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Opinions - leaving child in car & spare key..

big bear

A bear on a mission!
Ok this is my MIL and I always feel as if I'm in the wrong so I'm asking your opinions to just check it's not just my hormones.

Scenario 1

H and MIL went out this morning to get a few things in the shops with my DS who is 22 months old. MIL dropped my H back and took DS to her house to see his grandad and give us a few hours break.

She'd only gone about 10 minutes and she came back because H left shopping in the car. She left my son in the car to come up to give us the bag of shopping. He was asleep but I live on the 3rd floor which is 2 flights of stairs. DS was out in the car on a busy road. I think this is bang out of order and it's not the first time she's left him in the car. She thinks there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Am I over reacting??

Scenario 2

MIL has a 'SPARE' key to our flat in case we lock ourselves out or for emergencies. She let herself into our flat yesterday when I was in bed asleep and H had taken our son to the park. She never knocks at all always just opens the door herself & let's herself in. I've told H that he's to get the key back before baby 2 is born as I don't want her walking in. Do you think I'm being reasonable with regards this? I know if my Mum had a key she'd always knock & wouldn't come in if there was no answer & wouldn't turn up unannounced unfortunately she lives in Ireland.

I keep getting told I'm over reacting and she's 'ONLY HELPING'

Over to you opinions please.
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Can I tell you we get calls like this quite often at work about children being left in cars. It was only a short time she left him but a lot can happen in a short time. Ive seen people being charged for things like that or having car windows broken and their child removed. Obviously thats usually after the child has been left more than a few mins and its been reported but only a few weeks ago someone left their child in a car, went to M&S for a few things, someone phoned the police, a call like that gets priority!! The mother got held up in the queue meanwhile the officers there ended up breaking the car window to get in, and removed the child. Another instance about a year ago, a woman 'ran into asda'to exchange something and someone stole the car, complete with 2 year old child.

They may be extreme examples but it can happen. I never ever leave my niece in the car if I get out, not even to go to a cash machine

and as for coming into your house :eek: Seriously out of order. My mum has keys to my flat and wont even let herself into the building with them if Im home
Maybe a little in the first scenario, If that were me I would have rung the bell/house from the car and got your H to come down to collect the bag, rather than brought it up - but it was probably easier for her than carting the bag and your DS up all those stairs and if he thought he was coming back home it might have been harder for her to get him back out again. She was being considerate in coming back with the shopping, she probably just didnt think.

Second scenario, no not at all. If people have a key it is for emergency use only and not so that you can let yourself in and out whenever you feel like it. However, if you havent ever stopped her from doing this then she knows no different and you need to make it clear to her that you dont appreciate it.


Silver Member
Kids left in a car - never!!! I remember a case when I lived in Australia where a woman popped into a shop leaving her sleeping toddler in the car. The car was then stolen - when the thief realised there was a child in it he left it in a suburban road. The child was dead of the heat before being found

Spare keys? - my parents have one as they pick kids up from school 2 days a week, but when we are in they always ring the bell, would never just walk in
sorry, i think both are out of order!

hon, im afraid youl have to do the dirty work yourself and tell her straight.

i couldnt care less if shes your MIL.. its YOUR son. She must do what YOU ask. Me and my sis dissagree on things reguarding a few things, but i would never go against her wishes, its her child. . and i expect her to do the same! My mum looks after my neice 3 days a week and would never do anything sis has specifically said she didnt want to happen or didnt really like.. my mums had 7 of us, and has ben a full time mum all her life, so shes quite set in her ways, but would never disreguard what my sister has said.



Big, busty and Blowsy!
Maybe the car one is acceptable if you live on ground floor, and the car was in sight all the time, but with all the car jackings etc, I personally wouldn't leave any child alone.
And the keys? way out of order!
My mum had my spare key for emergencies, and would never dream of using it willy-nilly.


Silver Member
in my opinion - it doesnt matter if you are overreacting or not. if these are your wishes then these are your wishes.

if you dont want your son left in the car on his own then she should respect that and if you dont want her using the key whilst you are home then she should respect that.

you may find that she will be completely okay with it and if you mention it breezy then she may be okay.

my mil used to call my dd's stupid and silly if they did something wrong, and i treated her like i did the children. i said 'we try not to call people names margeret because i dont want the children to think this is acceptable behaviour' (she even called my eldest who is 5 a stupid cow once, i wasnt there but my mum was and it did not go down well at all with my mum!!)

so next time you are with her just say 'oh by the way, i would really appreciate you not leaving ds in the car on his own as i really panic about things like that and could you not use your key if we are home as its damn right rude' (ok i was joking about the last bit, but u get my point')

would your mil leave her purse or money on display in the car or let you come and go as u please in her house?

oh and by the way....i dont think you are over reacting!!!
I would never leave a child in a car. So much can happen.

