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Old 10-30-2013, 10:35 AM
 
162 posts, read 480,847 times
Reputation: 88

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I've been trying to do some research on this topic and I can't find what I'm looking for. Here's my problem; I dropped my 6 year old off at a school run daycare. My 2 year old (who hates wearing shoes or socks and takes them off as soon as the car starts rolling) stays in the car while I drop my son off. So, I leave the car running while I do this. The process of dropping my son off takes approximately 60 seconds (long enough to open the door, give a hug, and sign my name and time on a log) and I'm always in sight of the car.

Quick sidebar: For those that say what I'm doing is wrong because I shouldn't leave my child in a car unattended, I've argued this point before and here's my rationale so we can get back on topic: She cannot get out of the seat by herself (Hell, I have a hard time getting her out). She's not eating anything so choking is not an issue. The car is running so she stays warm. The car is locked so nobody can get in. The car cannot be unlocked from the backseat. The car cannot be put into gear without my passive key being in the car and it's always in my pocket. So, barring spontaneous and ill timed combustion of the car, she's perfectly safe. This is the only time I EVER leave her in the car alone.

Now, back to my question. The law states you can't leave an unattended car running. This law was put into place because "puffing" is an indication of a running car to thieves and the police are trying to crack down on auto theft. Well, there are many cars on the market (including both of mine) that have passive keys that when not left in the car, make the car inoperable beyond the electronics and climate control. But even this rationale falls on deaf ears because the law is the law. But what they don't do in this law, is define the word "unattended". If there is a person inside (albeit a 2 year old), is it considered "attended"?

I intend to call the police to get their side but I wanted to see a discussion first. So, what is everyone's thoughts on this?

 
Old 10-30-2013, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Black Forest, CO
1,454 posts, read 2,082,689 times
Reputation: 1351
I don't understand why you would have to leave the car running. If you are only away from it for 60 seconds, its not going to get cold in the winter. I have never left my car running when I was not in it. When my daughter was little, I have left her in the car maybe 3 times while I went in the dry cleaners when I was parked right in front, but I did not see the need to leave the car running. I did not make a habit of doing this, but I do totally understand the hassle of getting a kid in and out of the car and I can see why you would do this. I would just not leave the car running - I don't see the point.
 
Old 10-30-2013, 12:40 PM
 
162 posts, read 480,847 times
Reputation: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by beezle1 View Post
I don't understand why you would have to leave the car running. If you are only away from it for 60 seconds, its not going to get cold in the winter. I have never left my car running when I was not in it. When my daughter was little, I have left her in the car maybe 3 times while I went in the dry cleaners when I was parked right in front, but I did not see the need to leave the car running. I did not make a habit of doing this, but I do totally understand the hassle of getting a kid in and out of the car and I can see why you would do this. I would just not leave the car running - I don't see the point.
Perfectly valid point. However, my thought was to keep the climate control going (keep it warm or cool). Yeah, it's only one minute and the car won't get that cold in one minute. At least with the climate control on, I wouldn't have someone telling me I left my child in a hot car unattended. But for that matter, why not keep it on? I could argue either side of that discussion because I don't believe 60 seconds makes any difference. I know the energy activists say that if you have to idle more than ten seconds, turn the engine off. I don't buy that logic because how many times have we sat at a red light for more than 10 seconds? That's like saying we should all buy a hybrid because they use less fuel when idling. Find me a hybrid that can pull 8,000 lbs comfortably.

Thanks for the discussion point.
 
