After a summer of tragic deaths and close calls, the public is ready to pounce on parents who leave their kids alone in the car. Florida mom Samantha Kenly Moore says she was unfairly judged when she was arrested for child neglect after leaving her two sons and baby nephew in the car for 15 minutes while getting a broken nail repaired. Were her actions criminal or just stupid?
Moore says child neglect charges against her are unfair and that initial reports don’t paint an accurate picture of what happened. According to the 25-year-old nurse, she could see the kids in the car while she was getting one of her nails touched up during what was supposed to be a five-minute visit to the salon in a strip mall. Her infant nephew remained in the care of her 8-year-old son, while her 6-year-old stayed in the salon with her. Though witnesses reported seeing her 6-year-old running around in the parking lot, Moore says the only time he was alone outside was when she sent him to the car and quickly followed behind.
Was it stupid to leave a baby in the care of an 8-year-old? Yes. But not for the reasons you might think. The weather hasn’t been hot lately in Florida. The kids weren’t in danger from excessive heat. Being alone in the car posed a risk of being abducted, but so does walking home from a bus stop or wandering more than 10 feet away in a store. Moore explained that her 8-year-old is responsible and mature and knows to hit the horn if someone comes near the vehicle.
It was stupid to leave the kids in the car because we are currently wrapped up in a culture of fear when it comes to parenting choices. The lines between questionable parenting and child abuse have been blurred, and there are plenty of concerned citizens out there ready to call the cops when a child is playing alone down the street or an infant is in the car with a third-grader in plain view of the mother.
Moore is now in danger of losing her job because of her arrest. Her whole life is under scrutiny. One arguably dumb mistake may devastate her family. Does it really make sense to heap court costs and immense stress on this young family over a small lapse in judgment? Kids are slipping between the cracks every day, resulting in death and injury from abuse. Moore is a working mother who clearly loves her children. Shouldn’t attention — and taxpayer dollars — be focused elsewhere?
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