Leaving a youngster in a vehicle can be a dangerous mistake

Recently, I drove into the Alberta Motor Association parking lot and pulled up beside a vehicle with a little boy, about 18 months old, left inside all by himself.

Recently, I drove into the Alberta Motor Association parking lot and pulled up beside a vehicle with a little boy, about 18 months old, left inside all by himself.

As my sister and I contemplated what we should do, the grandmother of this little boy came back to the vehicle with a dog (which she had taken for a bathroom break on the boulevard).

I got out of my vehicle and went around to ask her why on Earth she had left this little boy by himself.

She stated that I was scaring her grandson and asked me to leave.

I said, “Scaring your grandson? Can you imagine how scared he’d be if someone drove up and took him?”

She just stared at me like I was from outer space.

I told her I was going to phone the police.

She said, “Go right ahead.”

So I did.

Why wasn’t I surprised when the police told me that if Child Welfare isn’t involved, there’s not much they can do?

Then, on a different day, I was doing some shopping at Winners.

It was 20C outside.

I was going back to my vehicle when my mom and I heard something that sounded like a cat being choked.

I could hear it coming from the vehicle parked beside us.

There was another little boy, between one and two years old, locked in the vehicle with the windows rolled up, except the driver’s-side window was rolled down a little.

He was screaming and crying, and wearing a heavy sweater.

Oh how my heart broke, again.

This time, I didn’t waste any time and called 911 right away.

As we were waiting for the police to arrive, this little boy cried so hard he was whimpering.

Before the police arrived, the mother comes out from Winners — carrying some shopping bags.

I asked her if this was her vehicle and she said, “Yes.”

I shook my finger at her and said, “Shame on you.”

She asked me what was wrong.

She went to the vehicle and unlocked it, got in and was going to drive away, not even tending to the little boy.

My mom stood behind her vehicle so she couldn’t drive away, as I went to the driver’s window and asked her why she left her son in the vehicle.

Her answer: he was sleeping, so she went into the store.

This whole time, the little boy is still crying.

Who knows how long he was in there because he was in the vehicle about 15 minutes before she came back.

I told her to get out of the vehicle and get that heavy sweater off of him.

She did and when she picked him up, the back of his head was soaked with sweat and the sweat was running down his face.

Then the police arrived.

This time, the police officer wasn’t so quick to dismiss the event.

The officer went over to the little boy to assess his needs and asked the mother why she left him.

Again, because he was sleeping.

The police officer let her have it after that. The officer stated that Child Welfare will be notified and they will be contacting the mother.

The officer also stated that the mother had better take this little boy to a doctor because he exhibited every sign of heat exhaustion.

The officer also told her that we, as citizens, have every right to be concerned and to contact police because leaving children for even one minute by themselves is against the law.

When are people going to get it?

Your children are the most precious thing in the world and you don’t leave them by themselves under no circumstances!

Funny thing, as we were driving out of the parking lot, we sat at the stop light and this lady pulls up beside us. Guess what she was doing?

Fixing her hair, chewing her gum, putting on her sunglasses and checking her lips.

Guess what the little boy was doing? Still crying.

Stacey Andrew

Red Deer

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