Old 10-30-2013, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,352,563 times
Reputation: 2668
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moman1 View Post
The law states you can't leave an unattended car running.
You said it yourself. You can not legally leave a running car unattended.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moman1 View Post
The law states you can't leave an unattended car running. If there is a person inside (albeit a 2 year old), is it considered "attended"?
What do you think? Is your 2-year-old attending your car? What would she do if a thief came or if you accidentally locked yourself out? Will the law perhaps view your actions as criminal negligence? (I'm asking not telling)

As for my OPINION: I have a 1 and a 3 year old of my own. I've wondered the same thing many times, especially when they're finally getting their much-needed naps in the car exactly when I arrive at the store or wherever. One time my 1-year-old was asleep and I needed some over the counter meds and didn't dare wake him so I went to the drive through and asked the pharmacist to pull one off the shelf for me. She did, but was kind of annoyed. Less annoyed then the police or my wife would have been for leaving him in the car unattended though. For the most part, I actually see it the way you do… If they're strapped in and safe and not too hot or cold and have fresh air, what's the big deal if they're out of my sight for 60 seconds? But you know how judgmental people get be toward anything that hints toward negligence or abuse, so why risk it? Besides, if anything ever DID happen while I was out of sight...

Last edited by otterprods; 10-30-2013 at 01:59 PM..
 
Old 10-30-2013, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Cole neighborhood, Denver, CO
1,123 posts, read 2,328,586 times
Reputation: 1240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moman1 View Post
Now, back to my question. The law states you can't leave an unattended car running. This law was put into place because "puffing" is an indication of a running car to thieves and the police are trying to crack down on auto theft. Well, there are many cars on the market (including both of mine) that have passive keys that when not left in the car, make the car inoperable beyond the electronics and climate control. But even this rationale falls on deaf ears because the law is the law. But what they don't do in this law, is define the word "unattended". If there is a person inside (albeit a 2 year old), is it considered "attended"?
What do you mean by 'inoperable beyond the electronics and climate control'? Does the engine still run but you can't put it in gear? Or is the engine off? If its off, it is not considered 'running'.

Do what you feel is right. I wouldn't worry about the law, unless a cop is also dropping of his child at the exact same time you are.
 
Old 10-30-2013, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,352,563 times
Reputation: 2668
Quote:
Originally Posted by dude_reino View Post
Do what you feel is right. I wouldn't worry about the law, unless a cop is also dropping of his child at the exact same time you are.
I pretty much agree, but don't forget about nosy parents and/or concerned teachers as well.
 
Old 10-30-2013, 03:37 PM
 
162 posts, read 480,847 times
Reputation: 88
Yeah, that's what I'm mostly worried about are the nosy parents making a phone call because they think they know what's going on. I've been doing it for more than a year now and this was the first time someone brought it up.

But to answer your question, yes. The engine is running as if I were sitting in the driver's seat idling with the tranny in Park. The stereo is on, climate control is on, etc. But you can not shift the tranny into neutral or drive or even out of park for that matter, therefore making the vehicle inoperable. You just can't drive it somewhere without the key physically being inside the vehicle.
 
Old 10-30-2013, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,352,563 times
Reputation: 2668
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moman1 View Post
Yeah, that's what I'm mostly worried about are the nosy parents making a phone call because they think they know what's going on.
Of course they don't see it as being nosy. Seeing a 2 year alone, locked inside a running vehicle, is a legitimate concern from their POV.

I truly do empathize with your situation, but for a variety of reasons, it seems like the wisest thing would be to bring the two year old in with you, even if it means 5 minutes of extra hassle for 1 minute of errand time.
 
Old 10-31-2013, 12:07 PM
 
Location: westside
454 posts, read 1,064,278 times
Reputation: 123
I am one of thos nosy parents who do NOT believe it is ever right to leave your kid unattended in car.

To me someone seems either super lazy or not of the right mind to leave a kid in a by themselves.
 
Old 10-31-2013, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Berkshire, England
488 posts, read 539,839 times
Reputation: 1344
I watched a TV show the other day which monitored the pollution a family breathed in as they went about their day.

Far and away the highest readings were measured outside the kid's school due to all the cars with engines running.

If you'd like your children to breathe cleaner air, turn the engine off when it's not needed. You'll save some money and your kids (and other people's) will be healthier. 60 seconds of no engine running won't cause the car to get cold in winter or hot in summer.
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