Last weekend, Christopher Lucas and Jennie Chang attended a wine tasting in Washington D.C. Their small children—a 2-and-a-half-year-old and a 22-month-old—were sleeping when the couple arrived at the restaurant, so the parents left the children in near-freezing conditions while they went inside.
A concerned bystander called the police when she noticed that the children were unattended and restrained in their car seats. The older child, a girl, was crying and there didn't seem to be anyone around to help her. When police arrived, the parents approached and asked what was going on. That's when the children were removed from their custody and the parents were ordered to stay away from them until they'd been to court.
Both parents have pleaded not guilty to second-degree cruelty. They say that they had been monitoring the children, who had been left alone for nearly an hour, but USA Today reports that the children had not been wearing gloves or hats and that the temperature was one degree Celsius.
The children, who were removed by ambulance, are said to be unharmed. While it's impossible to tell what the parents must have been thinking at the time, the issue might be that while many people know that you shouldn't leave a child in a hot car not as much information is provided about leaving children in cars that are cold. Of course, parents shouldn't be leaving kids in cars by themselves for extended periods of time in the first place (least of all to be drinking wine), but perhaps there needs to be more awareness about situations like this?
The parents face a $25,000 fine and 10 years in prison.
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