How many of you think that it’s wrong to leave your child or children in the car while you run into Wal-Mart? Apparently, it’s not against the law in the good ol’ state of Wyoming to leave your baby (2 years and up; I’m sure younger would be allowed as well) unattended in your car, while you “run into Wal-Mart” and it doesn’t even matter if they are screaming at the top of their lungs, it is still not considered “child abuse” or “neglect.” I, on the other hand, believe that this is a HUGE form of child neglect and endangerment. Here is where I’m going with this.
I was recently washing some blankets at a local laundry mat. They were done drying, so I proceeded to retrieve my laundry basket from my car, and turn around to walk inside. As I’m walking inside, I see this little 4 year old boy. I think to myself, “Next missing child” poster. But carry on my way. I walk past a car that is getting ready to back out and leave the laundry mat. Out of the glimpse of my eye, I see this same 4 year old little boy, drop his little sister on the pavement, FROM HER CAR SEAT! This baby girl could not have been more than 6 months old. I’m talking an 18 inch drop from her car seat to her head on the pavement. And to make matters worse, the car that was backing out had no clue that this baby was laying on the ground, her head 5 inches from the cars front tire. By now, I have thrown my laundry basket, purse, phone, keys, just about everything that I had, and picked this little girl up.
The dad of the two kids comes running out, and I am in tears and do not want to give this little girl back. I’m thinking, “ How can you just leave your kids in the car and not even watch them? Do you really care about them?” After spouting off a few unpleasant words as any parent of a child would have, after observing what I just had, I tell them that he and his wife should be glad that I didn’t call the cops on the two of them for child endangerment or something. It’s wrong to have two parents inside of a building with a 4 year old and a 6 month old baby in the car unattended. It does NOT take two people do to laundry. One parent could have sat in the car. Or stayed home with the kids to keep an eye on them.
Anyways, as events followed, I get in my car and start driving home. I think to myself I really should call the cops for what I just saw. I do. I meet an officer back at Wash Yer Wooleys. He proceeds to read the Wyoming statute to me, for child neglect and abuse. However, coming home tonight, I do some research and this is what I find on the Wyoming Statutes. ( W.S. 14-3-202)
(vii) “Neglect” means a failure or refusal by those responsible for the child's welfare to provide adequate care, maintenance, supervision, education or medical, surgical or any other care necessary for the child's well being. Treatment given in good faith by spiritual means alone, through prayer, by a duly accredited practitioner in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination is not child neglect for that reason alone;
Now, I may not be reading this right, but I do believe that it says “Failure or refusal by those responsible for the child’s welfare to provide adequate care, maintenance, SUPERVISION, education or medical…” well, you can read the rest. I capitalize supervision because being inside a laundry mat, with your back facing your car with your two kids in it, is obviously not supervising them. This to me.. means that what they did IS in fact against the law, according to the definition given.
Please, Sheridan. Make a stand with me to change the law on child abuse and neglect so more things like this do not happen. All of the mothers and fathers out there with infants, think about other kids. This should NOT be acceptable. Abuse and neglect is not okay. Write your state legislative representative! Please help this issue be heard!