Charge her with neglect

There is no valid reason to leave a baby alone in a car. This woman should charged with neglect:

A mother went shopping after leaving her baby alone in a car with a note telling other carpark users to call her if there were any issues.

The woman was duly called by disbelieving passers-by, who waited next to the car until she returned.

The baby was left alone in a car in the carpark of Pak’nSave Porirua about 9am on Saturday. 

A man said he spotted the baby after he and his family parked in the neighbouring space.

It was a shock to see the hand-written note resting on top of the baby’s blanket, he said.

“It was written from the baby’s perspective, and it said, ‘My mum’s in doing the shopping, call her if I need anything’, and it had the cellphone number.

“We waited there for a little bit, wondering if the mum was just going to be two seconds and come back. And my wife said, ‘I’m not going in without someone being here with the baby’.”

Eventually another two passers-by waited by the car, with one of them phoning the mother and telling her to come outside.



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  • unsol

    There isn’t a mother alive who hasn’t done or at least thought of doing the same when they have had a new baby who has finally fallen asleep & Mum just wants to park right outside the dairy & pop in & get a bottle of milk.

    I have. I did it once. I think I was in the shop for 1 minute which felt like 1 hour and I was consumed with guilt (what if there had been an earthquake etc) so I never did it again. Shopping with a new baby was such hard work at times – you turn up only to find they need another change & feed, you drag your exhausted self around the supermarket then change & feed baby again for trudging home hoping like mad they don’t fall asleep in the car so they can be put to bed for a decent nap.

    But this story is different – leaving a baby in the car at a supermarket while you do your weekly shop or even to grab just a few things is so much worse. You can’t park right outside & you will always be inside the shop for at least a few minutes. I have come across this a few times & I would keep an eye on the baby & give the parents 5 minutes (timed) before calling the police – who don’t charge the parents with neglect, but do give a warning & if it happens again CYFs get involved. I had one lady who was a repeat offender……including during summer on a hot day with all windows up.
    I also see in the article the capsule is in the front seat – given that it is Porirua & looks like an old car it is unlikely there would have been an airbag on the passenger front seat, but still, capsules should always be rear facing in the backseat. Period. But a lot of parents have no clues on road safety – it is unbelievable the amount of kids I see sitting in the front seats of new cars. Anyone who is under 150cm – especially children, should be in the back seat as they need a booster – seatbelts are not designed for little people & anyone on a booster should not be near an airbag.

  • So embarrassing that it is in my town…shame! There is no excuse for this!

  • starboard

    any guesses as to which tribe its from?

  • Corrective, rather than punitive action, is far better. Not for the MOTHER, but for the more important person in this unfortunate story: the baby.

  • If this is such a newsworthy story, why is there absolutely no mention of how long the child was left unattended for?

    We know no facts in this story other than a couple of busy-bodies created a crisis where there was none. Was the child screaming? The photo looks like it was asleep. And well wrapped, and warm, in a locked car, that was parked in the early morning, in a shady spot with a visible contact number in the case of an emergency.

    I’m sorry, where is the actual problem?

    Another manufactured crisis by the NZ Hearld.

    • Random66

      I suppose the only problem would have been if the child woke up or the car was stolen. As a parent I sleep better at night when I’m not relying on luck to keep my kids safe.

      • You don’t drive then?

        • Random66

          Of course I do, but I don’t deliberately stack the odd’s against me or my family by being negligent e.g driving in an unsafe vehicle or in an unsafe manner. This isn’t about driving though, this is about a mothers decision to leave her child unattended in a public space which left the door open for any number of bad things to happen. They didn’t happen, but that was more due to good luck rather than good management.

          • unsol


          • If we’re comparing risk, how many children are injured or killed while traveling in a vehicle vs injured or killed in a supermarket carpark? How many are killed or injured while traveling in a vehicle vs being abducted while someone steps inside for bread and milk?

            All this fear mongering seems rather unjustified…

      • fozzie2

        Good luck is what every parent relies on !!!

        • Random66

          To a degree yes, but my point was more along the lines that the probability of a negative outcome can either be reduced or eliminated by the use of commonsense and good decision making. As parents we don’t just cross our fingers and hope for the best, we endeavor to teach our kids the skills they will need to navigate life. If or when things go wrong, which invariably they do, it shouldn’t be because I as a parent dropped the ball or was too stupid or negligent to see trouble coming, or infact did the unthinkable by actually putting my kids in harms way and hoped that luck would just see them through.

        • unsol

          Bollicks. Good parenting relies on good management of possible risks vs plausible outcomes.

          Good luck – a child under the age of 10 who walks home unsupervised every day not getting hit by a car when they cross the road.

          Good management – walking home with your child as under the age of 10 they cannot possibly judge the speed of a car accurately (in fact, neither can many adults) so you remove the likelihood of them one day getting hit. Especially these days when no one walks & everyone drives….& parks right outside the school gates.

          • Low expectations of your children much?

          • unsol

            No, it is called having realistic & age appropriate expectations. Unless you live on a straight run where there is no chance of cars coming around blind or semi-blind corners & you live on & around streets where you can see cars coming more than 200m away, allowing a child under the age of 10 to walk home alone is careless & stupid.

            No matter how much you install road rules into them, a child does not have the cognitive abilities to judge speed vs distance & further will naturally drop all caution if for example they see a friend across the road.

