Mom Ordered To Stay Away From Nordstrom For Leaving Kids In The Car To Shop

Endangering your kids to check out some great shopping? That didn’t fly with a judge in the San Francisco area. A new mom has been ordered to stay away from Nordstrom after leaving her 11-week-old twins inside her SUV while she was visiting the store in February. Once again — never leave your kids in the car, no matter the season.

The woman, 46, was arrested in February, after a concerned shopper spotted the twins in an Escalade in the mall parking lot and called security and the police. Prosecutors say video from security cameras showed the mom inside the store for about 40 minutes.
Prosecutors said security video showed she was inside the store for about 40 minutes.

The mom entered a no contest plea, and along with being banned from Nordstrom, will now have to pay a fine, take 26 parenting classes, attend counseling and let police drop in on her at random.

Her children weren’t hurt, so if the woman adheres to the agreement’s terms for the next two years, she won’t have a criminal conviction on her record.

One more time for good measure: Don’t leave your kids in the car. Ever.

Danville Mom Banned From Nordstrom After Leaving Kids In Car [CBS San Francisco]


Edit Your Comment

  1. ferozadh says:

    This punishes Nordstrom more than the mom I would think.

  2. Gravitational Eddy says:

    Once again, children having children. +1 for Nordstrom in stepping up.
    Why should they take a hit because of an idiot.

  3. dork says:

    Just wondering, how old do you have to be to be left in the car alone? Can you be arrested for leaving your sullen 14-year-old in the car because they don’t want to be seen with their parents?

    • dolemite says:

      I was that child several times.

      • Astranger says:

        When I was young my dad left myself and/or my sister in the car while he ran in to get something all the time – sometimes even with the keys in the car, but the car was turned off.

        Never as young as 11 months though. We were old enough to know how to roll the windows up/down and call or go for help if we needed though. I think at the youngest I might have been 6.

    • shepd says:

      Any child under your care here. That means under 18, and possibly over 18 if for some reason you retain guardianship (perhaps they are mentally handicapped):

      The law is purposefully vague to ensure the government can maximize revenue and minimize your right as a parent to decide when your children are old enough to get out of car on their own (for me that was when I was about 8 years old, but I always was a little slow :P ).

      In other news, in my province, your children will be given away if you weigh much over 300 lbs (A judge decided this yesterday). Nanny state indeed! Literally! :D

    • corridor7f says:

      I guess I’m old, but I was left home alone from the age of 10 for a good 2 hours every day until my dad got home from work.. “latch-key kid”, I think was the term.

      I can understand if it was a blisteringly hot day, but if not.. I don’t see the need for intervention if the kid is under 18. Certainly older than 11 weeks, but I think a reasonably street-smart 7+ year old could cope. Just turn the car off and get them to lock the doors behind you.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        Me too. My parents worked, and I had a key to get in the house. I was in grade school. Of course, our family dog was a trained German Shepherd, and was very protective, so I didn’t feel unsafe. I just went inside, locked the door behind me, got a snack, and watched TV until Mom or Dad got home. This was after walking home from school along a busy road with no sidewalk. Things were different in the 70’s. No door to door bus service back then!

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Varies by state, and the emotional maturity of the child. Here in Texas the law gives us a bit of leeway (great when it’s freezing cold and two kids are sleeping, and pay at the pump is broken requiring a run in to pay for gas).

      Leaving a child in a vehicle is punishable under the Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 22, Section 10:

      Sec. 22.10. LEAVING A CHILD IN A VEHICLE. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes, knowing that the child is:

      (1) younger than seven years of age; and

      (2) not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older.

      (b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

      They can get you separately for neglect even if you meet those requirements, but the case isn’t as clear cut.

      I have never heard of anyone’s children dying under circumstances allowed above, despite having very hot summers.

  4. Arctic Snowbot says:

    I’m not trolling. What is allowable? If you have your kid strapped in, but forgot your wallet (or Purse) inside, do you have to unstrap your kid and take him inside with you? I mean, honestly, what’s the maximum allowed? Will CPS be called because you left your kid in the car for 30 seconds with the doors open?

    • Marlin says:

      Yes; if you are not in the car your small child should not be either.

      That 1 minute turns to 5-10 when the phone rings, you don’t find your item right away, etc…
      Same rule applies when your child is in the bath tub. If they are in the tub you are in the room. If you are not in the room your child should not be in the tub.

      • AtlantaCPA says:

        I had a babysitter leave the room when my son was on the changing table when he was about a year old. He did a faceplant onto the hardwood and she did not get another sitting job with us.

        She actually said “I guess what they say about never turning your back on a kid on a changing table is true!”

      • Danno23 says:

        Our grandson was in the children’s hospital for heart surgery, and the bed next to him in intensive care had a baby girl who was essentially brain dead. Mom had her in the the tub, and stepped out for “just a second” which turned into a phone call, then something else, then something else….

