Mom Arrested for Letting Her Kid Shop Alone at a Toy Store

Kids lego store
Shinya Suzuki/Flickr

It's the moment many a kid dreams of: being trusted to shop solo. But for one New York State family, the decision to allegedly let a 10-year-old browse the aisles of a Lego store alone ended with a call to the cops, and the mom being arrested and charged.


Yes, that's right. Police in Rochester, New York, accused 44-year-old Jia Fan of child endangerment for leaving her 10-year-old son at the Lego store while she was shopping in another area of the mall. She was issued an appearance ticket for the charge, rather than being hauled into jail.

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This isn't the first time a Lego store called the cops on a mom. A similar situation occured in 2014 with a 7-year-old on Long Island

But if you're thinking, wait, a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old is comparing apples and oranges, we hear you. By the time they're 10, many kids are doing a fair amount on their own, and parents are A-OK with that.

Laws in some states dictate exactly what age a child is old enough to be left alone, but most leave it up to the parents ... and New York is one of them. Here's the official take from the state's Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS):

"OCFS is often asked questions regarding the appropriate age to leave a child alone, or what age is appropriate to allow a child to begin babysitting. There are no straightforward answers to these questions. All children develop at their own rate, and with their own special needs and abilities. Some children are responsible, intelligent, and independent enough to be left alone at 12 or 13 years of age. Likewise, there are some teenagers who are too irresponsible or who have special needs that limit their ability to be safe if they are left alone. Parents and guardians need to make intelligent, reasoned decisions regarding these matters."

Makes sense, right? If a mom can't decide that her child is old enough and trustworthy enough to shop alone in a store, who can? We know our kids. We know if they're responsible or flaky, if they're prone to making bad decisions or good ones.

We should be the ultimate arbiters of when they can be trusted to check out the latest Ninjago toys while we make a quick run to Sephora.

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Police aren't saying how long the child was left alone, and it's understandable if store employees felt like they were being treated more like babysitters than what they are ... retail employees. We don't get to just drop our kids off in the toy store and hightail it out for drinks. 

But if leaving your preteen kid alone in a store while you're in the same mall is going to land moms in jail, a whole lot of parents might be changing their plans this weekend ... 

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