A mother named Cherilyn Jannette Lopez is in trouble this week for allegedly taking her 3-year-old son along when she went to rob a Florida bank to get the cash to support her prescription drug habit. She left her minivan running with the little boy in his car seat when she went in to hit up the teller window. Go ahead and congratulate yourself for being a better parent. You know that's what's going through your mind anyway. But don't kid yourself, her story isn't that unusual.
Sure, the average American parent doesn't pop pills (let's hope not). And considering there were just 1,081 bank robberies in the first quarter of the year (per the FBI), it's safe to say most parents don't fund the huge expense of raising kids with ill-gotten gains. But when is the last time you left your kid in a car? Because it takes just a minute to go mail that letter/grab that carton of milk/get a cup of coffee to keep you going?
You're not a bank robber. But the fact is, the worst thing that Cherilyn Lopez did to her son wasn't taking him along on a bank robbery. He's 3. He probably won't remember it. But leaving him alone in a car with the engine running is a recipe for disaster.
On the one hand, you might as well be asking a carjacker to come along and steal your car ... and your kid. There's no need for a would-be criminal to bother with the silly time-intensive hotwiring. The keys are RIGHT there. Bid your baby goodbye.
And that's the good option, frankly. A carjacker is an adult who can navigate a car. You can hope that they'll drive carefully enough that your child is protected because they need that vehicle in good shape to get their money's worth.
On the other hand, picture this: a 3-year-old knows how to get out of his car seat, which Lopez' son proved when he climbed out of the restraint, then climbed out of the car and headed INTO the bank she was robbing. But a 3-year-old is unpredictable. Your chances are just as good that he'll climb into the front seat and play at driving. Only with the keys in the ignition, his playing can turn into "real" driving pretty darn fast. And suddenly those stories you hear on the news about the toddler who took the family car for a joyride are making sense, huh? Especially the ones about the kid who crashed into a tree, a house ... a bank?
Have you ever left your child in the car? Do you think the mom deserves a neglect charge for leaving her boy behind when she went into the bank?
Image via dave_7/Flickr