I wanted to respond: I practice law in Alabama, with over half of my practice in family court. To these people who think it is okay to leave a toddler in a vehicle in a parking lot by himself or herself for any length of time, I ask, "you're kidding, right?" I can see at least one reason why you may have lost custody of your child in court! (Although I do not know anything about the other choice for custody.) I remember last year reading the newspaper about a (Georgia?) family court judge (juvenile court, I think) getting in trouble for allegedly leaving her young children home alone one night while she left the house for a few hours. I am not sure what ever happened to her, but the press sure did make a big deal out of it! Most of these stories do not make the news, I guess because of the low regard our culture has for the mundane tasks involved in taking care of children, but throw in a juicy fact, like the father was in a strip club, or the mother was a judge in a juvenile court (or even better, Brittney not putting her baby in a car seat, and the press just snatches it up! Why? It sells advertising!Yes, the press likes these silly stories because they sell ads. They give excuses to express disapproval of a sleazy pop singer, a strip club patron, or a hypocritical judge.
The newspapers and family courts do indeed show a low regard for the mundane tasks of child rearing when they make a big deal out of isolated minor incidents of no consequence.
This picture shows Britney Spears driving with a baby on her lap. This is an example of a parent who is actually violating a law. Had she been caught by a policeman, she could have been fined $100 or so.