          • What bollocks. I, and most of the kids I went to school with, all walked and crossed roads from when we were 5. As I said, low expectations.

          • unsol

            As I said, realistic age appropriate expectations

            Walking home at 5….& when was this? No doubt when the speed limit was still 80km & the fastest car teenagers drove was a 1300 1974 Toyota Corrolla.

            Times have changed so it’s about being sensible & setting realistic boundaries based on the modern environment.

            A few weeks ago a wee boy – about 6 – was walking home from school. Saw his friends across the road, ran across to meet them at got run over.

            He’d survived walking home on his on on a relatively straight forward trip home too…out of sheer good luck.

          • As far as I am aware, the speed limit has never been 80km in a residential zone.

            People of all ages walk out in front of cars, buses and trains.

            I would prefer that my 5yo had 10 years of experience negotiating traffic before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle than a 12 year old who had only had 3.

          • fozzie2

            Every parent has to decide what is right for their own kids – all ours walk, scooter or bike home from school unsupervised, with their friends, most days, from the age of about 7. They are taught where to cross, stick together and don’t talk to strangers. We felt it important that they developed independence and judgement . Sure we had the odd slip up when they went to a mates place to pay without asking, but that was another lesson learned. Managing risks is good, but you cannot eliminate them all !

          • unsol

            I agree you can eliminate all risks & I’m no fan of helicopter parenting.

            But when it comes to children under the age of 10 I am not prepared to take any risks.

            Our daughter uses the school crossing & walks about 1km to our meeting point (before tricky intersections etc).

            Interestingly today when we were coming back from after school lessons a 12 year old boy nearly stepped out in front of me on a relatively straight forward corner all because he was busy chatting to his friend. I stopped in anticipation as knew he wasn’t going to look right over his shoulder.

            To me that was case & point -kids will be kids no matter how responsible you think they are becoming.

            When you add things like cell phones vs kids I imagine this kind if thing will get worse.

        • BJ

          I know where you are coming from.

    • unsol

      No not manufactured in fact, the concern over this issue is well-founded.

      It is against the law to leave children under 14 without making reasonable provision for their care and supervision.

      Of course what is considered “reasonable” must take into account the circumstances under which children are left alone and the length of time they are alone.

      That said, CYFs & police state “in general babies and young children should never be left alone at home or in a car, or unsupervised” – the reason being because of the many what ifs (car being stolen, emergency, disaster etc).

      In the time this so-called mother wrote the note she could have disconnected the capsule & put her baby in the trolly & it would probably have remained asleep.

      If it had woken at least she would have been there to tend to it.

      You are not supposed to leave dogs in the car for very long so why anyone would think it is OK to leave a baby is beyond me.

      Parking right outside, nipping in to get the milk & coming straight back out is one thing, but these circumstances indicate another.

      • This is why the law is ambiguous. It could be argued that the baby had been cared for looking at the photo and what conclusions we can draw from it. Besides, how much supervision is required for a sleeping baby? You could argue that a good mother will know how her baby sleeps more than some well intentioned passerby.

        The response to this is entirely reactionary with little care for the actual circumstances or facts because they are simply unknown and conclusions are being drawn based on worse case scenarios.

        • unsol

          Sure the baby might sleep well, but I don’t think CYFs would care if the car got stolen, someone crashed into it (supermarket car parks are notorious for dings) or the mum got held up in the supermarket for unforeseen reasons.

          Again good luck not good management.

          I remember reading about a whole heap of shoppers being held up due to a gunman on the loose.

          Problem is, when you take a gamble like this you never know when you’re going to lose.

        • Susan

          Supervision is needed for a sleeping baby as things can go wrong very quickly. Apart from the obvious – like the temperature in the car heating up – a baby can choke very easily on its vomit, develop a fever in a very short period of time, or have a seizure/convulsion (which is quite common in babies). And of course the baby could wake and become distressed. I also take issue with a contact number left on the car. That places the responsibility for the child on to people passing by which I think is totally presumptuous of the parent.

  • Mr_V4

    Part of me thinks, OK not the smartest thing to do. But the rest of me thinks jesus we love moralising over everything these days and concerning ourselves with the affairs of others.

  • BJ

    There’s not enough info to pass judgement. It looks to me like the car is in shade perhaps under a tree and the window might be partially down. If she was stuck in motorway traffic and the baby woke and started crying there’s not much she can do about that situation for a long time.

    When I was a babe car seats were the top half of the wooden highchair sitting on the front bench seat of the car usually between Mum and Dad where there was no seatbelt. And yes, babies did get left in cars all the time but usually with the window down a bit.

    Every parent has taken risks with their kids that anyone else could pass judgement on. I’ve brought up 5 kids, kept them safe from fire, water, electricity, sexual deviants, emotional harm and nappy rash AND I have left one or other of them in the car at some time or other. At the time it was of concern but do I feel bad – no.

    I love how the men on here that don’t appreciate what’s gone into that decision to leave the baby sleeping have such a moral view when in my observation fathers in general put their young children at physical risk in different ways frequently.

    • Random66

      I recall once years ago a friend called in with her 6 children, about 10 minutes after she left I realized she had accidently left one of her children behind (they were still playing upstairs with our youngest). I still laugh when I think about it because her face was priceless when she came back to pick up her ‘forgotten’ youngest.