What the What? Never a Good Idea to Leave your Kids in the Car, Even for a Quality Wine Tasting

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Not sure how I missed this sickening news but thanks to a reader for passing on from the Washington Post:

“Police said the children — a 22-month-old boy and a slightly older girl — were strapped in car seats and wearing coats when they were found Saturday afternoon near the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, in the 1100 block of 23rd Street NW. Neither child had gloves or a hat, police said, and the younger one did not have shoes or socks. The girl was “hysterically crying,” according to a police report.”

And the father’s excuse for why it was ok to leave the kids in the car? “…he left an iPhone in the car with an open connection to the children’s mother…”

Jesus Christ, normally I don’t like to judge but…you gotta read the full story.

68 Comment

  • My favourite part is that they live a 10 minute walk away in Dupont, yet chose to drive and leave their kids in the car.

    • And didn’t hire a babysitter even though they live in a $1m row house.

      • I’m not excusing these people, but $1 million will only get you a very modest rowhouse in Dupont. A middle class family who doesn’t want the soul-draining suburban commute is going to be stretched pretty thin financially after housing costs.

        • Fair point. They may be house poor, and yet spending money on a fancy wine tasting? SMH.

          • I know, that invalidates my comment. I just hate when the media makes it a point to state the value of the “bad guy’s” home for comment bait. $1 million doesn’t get you anything extravagant these days, and I don’t think an engineer + government employee would be rolling in money.

          • Have you googled her? She’s not just a Federal Employee, she’s a PharmD specializing in Oncology.

          • But still a Fed. There’s a limit to how much you can make as one.

          • The woman makes around $145k a year and is a GS-15

          • Who gives a crap if they’re house poor? If you’re house poor, it means you bought more than you can afford. Full stop. That’s some bad financial decision making.

          • In no way do I think leaving your kids in the car is a reasonable course of action, but I agree that there is an impression that everyone who lives within the confines of the city is loaded. I sold a small appliance on Craigslist yesterday, and the buyers included in their negotiating strategy that “since I owned a home in the city, I didn’t need the money.” I guess it’s true that I didn’t really need the money (the sale of a small appliance that I don’t need will not make or break my budget), but I’m not rich and I offered it for a fair price. The perception that everyone who owns property in the city is loaded is just wrong. Again, I’m not poor, but I’m also apt to run home before happy hour/cut happy hour short and walk my dog myself because I’m not so rich that $20 per walk doesn’t register in my bottom line if I use that option at times I don’t *need* to…

        • justinbc

          That’s assuming they bought the rowhouse yesterday. A $1M place years ago would be worth a lot more now.

      • Sorry, FDA, not USDA.

    • I don’t think enough has been made of the fact that they left them in a Volvo! Sure, when Volvo used to be a decent car company (i.e. before Ford got its grubby hands on it and then sold it on to the Chinese) that would have been ok, but not today! I say jail time for these two.

    • Were they planning to DRIVE home after a WINE tasting with their kids in the car? The list of bad choices goes on and on.

  • This is so sad. Why not either get a babysitter or just bring the kids in? The really sad part is that this is unlikely the first time these parents made such an inappropriate decision. Poor kids!

  • This is really horrible. And insanely stupid. A good rule of thumb: if you can’t stand to skip a wine tasting DONT HAVE CHILDREN.

  • justinbc

    LOL, morons. At least the kids are alive (thankfully it wasn’t freezing temps). I can’t imagine a wine tasting at Ris is worth jail time.

  • And although they only live 10 minutes away, and it’s certainly possible to stay sober at a wine tasting, there’s a good chance they would have put the kids’ lives in danger driving home. It only takes 2 glasses to be over the limit and they would have been in there for at least an hour.

    • justinbc

      Given the number of Maryland drivers who go north through that area in the afternoon wouldn’t they be risking their kids’ lives regardless of the wine tasting?

      • Maybe that’s why they did it. They wanted to wait for the roads to be clear of MD drivers before heading home.

      • That’s why they went to the wine testing. When you get hit by a Maryland driver, you want your body to be loose. Less internal trauma that way.

  • It’ll be good to remember these lazy greedheads the next time someone complains about poor people.

  • If you must get a licence to fish or hunt, you should also have to get one for procreation.

    • clevelanddave

      Wow what a nanny state kind of comment. So forced sterilization or a license to have sex. What a dumb comment even if is was meant to be sarcastic.

  • How scary for those poor kids. You have to be a special caliber of sociopath to be able to enjoy a wine tasting while your toddlers are screaming hysterically out alone in the cold. At least the family court seems to be taking this seriously.

  • My kids have been to plenty of wine tastings. We bring coloring and they usually have free crackers.

  • I Dont Get It

    Just think what will happen the next time a prospective employer Googles them. Next!

    • If I were their current employers I would have to wonder……. I can only imagine what their coworkers are saying around the water cooler.

  • I appreciate that they started drinking at 3:30pm !

