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Big Guy

Store Owner Responsibility For Unattended Children

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Children have to learn how to wander farther and farther afield, have to learn responsibility and cause and affect. If they don't learn it when young they'll wind up as hapless, helpless adults without any idea about how to take care of themselves.

got hurt anyway in a different way. Kids need to take risks. They need to explore, to try things. It's in our nature.

But we have a nanny state mentality that charges mothers for allowing their children to play outside unattended. In a sense you are being forced NOT to allow your child to grow and explore.

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To eyeball - Your rather chilling response; "The few we lose along the way are worth the price to avoid that." is obviously an observation of one who has not lost one of "those few".

Again, I suggest that you ask a pediatrician, or a pediatric nurse or doctors or nurses who deal with children injuries and ask them how many parents will, while sobbing cry: "I thought I didn't have to ..." or "What are the chances that would happen ..." or I only stepped out for ..." or "But there were a lot of other kids around and ...".

I guess some parents also feel that the freedom a child should have in a car precludes having to strap them into a special seat. After all, what are the chances that a good driver like you is going to get into an accident?

The point you are trying to make is that life itself is a risk. Try feeding a baby. Turn your back for one second, and the bowl is all over the high-chair and table. You can't be there for every waking moment of a child's day.

Putting a child into a car seat just makes sense when you get down to it. And even the best of drivers get into accidents because of other circumstances. But somehow that means we need to be a helicopter parent all the time.

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I agree with cybercoma - I think this particular case, the issue is that the store does not want unattended children in there "playing" with those Legos in the store. If you have been in one, you can see how consumer friendly things are for those who are mature enough to understand that you can shop but with the responsibility to put thins back the way you found them. I can see parents dropping off their kids and going out into the mall to do their shopping.

Lego stores are not nursery schools or day care or children playgrounds.

Also Legos are so small that they can easily disappear in children's pockets, children who do not yet understand that they have to pay for things.

So to those who disagree with the store policy, what age should be the minimal to be allowed unattended - if any?

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I am reading from the responses that different posters have a different standard for "negligence". I would assume that would mean we also have a different level of parental "responsibility".

And eyeball; "... seized with a moral panic that's gone over the top". I do not believe that the matter at the centre of our disagreement is taboo - if that is the kind of moral panic to which you refer.

I am surprised that you would try to differ with my argument by implying that the person behind the Big Guy avatar is suffering from some kind of emotional or psychological defect because of his views. I thought you were above that kind of approach and that is why I responded to your post. I guess I should be more selective as with whom I try to share opinions.

I guess I could have reacted a little less to your sense that I'd be deliberately cavalier about kid's safety in a car.

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So to those who disagree with the store policy, what age should be the minimal to be allowed unattended - if any?

Whatever age the store wants. Just post it clearly so kids know they're not welcome.

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Nowadays, we lose a lot more kids to the abortionists than any child molesters or murderers. Just 'sayin....

There are abortionists prowling the LEGO stores in the US?

Thanks for the tip!

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I think the clash of viewpoints here is that some people think the kid was detained because it's not safe for the child, but I don't think that's what this is about at all. I think it's about store liability. It's about the company not wanting its employees to be responsible for children left unattended. It's about the store protecting itself, not the child.

I am not so sure about that being the stores real concern.

The store at all times, parents around or not, must keep a store that is as free from liability as it can. A defect or liability claim occcurs with or without parents.

The store is responsible for all shoppers, they cannot escape that.

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I am not so sure about that being the stores real concern.

The store at all times, parents around or not, must keep a store that is as free from liability as it can. A defect or liability claim occcurs with or without parents.

The store is responsible for all shoppers, they cannot escape that.

If they had refused entry to the boy, sure, or even told him they couldn't sell him anything. Summoning security and holding him against his will is something entirely different.

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Gawd, when I was a kid in the Okanagan, during the summer my parents would send me out the door after breakfast with instructions to be home for dinner. I had my own row boat when I was ten and my friends and I used to row all over the lake with no life jackets or any safety gear. We all swam like fish though. I used to let my kids walk to school and play on their own. Go outside and play was still a common phrase used by parents. We should all be in jail.

