Toddler Left Home Alone, Does Fine

April Peveteaux

leaving toddler home alone
Don't worry mom, I can hang!
Hooray! It's not a "toddler dies while being left unattended" story! In fact, it's one of those stories that makes you realize this kind of thing probably happens more often than we realize, it's just that this mom got caught.

A 25-year-old mom from Maine ran to the store and left her toddler at home sitting in front of the television. Unluckily for her, a sheriff's deputy came by to give her a subpoena and saw the child (who was identified as 2 or 3 years old) sitting in front of the TV. He waited until mom got home with the groceries and also gave her a summons for child endangerment. Although the child was completely fine.

I remember when a fellow parent to a toddler asked me, "So, when can these guys fend for themselves?" He was joking, but only kind of. We discussed how easy life would be when we could go to the corner and grab a cup of coffee without packing a diaper bag, unfolding a stroller, and bundling up the kids. What could be a 10-minute trip turns into a half hour exercise in frustration. That's probably what this mom had in mind when she went to the store and left her little one behind.

While I would never leave my almost 2-year-old home alone while he was likely to climb on top of our dining room table and jump off (something he tries to do on a semi-regular basis), I did have a moment last week when I was tempted. He was napping, and I needed to drop off the rent check at the office right across the street. Except it's across the street and around the corner, so the front door of our house would be out of sight for about three minutes. I knew he wouldn't miss me, and I also knew he would be down for a few more hours, which would probably be longer than the office was open. I thought about it. But I didn't do it. Instead our rent was a day late, but hey, I wasn't quite ready to leave the house and my child behind. Even though he would have been FINE.

Which is why I don't have a huge amount of disdain for this mom. Maybe she knew how long she had before her toddler peeled his eyes from the TV screen and planned it to the minute. Or maybe she's a horrible mother. Who knows?

But I do know there are so many things that would be so much easier if we could just step out, when our toddler is in a safe place, and take care of business without a tiny distraction.

Would you ever leave your toddler at home to run an errand?

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