We have all heard the Breaking News stories about the death of a child after being locked in a vehicle due to extreme hot or cold temperatures, but what if the weather was fair outside and you discovered a child locked in a vehicle by themselves in a parking lot, what would you do? Would it matter if the child was an infant or toddler? What about an adolescent who appears to be mentally challenged? Should any of these factors matter? Would you at least approach the vehicle to check whether the vehicle’s engine is running. If it appears that the engine is on and the heat or air condition is on to offset the extreme outside weather conditions, would this be a factor in whether you simply walk away minding your own business; or would you do something about it?
What would you do?
- Call 911
- Take down the license plate and report the owner at a later date and time to the Department of Social Services in the form of a Hotline call
- Take down the licence plate and report the owner at a later date and time to the Police
- Wait for the owner of the vehicle to return and give them a piece of your mind
- Attempt to lower a window
- Break a window
- Attempt to locate the owner with the help of employees at nearby parking lots
- Walk away because it is none of your business
- Just assume that someone else will do something about it
- Wait to see if the owner of the vehicle returns in a timely manner?
- Walk away because you are in a hurry
In July 2013, Danielle and Jeffrey Lenhart of Pennsylvania were charged with felony child endangerment and reckless endangerment for locking their son, 5 in the trunk of their vehicle to help with his fear of the dark. In the parents defense, they supplied the child with candy. In addition, they were accused of locking the child in the vehicle during at least 3 vacation trips to the Idlewild Amusement Park in Lingonier, Pennsylvania. They were also accused of dropping him off just under 10 miles from their home in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, supplied him with a flashlight and had him find his way home by himself. The parents were sentenced to 2 years probation and at the end of the probation, their records would be dismissed.
In June 2014, Angelica Lerma-Montoya and Dulces Monge-Perez of Albuquerque, New Mexico were charged with child abuse after leaving their daughter, 5 in a truck for more than hour. Apparently, the police were called to a Home Depot after witness reports of a child locked alone in a truck. Upon arrival by police, the child was crying and perspiring as she wanted so desperately to get out of the vehicle! Reportedly, the child stated to the police that her being locked in the truck was punishment for not eating the day before. The temperature was in the 90s that day. The parents were charged with felony child abuse and bodily harm. The parents defended the child locked in the truck as pure misunderstandings because they thought the child was with them while shopping.
What would you do?