Parents Charged With Neglect After Car Stolen With Toddler Inside

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toddler-girl-in-car-seatLeaving a child alone in a car is risky business and most parents aren’t willing to take the gamble. One Omaha couple did, though, and now they’re expected to appear in court on charges of child neglect. KETV reports Rusty Britain and Marie Blomberg were delivering newspapers when a thief took off with their car while their two-year-old daughter slept in the backseat.

Britain and Blomberg say their daughter usually stays with her grandmother while they’re delivering papers, but that day the grandmother was sick so they had no choice but to take the toddler along. Their route included an apartment complex where both of them exited the vehicle to drop off papers, leaving their daughter alone in the running, unlocked car.

“It happened in less than 15 seconds,” Brittain said.

While Cali was sleeping in the backseat, Blomberg delivered down the street and Brittain stepped out of the car to drop off a paper.

“As I was going back, I saw the headlights get a little bit dimmer,” Brittain said. “At that moment, I realized somebody stole my car and Cali was in the backseat.”

Police found the car abandoned a few blocks away with the toddler still safely inside and cited both of her parents for neglect. They’re expected to appear in court next month.

“When you think you do everything right, you make one wrong move and now we [have] got this court hearing, so I hope it turns out OK,” Brittain said.

I’m glad the child was safely returned to her parents, and I empathize with this couple not having childcare and feeling like their backs were against a wall, but I have to question the logic of leaving a two-year-old alone in a running, unlocked vehicle. I mean, there is always a possibility of something bad happening. Even if it was only ’15 seconds’ as her father said, it hardly seems worth the risk.

The child ended up safe, but that doesn’t change the fact that any number of terrible things could have happened to her based on a moment of poor decision-making by her parents. No one wants to be an alarmist and it’s hard to imagine those worst case scenarios we hear about on the news happening to our own kids, but we have to. That’s our job as parents.

I wish there were more childcare options available for people like this couple who are trying to make ends meet and sometimes run into scenarios in which they’re forced to make hard decisions about what to do with their kids. I don’t think they meant to put their child in danger, but they were given a set of circumstances and they made a bad decision. It’s an unfortunate situation and I hope the court is able to determine the best possible outcome for this little girl.

(Photo: Shutterstock)