What would you REALLY do if you saw two kids in a car on a hot day?

I read this article today:


The author, Dan Kois, talks about his experience with seeing two girls (about 9 and 12 years old) sitting alone in a car on a hot summer day. He saw them as he was leaving a store. Immediately, alarm bells went off in his mind but he wasn't sure exactly what to do. It was hot outside, and it was very hot in his car. He could see the girls were sweating, but otherwise seemed fine. They also seemed old enough to get out of the car if they needed help. The problem was he knew how easily heat stroke can creep up on someone, especially a child.

Kois thought about calling the police, but it seemed like overkill at the time. It was obvious the girls had only been there a few minutes. He thought about helping the girls out of the car and then waiting with them until their mother came back, but he was alone and thought it would look really bad if a single guy started trying to lure the young girls out into the parking lot. Then he thought he'd just wait there in his car until he knew the girls were ok. But would he confront the mother when she returned? He didn't want to be "that dad". He sat their for a while and then decided to leave a large bottle of water on the trunk of the girls' car. He motioned to them that they should go out and drink it and then started driving away. As he left he saw the mother return and look at the water bottle like "wtf?".

He admits that there was probably a better way to handle the situation, but in the heat of the moment he couldn't figure it out. If it had been a younger, more helpless child he wouldn't have hesitated to call the police. But these girls were older and they didn't really seem to be in danger.

Personally, I was left in the car with my brother a lot as a kid and we were fine. I don't really think the girls were in danger, so i don't think I would have call the police. I probably would have at least knocked on the door to ask them if they were ok, but I get his worry about being the creepy guy in the parking lot. Being a woman myself I would be more comfortable to wait with them until their mom came back. I then would have told her that I saw them and it looked really hot. I didn't want them to get sick but also didn't want them to wait alone outside the car. I may even say something like "I didn't want someone to see them and decide to call the police, wouldn't you hate to get in trouble for something like this?" just so she realizes how serious that situation could become.

What do you think? If you were really in this man's shoes, what would you have done?

    Comment deleted
    Some cars have the automatic windows that only work when the car is running, in which case they could have a door open. Though I don't think they should have been left unattended either way.
      I would call the police to get them help. so crazy people do that.
        Hmmm. I'm not sure. I would probably still call the cops. Its one thing at a gas station where it will take you a second to run in but at the grocery store you don't know how long you might be in there even if you only need a thing or two. And how hard is it to take the kids especially if the can walk on their own? I wouldn't be leaving them in the car.
          If I were able to see that they were capable children and would be able to roll down the windows/open the door/whatever if they started getting uncomfortably hot I would probably just let them be and go on along my way. If they were younger and I was unsure, I would probably knock on the window and see if they responded. I wouldn't necessarily expect them to open the door or roll down the window, but it would most likely give me a better idea of if they would be able to open the door/window if they needed to. If it was a child I knew was incapable of getting themselves out of the car on their own I would call the police, and maybe even break the window to unlock and open the door myself... and then I'd call the police
          About Taylor
          Current: Chanhassen, Minnesota
          Birth: July 26
          On Moms.com since: Dec 18, 2013
          I'm the proud mama of my daughter Avery, born on June 6, 2013. I'm 26 years old, I work from home as a graphic designer, I will be testing for my 5th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do in 2015. My husband, Derek, and I have been happily married for 3 years.