Swedish woman who left baby outside restaurant investigated

AMHERST, Mass Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:20am EDT

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AMHERST, Mass (Reuters) - A Swedish woman who police say left her baby unattended outside a Massachusetts restaurant while she ordered food inside was reported to a state agency for possible child maltreatment, officials said on Monday.

Police said they were summoned to the Bueno Y Sano eatery in the western Massachusetts college town of Amherst on Friday after the 1-year-old boy was left alone in his stroller on the sidewalk for about 10 minutes.

The woman, who authorities did not identify, said she "found nothing wrong with the situation" and that it was common in Sweden to leave young children alone outside a restaurant, said police.

The boy reportedly was in good health after the incident.

Amherst police contacted the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families to file a report of potential abuse or neglect, said DCF spokeswoman Cayenne Isaksen.

The agency is investigating the matter.

A similar incident made international headlines and sparked a transatlantic debate in 1997 when a Danish mother was arrested after leaving her baby daughter in a stroller on a New York City sidewalk to go inside a restaurant for a drink.

A federal jury in Manhattan later rejected her claim that police had falsely arrested her but did award her $66,000 in compensatory and punitive damages following the ordeal.

DCF's Isaksen said the agency received more than 110,000 allegations of child maltreatment in 2009, the latest year for which data were available.

(Reporting by Zach Howard; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)

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Comments (5)
CCW wrote:
This was very common practice when I lived in Germany in the 70s and 80s. The stores are small and the prams are enormous! Particularly if the baby was sleeping the pram would be parked outside the door while the mum stepped in to do her business. The baby continued their nap and the mother didn’t have to wrestle a huge carriage through a tiny store. No one bothered the children. Of course if you didn’t have your child strapped into the pram with the built in harness you got lectures from the grandmothers about gypsies stealing them (the harness’ were actually to keep the child from spilling out if they got too rambunctious).

Aug 16, 2011 12:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
woofda9 wrote:
Oh my! A mother who actually took her child outside in the fresh air and sunlight and SHE gets the wrath of social services dumped on her.

Meanwhile, the same kind of government services (who know how we all should behave)puts children into foster care, looks with a blind eye at children “wit no babee daddee” amd the State will support thousands of children with NO supervision on the Taxpayers dollar.

Granted, she showed poor judgement while in a different culture, but wouldn’t it have been nicer, healthier and saner to simply call this Mom out to get her child? Ironic how someone will call a State Agency and make a whole buncha nothing–again, go after the low hanging fruit and look big and powerful while doing nothing really substantive to help truly irresponsible parents ‘Mom Up’. I guess the “community” Obama talks about is really a government lackey on a salary who justifies thier job by making real parents miserable and criminal.

This Nation is swirling down the toilet faster by the hour.

How sad, meanspirited and cruel we have become it is hard enough to raise children today.

Turn a lesson in parenting into a criminal prosecution, that really makes a difference.

Oh yeh, it’s ok to leave your baby locked in a car with the windows up in the heat of summer and let it cook–these parents got sympathy–we really are messed up.

Aug 16, 2011 1:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bobw111 wrote:
“Oh yeh, it’s ok to leave your baby locked in a car with the windows up in the heat of summer and let it cook–these parents got sympathy…”

Uh, actually, those people get locked up, at least in Louisiana anyway.

And, it was incidents like those, combined with a sprinkling of kidnappings and child molestations that lead to the laws this women broke.

Aug 16, 2011 3:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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