        It was a sad situation that could have (and should have) been easily avoided.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      the strict answer is you never leave your kids in the car alone for any reason for any amount of time. Forgot your wallet, unstrap -em and take them with you.
      The real life answer is that if you are outside your own house and run in for less than 1 minute then no one is likely to notice and if they do you will have driven off 14 minutes before the police finally get there.
      if you are outside a store or other public establishment then you never leave them alone in the car ever, even for 30 seconds. forgot your wallet or one of your grocery bags, too bad either leave the material possession behind or go through the “hassle” of buckling and unbuckling your child again.
      I have a 2 door Honda Civic and have never understood people who complain and moan about what a hassle it is securing their kids in car seats. It takes 15 seconds at the outsdie and I have to do it while leaning over a seat and twisting my body to reach or goin around the car and then back around it again.

    • taaurrus says:

      A parent who leaves their child strapped in the car, because they don’t want to unstrap them, while they run inside and retrieve their forgotten item or buy something they forgot or whatever they just NEEDED to do while they leave their precious, irreplaceable child alone in the car for WHATEVER length of time is just as much a POS as a parent who does what this woman did. You are a PARENT – if you didn’t want to be inconvenienced by having to unstrap your child, that you just strapped in, because you have to run back into the store then you should NOT BE A PARENT. Period.

      • shepd says:

        As a parent, I use my discretion not to have my children play around gas stations and leave them strapped in the car while I fill it.

        This is illegal, but I do it anyways. As does every other parent I’ve ever seen. Because the other option is for them to get their hands covered in gasoline soaked muck, as it is also illegal not to attend to the pump while using it (however, it is NOT illegal for your children to play with gasoline or breathe in the fumes if you have to take your 1 month old’s seat out and lay it on the ground with them in it).

        And no, there are no more full-serve stations here, thank you very much.

        These are the untenable situations caused by the nanny state.

    • shepd says:

      There is no time limit in many places. About the only thing that would probably work is the time it takes for you to get out of the driver’s seat and access the child seat.

      So getting out of your car to pre-pay for gas is illegal if you don’t unstrap your children and let them hang around the gas pumps.

      Of course, fortunately, the police do use their discretion not to press charges… …mostly.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:
    • chefboyardee says:

      as a parent of a less-than-one-year-old, let me say this: if your 11 week old is in the car, and i say “whose kid is this” and nobody in earshot replies, i don’t care about the law, i WILL smash your window and save them. you can take me to court over the cost of the window, and we will fight it out.

      this article is about february, but in the spring and summer, yes, 30 seconds is too long. look at a graph of how quickly cars heat up. also, lets say you get into an altercation inside. or pass out. or there’s a line at customer service. or you see an old friend and get distracted. you have no way of knowing it will take 30 seconds to run inside anywhere.

      suck it up and take the 2 minutes to unstrap the kid. their safety is worth it. what the hell do you have going on that’s so important that you’ll risk your kid’s life to save 5 minutes?

      • Jawaka says:

        “Save them” from what?

        Was a rabid grizzly bear attacking the vehicle?

        • Sneeje says:

          You must not have kids if you are asking this question. The issue is not impending danger, its the fact that you’ve put them at risk (higher than normal) of being taken, heat stroke, doing something inside the car to injure themselves, doing something inside the car to injure others, wandering off, … do I really need to say more?

          If the risk is even .0001% higher, if the reason was you couldn’t be bothered spending 2 minutes to unstrap them and take them with you, its not good enough.

      • wade says:

        As the parent of a just-turned-one-year-old, THIS.

        I don’t know the legal maximum (which, I’m sure, varies from state-to-state, as well as differs between municipalities), but if you wouldn’t leave your car running while obviously unlocked and unattended for whatever it is that is so important, then you are too far removed from your child to be parenting.

        (NOTE: this is not advice saying that it’s OK to leave your child unattended as long as you leave the car running; I’m trying to provide an example that illustrates that you probably just shouldn’t leave your baby unattended.)

      • Janus, Should I laugh or cry? says:

        “or there’s a line at customer service. or you see an old friend and get distracted. you have no way of knowing it will take 30 seconds to run inside anywhere.”

        So true. When I’m cooking something or I have to leave the house at a certain time, I set a timer. Could be 20,40 or 90 minutes. I’m at the computer or doing some project and ‘ding!’ the timer seemingly went off immediately. No, 40 minutes really did flash by but I was so occupied that it seemed like just a minute elapsed.

        Even with *all* the car windows down, my dogs would get hot and panting in the car when it was sunny and warm. I stopped doing that.

        Leaving very young children in a car in totally irresponsible. I wonder who, and how fast, the parents would sue or blame if something happened to the kids?

    • Ophelia says:

      I would say if your child needs to be strapped into a seat, they are too young to be left in the car for any length of time alone.

      About the farthest I go is leaving the kids in the car while I walk the cart to the cart return. (All the gas stations I use, I pay at the pump, so no need to go inside for that).

      Where I grew up, we had a chain of drive through convenience stores – they sold things like milk, eggs – staples like that. What I wouldn’t GIVE for one of those now, because it is infinitely more annoying to drag two three year olds into a store for 5 minutes than it is a baby.

