This morning I heard of a car-jacking at a gas station (in Hamilton Township, NJ) involving a child. A preoccupied grandmother parks her car right in front of the gas station store to grab something real quick, leaving her less than 3 year old grandbaby in the back seat. As she stands at the register, a male customer behind her leaves the store at jumps into her car; not realizing the baby in the back seat. As the car-jacker abruptly pulls off, the grandmother frantically runs after the car screaming, “The baby! My baby is still in the car!” Police finally tracked the car down in Trenton by the signal of the grandmother’s cell phone still left inside the stolen car. The baby was unharmed when police found the car. In a statement given by the grandmother she expresses how much she regrets leaving the child in the car and that the thief is stupid and foolish for stealing a car with a child in it whom could barely speak. It is not yet said it the grandmother will be charged for negligence. You can read more details here http://7online.com/news/car-stolen-from-new-jersey-gas-station-with-baby-inside/865575/ ).
When I first tried to find this article in google so many incidents came up where parents left children in the hot car and the children either passed out from exhaustion or died of dehydration. Other incidences involved children escaping from the vehicle in or being kidnapped out of the car. The scary thing is most of these cases resemble this NJ case where parents only leave their child (children) for no more then 5-10min leaving windows cracked if it is hot and doors locked. Very rare have parents left kids in the car for hours on end yet sadly enough, it happens. One case back in 2011, where a mother left her son in the car for a very short period of time to run in the store and someone taped the boy and sent it in to the police, sparked a huge debate on whether it is lawful for parents to do such things. Some states prevent it entirely while others allow it with certain conditions in place. Read http://abcnews.go.com/US/hot-debate-leave-child-car/story?id=24869147 for more info.
My question to you is do you think the grandmother of the young girl in NJ should be charged, yes or no? At what point should the law take over how parents take care of their children? Does it depend on age, how long you leave them in the car for? This bit of news really shook me up a bit, not because of having children (I do not) but because my parents did this same thing to me and my siblings multiple times. You always hear the older people say that today is not like it was yesterday and although this holds truth at what point are we going to break bad habits and create good ones. Children have a tendency to grow up and turn into the adults their parents were. So again, I ask the question who should be held responsible: The grandmother or the car-jacker?
Writer: Sarah Johnson