A New Zealand mother left her infant in a car while she went shopping, after putting a note on the child’s blanket asking people to call her if there were any problems.
Some other shoppers believed that was a problem in itself, and took action, according to a report in the NZ Herald.
A man whose family parked next to the vehicle at the Pak'nSave Porirua carpark about 9am on Saturday saw the baby and said they were shocked.
"It was written from the baby's perspective, and it said, 'My mum's in doing the shopping, call her if I need anything', and it had the cellphone number,” he told the Herald.
"We waited there for a little bit, wondering if the mum was just going to be two seconds and come back. And my wife said, 'I'm not going in without someone being here with the baby'."
Other shoppers joined in, waiting with the car and phoning the mother to return to it.
In New Zealand it is illegal to leave children under the age of 14 alone for an unreasonable time or in unreasonable conditions, and can result in fines up of to NZ$2000. Similar laws apply in Australia for children aged up to 12, but can result in fines of up to $22,000.
Parenting expert site Kidspot.com.au advises it’s never a good idea to leave children in the car.
Leaving your child in a car unsupervised at any time is unsafe – and depending on the circumstances may be illegal. Every state and territory has laws around this, so the best option is to never leave young children in a car unsupervised.
The reasons are sensible. In summer the temperature in a car is much hotter than outside and your child can quickly suffer heat exhaustion and become seriously ill.
Children also get bored and will explore the car’s knobs and buttons, which can be dangerous; or they might become distressed, or injure themselves trying to struggle free from their seatbelts. There is also the “stranger danger” aspect.
Wellington police are making inquiries about the incident, but have said that they had little to go on as the incident was not reported to police at the time it happened.