And I would never let myself in like that. And I am a mother and a MIL and I would never let myself into either my daughter or daughter in law's house. Where are her manners?

Irene xx

big bear

A bear on a mission!
Thanks guys we've already told her on several occasions on both these issues. I found out she'd left him asleep in the car twice before when she popped in the bank & into the supermarket. If he woke up he'd be petrified and also all the other awful things that can happen.

She just doesn't listen and thinks that she knows best. We live in London FFS not a small village where everyone knows everyone.

I've even spoken to FIL who also has had words with her. I just don't know what to do anymore. I guess it'll take for me to actually flip out and tell her exactly what I think of her and not the nice approach maybe that'll work.
If you've told MiL already about leaving DS in the car alone I'd put my foot down & tell her she isn't taking him alone in future, it's just not worth the risk.

As for the keys yes having a spare fine in emergencies but not to just let herself in. Other than getting the key back I'd start to lock the door when you know she's coming round then she has to knock. OK not acceptable but it may make her think.


My belly this will be!
Yup I would say to her that you have asked her in the past not to leave your child in the car and unfortunately if you find she has done it again you will have no option but to stop her having your child on her own. Also change the locks and don't tell her. Two crits at once may cause a rift. She will find out eventually that you changed the locks and only have two keys with the new one.
If you don't have one, install a mortice lock on the door - make up some excuse like untrustworthy neighbour or something, and forget to give her a key. Or replace the barrel on the one you have and pretend your key snapped in the lock and you couldn't get the broken part out.

And had I known where you lived, my answer for the first dilemma would have been more in line with the general concensus. However, horror stories such as the ones related here are not things that happen on a day to day basis. Better safe than sorry, but leaving him alone in a supermarket carpark is beyond unacceptable and you would be well within your rights to stop her having him alone.

That said, a generation earlier people wouldn't have thought twice about doing such things, and she probably thinks "well my kids never came to any harm..." but they are not her kids, they are yours and if she cannot do as you ask then perhaps you do need to stop her travelling alone with him. But as your own family is far away and you may need to rely on her from time to time for help and support, try not to lose your rag with her, but instead be firm and clear about the rules that you expect her to follow.
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God Lord i couldnt do with my mil having a key, she used to have one and one day came round when we were out and did my washing and some ironing and opended some of my letters!!

i think on both counts you have every right to be unhappy, its your son and you call the shots you and hubby, whats he said about it?
If you've told MiL already about leaving DS in the car alone I'd put my foot down & tell her she isn't taking him alone in future, it's just not worth the risk.

As for the keys yes having a spare fine in emergencies but not to just let herself in. Other than getting the key back I'd start to lock the door when you know she's coming round then she has to knock. OK not acceptable but it may make her think.
All of the above would be my advice too but I think you have another issue to sort out here as well and that is that you OH needs to tell HIS mother that her behaviour is unacceptable. If she leaves your 22 month old alone in the car, perish the thought, what is she going to be like when she is a shopping centre when he is 3 or 4 years old. It doesn't take a great imagination to see the horrors and dangers there. He really needs to make her see that she is so wrong no matter what it was like when you OH was young.

As for the key. That is so rude. So bad mannered and I agree with HH keep your door locked on the inside when you are home. It is easy and cheap to fit a bolt if you don't have one.

You need to be relaxed just now BB. Take care of yourself.

I do not think you are over reacting and if I was working and passed your car with a child in it, I would have called the police! as for the keys, she should not be using them and if u don't want to ask for them back, I agree changing the locks is in order. I have keys to my parents house and only ever use them if I have to drop something off and they are not home. All other times I knock - even my mum says where are your keys!!!


Silver Member
OMG i can't beleive she just lets herself in, What if you and H were getting jiggy somewhere in the flat and she walked in omg, no way.
My mum has a key but never dream of using it unless i told her to or it was an emergency!

As for leaving child in the car whilst going to the shop etc, that just isnt on and i would stop her having him.
Both actions are so wrong. It's dangerous to be leaving a child of that age in a car alone, he could do anything whilst "playing", plus he's ALONE and at the mercy of any weirdo who might be passing.
As for letting herself into your house, that's just plain rude. My outlaws have a key but they still knock and wait when they visit when we're in, even if the door is open.
Your OH needs to do some serious talking to her.

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