Mom Arrested for Leaving 2-Year-Old Alone in the Car

Little boy sleeping in car seat

Becoming a parent has made me realize two things: Accidents will happen, and mistakes will be made. That's one of the reasons why I try to be sensitive to gray areas, as things can't always be black and white. But sometimes, there are preventable incidents that make me want to hold a parenting town hall at my kitchen table, and this is one of them. Dina Dambaeva is a New Hampshire mom who was arrested for leaving her 2-year-old son alone in a car.


Police tell New England Cable News (NECN) Dambaeva left her toddler strapped in his car seat, unattended, with the car running for about 30 minutes while she returned an item in Target. Dambaeva says she was just running into the store quickly and her son was never in any danger, but she ended up being arrested and now faces one misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child.

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Leaving a 2-year-old alone is not a good idea, even when it's only for a few minutes. As an avid Target shopper -- and Cartwheel app user -- I can testify that you'll usually spend a bit longer than you plan to inside the magical land of the red dot (lol). But what really frustrates me about the situation is that this mom got arrested, her husband had to come pick up their child, and now she's facing serious charges, and the whole thing could've been prevented if Dina just took her 2-year-old inside Target with her.

Listen, my boys are 16 months apart (they're 3 and almost 2), and they still use car seats. I get how annoying it can be when you think about the time you could save running into a store and running out without having to unbuckle your child, grab the diaper bag, possibly take a car seat if you have an infant, and make sure you grab anything else LO might need.

Yes, there are times when I contemplate leaving my kids in the car (while it's running, of course) so I can quickly return the Redbox movie that's been wedged between my seats for a week -- or pay for take-out without having to juggle a bunch of boxes like a one-woman circus while making sure my kids don't get hit by a car.

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Running errands is certainly not easy with toddlers ... but that doesn't mean we should leave them in the car to cut time or corners.

Thankfully, Dina's son was okay -- and while I do understand cultural differences in play (Dambaeva tells NECN leaving a child in a car unattended is no big deal in her home country of Russia), it's always best to err on the side of caution, because you honestly never know what could happen.

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I believe that Dina's intentions were good and she never dreamed of putting her child in harm's way ... but it's sad that this mom now faces so much chaos when it all could've been avoided by just making a different decision.


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