Before my wife and I had children, I was used to running quick errands to the store in a matter of minutes. When the rugrats arrived, the quick errands required carseats, strollers, diaper bags, etc. While I am now somewhat of a pro at running errands with children, I didn’t adapt all that quickly. The first time I took my son to the store with me it was dark outside and he was asleep in his car seat. I pulled up to Best Buy and completely forgot that I had him with me. About 5 minutes after walking through the aisles I realized what I had done. I’m sure I resembled the mother from the movie Home Alone as I darted out of the store to get my baby and bring him back in with me. I can only imagine what the employees that guard the doors must have thought. Well, Texas doesn’t take kindly to idiot parents like me (correction: like I used to be).
Section 22.10 – Leaving a Child in a Vehicle
Under this law, it is a class C misdemeanor for intentionally or knowingly leaving a child in a vehicle for longer than five minutes if that the child is younger than seven years of age; and not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older.
Okay, so I might not have been in trouble because (a) I did not intentionally leave my child in the car and (b) there is a decent argument that as a stupid new parent I also did not knowingly leave him in there, and (c) I didn’t leave him in there for more than 5 minutes, but others may not be so lucky. In all seriousness, however, if you ever see a small child locked in a vehicle (especially in the Texas summer heat), call the authorities immediately. This law exists because children have died from the heat or cold of being locked in a car.