Pardalis & Nohavicka Child Protection Law Update: Think Before You Lock


Pardalis & Nohavicka Child Protection Law Update: Mother Leaves 2-Year Old for Half-Hour in 112 Degrees Car While Shopping — Child Okay; Mom Gets One Free Pass


     One summer day, Melanie N., a stay-at-home mother of four, left her two-year-old child alone in the car for about 30 minutes, while she went shopping. The car was not running and the windows were closed. It was 88 degrees Fahrenheit outside and 112 degrees Fahrenheit inside the car. The police were called by a passerby, and the child was transported to the hospital.

The Department of Social Services filed a petition seeking a determination that the child left in the car and all of Melanie’s children were neglected.

Melanie testified that she brought her young son shopping with her at the last moment, although she had previously planned on running errands on her own. She explained that his car seat was placed in a seat different from where it normally was in, and she did not have his diaper bag on the front passengers’ side of the vehicle, as she normally does when she was traveling with her children. The judge noted that although Melanie was unable to verbalize her remorse over the situation, her demeanor during her testimony revealed a mother who made a mistake and did not intend to harm her infant son, or any of her other children.

The Court ruled that although facts sufficient to sustain a finding of neglect was established, the Court was nonetheless dismissing the case because the facts before this court indicated that the incident was an isolated one, and there was no indication of a likelihood of future neglect.

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