US mum slammed for leaving 5yo home alone with oven on

Everyone knows it can be a hassle to get kids dressed and out of the house for a quick trip, but a mum's solution to the problem has prompted an online backlash.

The 35-week pregnant mother posted in a Facebook parenting group saying she often leaves her five-year-old son at home alone.

"It's a pain being pregnant and having to get my son ready and in the car so I usually leave him home alone behind my fiancé's back (no judgement please)," the mother, known only as Tarin, wrote in the post which has since been shared to Reddit. 

"Since I'm pregnant I was craving this specific place in the mall. My son's lunch was in the oven and I figured by the time it was ready I would be home considering the mall isn't more than 15 minutes away."

She wrote that her son was potty trained and "just plays game on his iPad and watches TV".

"A five-year-old is perfectly capable of fending for himself for an hour."

US mum slammed for leaving 5yo home alone with oven on
Photo credit: Reddit.

Tarin says she believes she's not in the wrong and instead is angry about the way her fiancé reacted when he unexpectedly came home and found their son home alone.

Posting screenshots of the ensuing exchange, Tarin asked: "My question is would you guys be mad if your significant other spoke to you this way? I feel degraded and belittled over nothing," she said.

She argued her partner had "literally no argument", saying she left "the oven on because the chicken nuggets were cooking" and she figured they'd be ready by the time she got back.

The woman says she was so upset by her fiancé's lecture that she's now thinking about leaving him.

US mum slammed for leaving 5yo home alone with oven on
Photo credit: Reddit.

While we don't know what reaction she got in the original parenting group, the backlash on the subsequent Reddit post was swift and furious.

"Given the gravity of the situation, I'd say he's pretty composed," one user said.

Another described her parenting decision as "insanity".

"She knowingly left her young five-year-old kid at home alone unsupervised with the oven on. That's insanity," they wrote.

"She has no right to say anything let alone have a tone with her husband who is justified in his response."

Another suggested that a couple of minutes is fine - but not any longer.

"I mean I might argue a kid can handle themselves for a bit, but a whole hour, with the oven running, no food ready, while she is out at a mall?" they asked.

If the incident had happened in New Zealand, it would be more than frowned upon - it would be illegal.

According to the NZ Police website, "young children must never be left alone in a house or vehicle they need constant supervision. It is illegal to leave a child under the age of 14 years without reasonable provision for their care."

While older children are allowed to be left at home for a "reasonable" length of time, the Child, Youth & Family site says that "what is considered 'reasonable' takes into account the circumstances in which children are left alone and the length of time they are alone.

"Parents are required to assess all the circumstances and make sure that any child left alone, or in the care of another child or young person is safe and not in danger." 

We'd say Tarin leaving the oven on probably doesn't fit the bill.