems I've been doing every minute of every day since having children, a constant, never-ending risk-benefit analysis. I noted that it was a mild, overcast, 50-degree day. I noted how close the parking spot was to the front door, and that there were a few other cars nearby. I visualized how quickly, unencumbered by a tantrumming 4-year-old, I would be, running into the store, grabbing a pair of child headphones. And then I did something I'd never done before. I left him. I told him I'd be right back. I cracked the windows and child-locked the doors and double-clicked my keys so that the car alarm was set. And then I left him in the car for about five minutes."

After flying home, she learned a "good samaritan" had recorded the entire incident on their phone and sent it to the local police. What ensued was a warrant for her arrest, a yearlong legal process, and, perhaps most importantly, lasting effects on a child who is now afraid his mother will be taken away from him for seemingly minor issues.

The essay, titled "The day I left my son in the car," is thought-provoking, to say the least, and left me wondering just how helpful this "good samaritan" was. Should the "samaritan" have confronted the mother directly? And when do a "good samaritan's" efforts cross the line into interfering with parenting decisions? Weigh in in our poll below!

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mrs-moonie mrs-moonie 2 years

She crazy anyway. I for one Never leave my kids in the car, but if I am already back home in another state and somebody calls me about leaving my kid in a car. I have no idea what you are talking about.
Do you have me on camera? no?
I don't know what you are talking about.
This lady wrote down the rental plate number I'm guessing and that is how she was tracked down.
I'd be like more then me had the car all of us have kids,etc.
There is no way I would have admitted to that and I'm already back home in another state.

KatieWilson4370 KatieWilson4370 2 years

Amy, apologies for taking so long to respond, I don't use this site much. I must question whether you actually read the conversation, or just saw I'd written social worker & got defensive as it's your chosen profession? At no point did I state that a social worker would 'just come in & take a child from a parent'. I also never stated a social worker would 'tell the child that they would be separating him from his mother'. I just pointed out social services reputation with the general public as an example of children learning a fear through idle gossip opposed to an actual trauma. I also note that you have stated the only way a child would think he was to be taken away is if his mother told him. Unless you were present when his mother told him this, or she made a confession to you, or the child told you etc, you are making an assumption of guilt with no evidence to support your statement. As a social worker you should know better than to do such a thing, & to be fair it's that attitude that got the service its reputation in the first place.

Amy68419 Amy68419 2 years

I love it, especially the keyboard warrior and the smallest amount of pee from within the skinny jeans part. I have no idea why people get so bent out of shape, we all have opinions, even if they are different but to insult "Mom2cuteboys" in such way is very immature and that person has some issues.

Amy68419 Amy68419 2 years

Are you actually saying that you are struggling with not knowing which would be worse for the child or the mother, for the child to taken away by DSS or kidnapped? Sure, it would be extremely hard on a child and a mother for DSS to take your child but if she works with her social worker she can get her child back. She also knows that her child is safe, being cared for, being fed etc. She knows that she will get her child back. If her child was kidnapped she has no clue if she will ever see her child again, she has no idea what her child is going through. I cannot believe you just said you didn't know which one was worse, being placed in the system or kidnapped and suffering a terrible death!

JenniferHall53032 JenniferHall53032 2 years

The bigger problem I hear about is leaving a kid in a running car in the winter and having their car stolen with the child inside. There were 3 cases of this in the Denver Metro area just this year, and leaving a running vehicle is illegal here, with or without a kid inside, b/c 5 minutes is a long time to a criminal who only needs a few seconds.

AshleyTrench AshleyTrench 2 years


meaghandame meaghandame 2 years

It's actually not illegal in most states. The statutes for Child Endangerment are intentionally written for legal discretion. Saddens me to see so many parents pointing fingers at one another and putting others down to build themselves up. Reminiscent of grade school. You may not have ever left your child in a car..but your'e not perfect: this I can guarantee.

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