Is It Neglectful to Leave Your Kid in a Car for 5 Minutes?

That's what New Jersey's high court is considering.

Say you you’re running errands and you need to stop into a store for five minutes to grab an item. Leave your kid in the car for a bit? Or take the child inside with you?

That choice is at the heart of a case being decided by the New Jersey Supreme Court, NewsWorks reports:

The case before the court began six years ago when a woman left her 19-month-old belted into a car seat with the engine running, the doors locked and windows slightly open while she went into a South Plainfield store for between five and 10 minutes.

Deputy Attorney General Erin O’Leary argued the Division of Youth and Family Services followed well-settled principles of child neglect in launching an investigation of the incident.

“The division has an obligation, I think the legislature has made it clear, to step in to protect children before they’re actually harmed,” O’Leary said.

An attorney for the family disagreed: “We’re not just saying that every parent gets one free bite,” he said. “What we’re saying is that where the parent has shown that she’s no risk of harm to her children or any child, then an abuse or neglect finding is not appropriate.”

No word on when the court will rule.