I almost broke the law last week.
I had to pick the Man-Child up from a baseball game, and since the Queenager wasn't in, I also had to schlepp the Little Guy with me. (Such will be life after August 29 when she starts college. Sigh) Oh, and the dog came along too.
Of course when I arrived at the baseball place, at the agreed upon time, he was nowhere to be seen. I waited a few minutes but since I was driving him to a guitar lesson, and hate to be late, I started to think of Plan B. That would be leaving Little Guy and Dog in the (locked) car, marching across the field, yelling and gesticulating till the Man-Child saw me. Since he had his back to me, and is apparently deaf, this took a few more minutes. Anyway, I got back to the car, all was well and off we drove.
A few days later I remembered that in Chicago, it's illegal to leave small children unattended in a car, even with a barky dog. I know someone who was severely chastised by a cop for popping into her dry cleaners with the baby outside in a locked car. I checked online to learn more.
Fortunately the law relates to children under 6, but parents can be charged with child endangerment and receive a sentence of up to a year in jail, and a $2,500 fine. Gulp. This is because children have been left in cars in dangerously high temperatures, and sadly have died. Other children have been the victims of car-jacking, although most of the criminals don't even realise there's a child in the car when they drive off. (And yes, you're right - that would mean some parents not only leave their kids in the car, but the engine running and the keys in.)
When I was little I distinctly remember big prams parked outside the local shops with sleeping babies inside. Often, babies in prams were parked outside front doors too. Can you imagine this happening today? In fact, about ten years ago, a Dutch woman in New York city left her sleeping baby in a stroller outside a Starbucks, and sat inside with a friend at a window table right next to the child. The cops were called and there was a debate on every news channel that night about it. Poor woman was only doing what was apaprently common practice where she lived.
How times have changed.