Mother leaves baby in car for 15 minutes while she shops… and that alone is NOT illegal

The headline seems so ridiculous that you have to wonder if there is something else going on with the mother’s mental state (and there very well might be.) According to ABC-7, a 21-year-old mother left her infant in a hot “foggy” car for over 15 minutes while she was shopping at Dollar Tree. When store employees were alerted to a baby left in a hot car out front they were able to track down the mother in the store. The manager of the store, Brooke Tanner pleaded with the mother to turn the car on. The child was asleep but sweating. HOWEVER … the mother refused. In fact, according to Tanner, after the mother refused she took out her phone to call the authorities, which lead the exchange below:

“The lady was like, ‘What are you doing? Are you seriously calling the cops?’ I was like, ‘Yes, I’m calling the cops – this is illegal.’ I would do this if it was a dog, an old man or anything – it is illegal, you cannot do this!” said Tanner.

Eventually, after the deputies arrived the mother removed the infant from the vehicle.

This story defies all logic of parental instinct, protection or common sense, which leads me to believe that perhaps some of the mother’s synapses weren’t firing correctly. Time will tell, she’ll get her day in court and this could have had a much more tragic ending. Just locally in the past decade or so we have seen at least 3 infants die from being accidentally (not purposely), left in vehicles.

What is interesting … is that this is not as clear of a case against the mother as one might think. Florida Statute 316.6135, allows a parent or guardian to leave a child under the age of 6 in a vehicle for up to 15 minutes, as long as the vehicle is NOT running. However, the statute further states that a child cannot be left in a car for any period if the health of the child is in danger, or the child appears to be in distress.

So it appears that if the child was only in the vehicle for 15 minutes, the case against the mother will rely on the State proving that the child was in danger or distress. But does it strike anyone else as odd that absent those two factors it may be alright for you to leave your child unattended in a vehicle?