  • There are several problems with the situation, even if you’re OK with leaving kids in cars alone under limited circumstances:

    – One of the kids was crying hysterically. If the parents were supervising the kids via cellphone, why hadn’t they checked this out?

    – The kids were strapped in. Why restrain them in parked car? They’d be much happier loose, and I think safer.

    – Both parents were drinking wine but PRESUMABLY driving home. We don’t actually know they were going to drive home – it’s close enough that they could have left the car there.

    My appreciation goes to the person who noticed, kept paying attention, and called it in.

    • justinbc

      – They could have started screaming because some strange people were coming to the car to “rescue” them.
      – Unstrapped, so they can have full access to the car? Maybe put it in neutral and slide down a hill?
      – A wine tasting doesn’t necessarily equate to drinking lots of wine. It could be a few sips, or even tasting and spitting.

  • I read this in the Post the other day. I was really taken aback. I read it aloud to my husband incredulously. We made all kinds of judgments and assumptions about these people. And as a new parent I haven’t stopped thinking about it. What keeps coming back to me is that it just makes me so sad. People will probably disagree with me on this but the thing that makes me really sad is that the kids are apparently separated from their parents right now. What the parents did was very, very wrong and very, very strange. But I feel sad for those two kids who are so young and likely missing their parents. In the long term, what do you think is better for these kids — being removed from their parents? Maybe. I feel like these people likely have very poor judgement and this is just one example that was caught by the police and written up in the Post in a sensational way. I just don’t know. Anyway, my point is that it makes me sad.

    • I think you’ve kind of got the ticket here. I am all for “free range” parenting. I was allowed to roam as a child, with age-appropriate boundaries. My own yard, unsupervised, at about 4, the library 3 blocks away or friends’ houses within the same range at about 6, the park 6 blocks away or friends’ houses within the same range at about 8, walking/biking to school about a mile (10 blocks) away at about 10. But my parents NEVER would have left me unsupervised at such a young age. It sounds like the “older” child here was about 3. That’s FAR too young to be left alone. While I think we overprotect and over-supervise our children in the US, we certainly owe them protection and supervision at such a young age. If they were 5 and 6 and told the officer who “rescued” them that they didn’t want to go into the “boring” restaurant, I’d have more sympathy. But they were BABIES who were left in a cold car and SCREAMING and the parents ignored that. Not cool.

    • The line is hard to define, but here’s a good example. At 8 for me and 6 for my brother, we set up stand in our front yard making “friendship bracelets” (I’m sure that tells my age) with a couple of our neighborhood friends. My parents didn’t worry much because there were 10 or more of us out there at a time. Most of the “patrons” of our stand were neighborhood folks who we and our parents knew. However, at one point, a guy a I didn’t know pulled up. While he seemed harmless, just picked out his colors and patterns, since I didn’t know him, I sent my brother inside to ask our mom to come out. It turned out that wasn’t even necessary, my mom had been watching from the front window and was already on her way out at the sight of someone she didn’t know. And it also turned out that her presence wasn’t necessary, he and his wife had just bought a house down the street, and he was happy to introduce himself to both the kids and my mom. He stopped at our stand to say “hi,” and accomplished that. Bonus, he also paid us far more than we were asking for making bracelets for him and his wife. 🙂

    • I’m a little fuzzy on this. Are you sad?

    • I’m sort of in the same place. Was this bad judgment? Almost certainly. But I really need to know more about these folks to know if their kids should be taken away.

  • I’m kind of confused by all this “in my day….” stuff. Sure, when I was a kid (read KID not 22 months old!), my parents left us in the car for 15 minutes at a time no problem. The worst thing that ever happened was my brother finding a box cutter and slicing the car seats. We were allowed to walk home alone from school when I was 8 and my brother 10, and also left alone from about the age of 10 and 12 while my parents worked during the summer. At age 9 I was hit by a car on my way home from school, knocked unconscious, everything. Now a days, I would have been taken to the emergency room; but “in my day” I was taken home where my dad was woken up, and fearing that he would some how get in trouble, I was never taken to the emergency room. Three days later I woke up with excruciating pain and it turned out I’d been walking around with broken ribs. Also “back in my day” you got the shit smacked/slapped/whipped out of you and that was all considered ok. “Back in my day” we got to walk all around our relatively quite suburban neighborhood where the call to come in was when the street lights went on, but that meant that we were free to drink, cause mischief which generally included some sort of vandalism, and usually someone getting hurt. I am absolutely shocked by the people saying this is no big deal. I have a feeling the same people would be absolutely outraged if a dog had been left in a car with the windows up for an hour. I am absolutely positive that the reason the children have been taken away from the parents prior to the next hearing has to do with what the investigation thus far has revealed – the state of the home, perhaps the children’s medical records or lack there of, and the parents’ glib attitude probably doesn’t help. I’m positive that this was not the first instance of neglect and the fact that these things always escalate makes me believe that the right decision was made.

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