  5. Schildkrote says:

    “Prosecutors say video from security cameras showed the mom inside the store for about 40 minutes.
    Prosecutors said security video showed she was inside the store for about 40 minutes.”

    Looks like the security video is stuck on repeat. Or maybe it’s just this sentence.

  6. corridor7f says:

    Odd that she’d be banned from Nordstrom.. sounds like a matter of liability.

    • taaurrus says:

      Maybe Nordstrom doesn’t want to show support for “mothers” who endanger their children like this? Maybe they’d rather NOT have a woman like this in their store. It’s NORDSTROM’S prerogative isn’t it? IMO – that makes them a GOOD company because they are NOT putting money first.

      • corridor7f says:

        The article states “in the mall parking lot”. She just happened to be stopping at the Nordstrom.. is she banned from that mall or just the Nordstrom? Other Nordstroms?

        She could easily repeat this scenario in any number of places.

        /semi troll :P

        • frank64 says:

          I don’t understand why the judge banned her from Nordstrom, good thing she wasn’t shopping at the only grocery store in town.

    • CubeRat says:

      The article says the judge ordered her to stay away. It doesn’t look like Nordstrom had anything to do with it.

  7. taaurrus says:

    Once again Consumerist: How is this a CONSUMERIST story?? I thought the point of this website was to expose companies who break laws and/or treat consumers badly in an effort to get them to do the right thing. In this case – Nordstrom IS doing the right thing. So why would you call them out on the Consumerist??

    • Schildkrote says:

      Because they have daily post count quotas that they have to meet or the people at Consumer Reports who run the site will reprimand them or pull funding. This is the same reason it’s clear that absolutely no proofreading is done on this site.

    • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

      How did this article call them out? All it does is state what happened in the case, also since it concerns a shopper at a popular retailer this seems like consumer news.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      If you hang around you’ll also see stories of companies that have done the right thing, so that we as consumers can reward them with our business. This story could fall under that category, or it could be a warning to not leave your kids in your car while shopping b/c the store will ban you. I’ll let you decide which message is for you.

      Do you also write to ABC when you see a news item that you don’t deem ‘newsworthy’? I’m guessing you just ignore it and move on.

  8. wade says:

    At least she wasn’t doing something dangerous like offering them containers of soda larger than 16 oz.

  9. Upthewazzu says:

    Child worship in our society has gotten out of control. Along with the nanny-state tactics of many local governments it is a terrible time to have a kid. I grew up in Memphis which is infinitely hotter than San Fran and would stay in the car while my mom or dad went shopping or did other errands. I would much rather have done that than walk around the women’s section for hours on end. I’m still alive.

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      It makes a difference on age. I was left in the car when I knew how to walk and get out of the car if need be. When I was a baby, my aunt usually stays in the car with me while my parents shop if they decide to not bring me in the mall.

      In the above case, the kids are 11 weeks old — still infants.

      • Upthewazzu says:

        Touche. I misread the article as 11 YEAR old twins. I guess I lose the internets :-(

        • Kuri says:

          Accidents happen. Best we can do is learn and move on. Sad thing is too many people miss the first part of that….

    • matt1978 says:

      I live in Memphis currently, and who says it has to be hot outside, either?

    • Astranger says:

      How old were you?

      When kids are 11 months old they have no ability to open the window to get more air or to do anything if anything is going on.

      There is definitely an age where it is definitely ok to leave your kids in the car, I don’t think 11 months old is it though.

  10. Scoobatz says:

    How do the kids shop in the car?

  11. AllanG54 says:

    46 years old and she just found the time to start pushing out rug rats? I guess doing all that shopping she never got horizontal.

  12. billpendry says:

    I just wanted to pop in and make the sweeping generalization that anyone who drives a Cadillac Escalade is a terrible person.

  13. Overman says:

    Seems to me she could have saved the hassle and just locked the kids in a closet before she left.
    That or put them in the trunk where busybodies can’t pry into her personal parenting choices.
    I bet the Caddy was leased and they write it off as a bussiness expense making the Taxpayer finance their irresponsible energy use.

  14. gman863 says:

    It she ever reoffends, the judge should order her to have a hysterectomy..

  15. HogwartsProfessor says:

    *emotional response in 3…2…1…*

    This makes me so angry I can’t see straight. Here I am only a year older than this woman, I have prayed for YEARS to have a family and SHE GETS TO HAVE TWINS?

    Fuck her. Kill it with fire and give me those babies.

  16. backinpgh says:

    I try to be non-judgmental when it comes to things like this…I mean, if you leave your kid in the car for 45 seconds to pay for gas or something, I don’t fault you for that. But 40 minutes? For shopping? That’s ridiculous.

  17. nodaybuttoday says:

    I think it’s okay to leave your kids in the car for maybe 10-15 minutes starting at the age of 9 or 10, as long as the air/heat is on. My parents did it all the time while running into the bank or convenience store. But yeah 40 minutes for BABIES is insane.