A baby was found in a shopping centre carpark with a note tacked to a blanket. The note read “My mum’s in doing the shopping, call her if I need anything” along with her mobile number.
A man whose family were parked next to the car at around 9am, were shocked when they discovered the baby all alone in the car at the Pak’n’Save Porirua shop carpark. They hung around and waited to see if Mum would come back. Other shoppers decided to join in with the waiting, as well as calling Mum to make her come back for her baby.
In New Zealand, it’s illegal to leave children under the age of 14 years alone for an unreasonable time or in unreasonable conditions and can result in fines up to $NZ2000. Similar laws apply in Australia for children up to 12 years, and can carry fines up to $22,000. Despite these laws, NZ police cannot start an investigation because no one lodged a complaint against the mother when the incident occurred. A police spokesman said that they will start an investigation as soon as someone calls and complains. He said that children being left alone in cars happened quite frequently in the area, and that while it was unacceptable to leave the baby alone in the car, it only warranted a warning. So putting your child at risk of heatstroke, choking or kidnapping only warrants a “warning” now, does it?
My mum used to leave me and my sisters in the car while she popped into the shops. I was 10 at the time and my sisters 7 and 4. I was old enough to know to get myself and my sisters out of the car if we were too hot, and to lock the doors and honk the horn if someone was trying to break in. A baby cannot defend themselves from a kidnapper, although they may make them reconsider if they puke or poop on them! Babies can’t regulate their own body temperature and can overheat much quicker than an older child or adult can. Even though we’re coming into autumn (fall) now, it’s still been very warm and a small enclosed space such as a car can heat up very quickly. A sleeping baby is easy to carry/strap to yourself, and will give you peace of mind knowing your baby is safe.