There’s Actually a Heated Parenting Debate About Whether It’s Ever OK to Leave a Sleeping Infant Alone

The question: “Would you leave a peacefully sleeping 10m old home alone for 7 minutes?” on the British parenting website Mumsnet has produced a firestorm of comments from disagreeing parents. My first response was “ARE YOU INSANE? OF COURSE NOT!” But then, I decided I should maybe read the original questioners post, just to be fair. It reads:

Baby reliably naps at the same time every day for at least an hour

The 7 minutes is going to a shop to collect something approx 50m away.

Ok, so now I can confidently say I have changed my answer to: “ARE YOU INSANE? ONLY IF YOU WANT TO GO TO JAIL FOR NEGLECT!”

Seriously, a 10 month old? That kids wakes up and gets squirmy, you are in TROUBLE. Anything can happen—anything! Babies die when responsible parents are carefully looking after them—accidents happen. Why would you want to tempt fate by actually leaving a MOBILE baby alone (let alone a tiny infant)???

mumnet
Screen shot via Mumsnet

Many parents on the site agreed with me, but others seemed to consider this to be reasonable. One user in particular said,

“Yes, I would. And have done

But nobody else no MN will admit to doing the same consider it a reasonable thing to do.

Do your own risk assessment and then make a decision.”

And another chimed in with:

“It’s logically as risky as having a shower (where you can’t hear sh*t) or going in the garden tosunbathe hang out washing when they’re asleep. You’re hardly constantly monitoring them then either. It’s irrational to think popping out for 7 min is any different.”

Other less risk-loving parents said:

“I always think what if you were knocked over outside? No-one would know the baby was in the house alone.”

And:

“No, absolutely not.

I’m sure the baby would be fine for 7 mins in the cot, though 7 mins is a long time to scream and no one comes.

The bigger danger is that something happens to you. If you get knocked down by a car and carted off to hospital no one will know about the baby in your house on his own. If your car gets bashed and you have to sort out details with the other driver then you’ll be loads longer than 7 mins. If your tumble drier sets the house on fire then 7 mins will kill your baby.

Just not worth the risk. Either wake the baby and take him or ask a neighbour to sit with baby/run the errand.”

That’s what it comes down to for me. Is it WORTH the risk? Sure, nothing is *probably* going to  happen. But. Is. It. Worth. The. Risk?

NOPE. Not for me.

I am kind of surprised this is even a debate! Am I just naive? What do you think? Would you do it?


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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.