Several years ago I wrote a blog post called "Buckle Worthy". Here's what it said:
Remember the "Sponge worthy" episoe of Seinfeld?
I've decided I have a similiar test. Mine is a buckle/unbuckle test.
I detest having to buckle/unbuckle my kids from the car. The mere thought of having to unbuckle them could keep me home for days. I will drive right past the store with my kids in the car, then go home, wait until they go to bed and drive the 10 miles back to that very same store. For me it's not a matter of them being too much to handle IN THE STORE. For me it's all about the buckle.
I just have some sort of mental block when it comes to getting them in and out of the car. Every day I weigh the buckle-to-stuff-ratio. How much stuff do I need?Then I asses whether or not the trip is "buckle worthy". If I only need a few things there's no way the buckle process is worth it.
I would drive 50 miles out of my way to find a drive through. How I long for more businesses with a drive through. How many of you would patronize a Target drive through? WalMart? GetGo? For those little stops where you just need a few items, it would be invaluable. I'd pay double.
In the wake of our economic crises, with news that even Target is posting declining sales, I have the ultimate solution. Put in a drive through for busy moms who hate to unbuckle.
I'll be the first one in line.
Now that my kids are in booster seats with a traditional seat belt and can buckle/unbuckle themselves things have gotten a LOT easier. But I still have an aversion to stopping at stores with the kids when I just need a couple of things. Rather than being more about the buckling process, now it's more about keeping them in line, keeping them from fighting and telling them "no" ten thousand times when they ask to buy everything from toys to coffee pots (my kids ask for strange things). ;)
I was dropping off a Redbox movie the other day and I purposely drove to the store that was out of my way but had an outdoor Redbox so I could just hop out and return the movie without parking and taking all three of us in the store. It made me remember the days when my mother used to go grocery shopping and my brother and I would stay in the car. We'd play little made up games to pass the time. It was more fun than going in the story. I started wondering how old does a child need to be (legally) to stay in the car alone? And at what age would I feel comfortable leaving my child in the car while I ran in a store? I admit to running in our tiny little post office at the bottom of my street and dropping a letter off while the kids watched a movie, but I'm literally no more than 10 feet away and could see them the whole time. What age would I actually go into a store, out of sight, and leave the kids in the car?
That very same day, the Post-Gazette posted an article about this exact topic: what age it's legal to leave kids in the car. It was an interesting read. It listed each state and what the law is regarding when you can leave kids in the car http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11272/1178397-454-0.stm. While there is no specified time like in other states, the article explains "Since 1991, Pennsylvania motor vehicle code has declared it a summary offense, usually punishable by a fine, to leave a child under 6 in a motor vehicle out of a person's sight and under circumstances that endanger the health, safety or welfare of the child."I have a six year old, and I'm definitely not comfortable leaving him in the car alone for any length of time. I grew up in a small town where we didn't even take the keys out of our cars at night. I've never even seen a house key to my parents' house. I have to constantly remind myself that times have changed and now I live in a big city where everyone might not be as well-intentioned. And when it comes to my children's safety, I really don't like to take chances. I'm not sure what the "right" age is for me to leave kids alone in the car, but I'd have to say it would be at least in the double digits.
What age do you feel it's appropriate to leave a child in the car alone?