The police say it is forbidden for motorists to leave babies in the car while they shop. This follows after a mother left her two-year-old in the car while shopping at Crossing on Monday afternoon.
The child was seen by a community member, who posted on social media.
According to a car guard at the parking lot, the mother asked him to monitor her child while she quickly went into a store.
“I do not see anything wrong with leaving the child with me because she asked me. She said she did not want to wake her child up and she asked me to make sure that she is OK. She didn’t take more than 15 minutes and the baby was fine,” he explained.
Provincial police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said it is wrong to leave a child in the car, even if it is under the observation of a car guard.
“If the mother left them in a locked car, it is child neglect and if it is not locked it is negligence. A car guard is not supposed to take care of kids, his job is to check on the cars.
“If a parent wants to leave a child in a car they should take someone with them to town and the person will remain in the vehicle with the child. It is wrong to leave your child with someone who you do not even know.
What if the person steals the child and sells him/her? How will you know where to find them? It is very risky to just trust a total stranger with your child. Parents must stop doing such things to their kids,” explained Hlathi.
Hi-Tech Security manager Callum MacPherson went to Crossing after he saw the post on Facebook.
MacPherson said it was not easy to determine how long the mother had left the child in the car.
“On my arrival the car was already gone and I also asked around to find out what had happened. Immediately after I saw the post I went there and I also informed everyone on the post that the car is no longer at the centre,” he said.
When Nelspruit Post arrived at the centre, this journalist also found another officer from Hi-Tech still investigating what had happened.
Child neglect is a form of child abuse and is a deficit in meeting a child’s basic needs, including the failure to provide adequate health care, supervision, clothing, nutrition, housing as well as their physical, emotional, social, educational and safety needs. Source: Wikipedia.