Kidnapping sparks debate over unattended children in cars - WNCT

Kidnapping sparks debate over unattended children in cars

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A 5-year-old boy's kidnapping is sparking a debate about leaving children unattended in cars.

Police said a suspect took a white Chevrolet Suburban with Kashis Roberts in the backseat during a carjacking Wednesday in Butner.

Roberts' father said he ran into the store to run a quick errand. When he saw his truck being stolen he immediately called police.

Roberts was later dropped off at a Durham gas station and returned safely to his parents.

WNCN asked parents if they're ever tempted to leave children unattended in the car while they run a quick errand.

"I think so. Yeah. I think we did it a lot. I mean I can remember as a kid myself being left in that position to just wait while my mom ran in and did something. I did that not all the time but occasionally with my kids. Especially if they were asleep in the car I wasn't going to unbuckle and wake them up to run a two minute errand," said Lisa Wolf.

"I think as long as you can lock the car with the child in there then it is not endangering the child but if you are leaving the door unlocked I think it is an unsafe practice," said Chris Szymanski.

"It is just not worth the risk. You can get a ticket for leaving your dog in the car. Think of what happens if you leave your kid in the car. The carjacking – that kid could've been killed," said Jonathan Gendron.

According to Safe Kids North Carolina there is not a specific state law addressing unattended children in cars. However, law enforcement officers and prosecutors maintain the discretion to criminally charge adults under existing child endangerment laws depending on the circumstance.

Safe Kids NC director, Kelly Ransdell says nineteen states have laws addressing leaving children unattended in cars.

Regardless, Ransdell recommends never leaving a child unattended in the car.

"Even one minute is enough for something to happen. Take the extra time, take them in and out of the car seat. Even though it can be hassle it could be the difference between life or death."

In 2009, state lawmakers introduced a bill to make it a misdemeanor to leave a child under the age of nine unattended with the keys in the car. House Bill 827 was referred to a Senate committee.

 

 

Charlotte Huffman

An award-winning journalist with an investigative edge, Charlotte has driven legislative change with reports on workplace safety concerns and contaminated groundwater. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

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