Rachel Stevens was photographed apparently leaving her daughters alone in her car while she popped down the high street last week – and the story has completely divided parents. According to the Mirror, the former S Club 7 singer appeared to lock the car door, leaving her daughters Amelie, 4, and 18-month-old Minnie Blossom inside. The car was parked on a street in North London at about 12.30pm.
Of course, we don’t know the full details of what happened and Rachel is keeping quiet. Witnesses say that she left the children in the car for around ’10 minutes’ and soon after she left, Amelie was photographed playing in the front seat and turning around to her sister in the back. When the mum-of-2 returned, her children were still safely in the car.
It’s one of those things that many of us have done at some point – briefly leaving a child in the car while dashing off to do a quick errand or drop something off. Although for others, it’s a risk they wouldn’t take.
After the story ran in the Sunday Mirror, Supernanny Jo Frost tweeted that Rachel’s parenting choice was “not a smart one” but sympathised with her being “shamed” in public.
“It’s the tone of this public parenting police I don’t like, Stones and glass houses. Lets teach, love and educate,” continued Jo.
Other parents were quick to agree. “The ‘goody’ two shoes have probably never left their children in the car whilst paying for petrol…” one tweeted. “Everything celebs do gets pulled to pieces. No need for it. We are all human and make the same mistakes,” another tweeted.
However, others felt differently. “@MsRachelStevens – You should be ashamed of yourself. Why would you put the most precious thing in the world at risk ..!” one tweeted. “She should never have done this. Totally irresponsible,” another added.
The law doesn’t specify at what age you can leave a child alone – and recommends parents use their own judgement, so Rachel hasn’t broken any laws. But it is an offence to leave a child alone “if it places them at risk”.
The NSPCC gives more guidance on recommended ages. It says:
- Children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
- Children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight
- Babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone
Have you ever left your children alone in the car? Where do you draw the line? We’d love to know so have your say in the comments below.
Photo: Xposure and Getty