LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- It's something busy parents may do; you're in a rush to do a quick errand when you leave kids in the car for only a few short minutes. Are you breaking the law?
A mother in the Tampa area was confronted on camera after a bystander noticed she left her child alone in a car while she ran an errand.
Tony Strong says he was at a WaWa in Tampa Tuesday when he saw the mother leave her child in her car, so he pulled out his camera and decided to confront her. The video shows Strong recording the woman's vehicle; he then enters the convenience store and finds the mother at a beverage cooler.
"This is the lady who left her kid in the car," says Strong in the recording.
He then asks the mother about her child. "You know you left your kid in the car right?" said Strong.
She ignores him at first, but when Strong persists on getting an answer the mother says, "He's perfectly fine. The air conditioner was on. He's got (inaudible) he'll be fine."
The video lasts for three minutes and 38 seconds. Strong doesn't know exactly how long the child was left alone in the vehicle, but says he was surprised by the mother's reaction to his questions.
"What got me was that she said 'the air conditioner was on,' so I don't how long she was in the store, but still when you're in a car the weather gets hotter and hotter by the minute," said Strong.
According to Florida statute, the mom may not be in the wrong. If a child is over the age of 6 by law it's okay for them to be left unsupervised in vehicle.
However, for children under 6 years old the child must not be left alone for more than 15 minutes. If the motor is running the child can't be left unsupervised at all; and if the child is in distress or their health is at risk they also can't be left alone in a vehicle.
"You hear about kids being gone like that, and people's kids dying in the car because of the heat, said Strong. "That's your kid...you got to use your brain."