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I think it's more dangerous if everyone is forced to grow up as if there is danger at every turn and with the Big Brother/Nanny State hanging over it all just in case.

The few we lose along the way are worth the price to avoid that.

I absolutely agree. Just like capital punishment.

My kids were given increasing freedom as they showed they were responsible. That's how they learned about money - by starting to do their Christmas shopping in stores by themselves (either my wife or myself were always in the mall). An 11 year old in a Lego store is not considered to be "abandoned"....he is considered to be "shopping".

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Gawd, when I was a kid in the Okanagan, during the summer my parents would send me out the door after breakfast with instructions to be home for dinner. I had my own row boat when I was ten and my friends and I used to row all over the lake with no life jackets or any safety gear. We all swam like fish though. I used to let my kids walk to school and play on their own. Go outside and play was still a common phrase used by parents. We should all be in jail.

All of that is completely beside the point. It's not like this kid was playing in a park and detained by the police. He was unsupervised in a store. The store doesn't want to be liable for something that happens to a kid when there's no parent there with them. They're also not a daycare centre. And perhaps most importantly, children under the age of 12 cannot be held criminally responsible if they damage the property, get into fights with other patrons, or steal product. This case isn't about letting kids go out and play on their own. IMO, it's about irresponsible parents who drop their kids off in stores and tell them not to leave, expecting the store to look after their kids like a daycare while the parents take off somewhere else for hours. It happens all the time.

Now maybe that's not the case here. The kid had money and was shopping. Maybe he just wanted to run in and buy something and that was it. However, more often than not, parents treat stores like the Lego store as a daycare centre. Put it this way, you ever see the kind of people who are on those daytime TV shows like Maury Povich or Judge Judy? Those people have kids and those people buy stuff. It happens fairly regularly that some irresponsible twit just dumps their kids off in a store and expects the store to look after them. Maybe in this case the kid was old enough to be fine, but I've seen kids as young as 5 and 6 years old crying in stores because their parents just left them there while they went and shopped somewhere else. At the end of the day, the store shouldn't be responsible for people's kids, but as long as they're on their premises with no guardian, they're forced to take responsibility for them because a kid under the age of 12 has no legal responsibilities.

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It's not like this kid was playing in a park and detained by the police. He was unsupervised in a store. The store doesn't want to be liable for something that happens to a kid when there's no parent there with them.

I believe this is the second time youve said this, it still isnt true.

The store is held liable only for things that the store is found liable for. Parents or no parents. Doesnt matter.

They're also not a daycare centre.

Correct, they are a store for children. Mainly at least.

And perhaps most importantly, children under the age of 12 cannot be held criminally responsible if they damage the property, get into fights with other patrons, or steal product.

Yes the certainly can be held criminally responsible. Each case is different since the Crown has to determine, but generally over the age of from 7-8 they can be.

This argument does not hold water.

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I believe this is the second time youve said this, it still isnt true.

The store is held liable only for things that the store is found liable for. Parents or no parents. Doesnt matter.

Right. So you're just going to leave a child unattended in your store without feeling any sense of responsibility for them or their safety? This is pretty naive to think the people who work for the store would be so callous.

Yes the certainly can be held criminally responsible. Each case is different since the Crown has to determine, but generally over the age of from 7-8 they can be.

This argument does not hold water.

Taking that to be true, which it's not, do you really think the store wants to take the time to pursue a court case against a child (do you think the courts would even hold a 7 year old criminally responsible for shoplifting?) and besides do they really want to deal with the property damage or anything else that may occur even if they don't take it to court? It's more about the kids coming into the store and destroying the place, not putting things back where they belong and generally acting like unsupervised kids that the store shouldn't have to deal with. That's not to say this nonsense doesn't happen with parents there because it sure as hell does, but it's a lot less likely when a responsible adult is there telling kids to put things away where they belong or not to rip open boxes unless they're buying the stuff.

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Did the Lego store have their policy towards kids on public display or not?

If not then I don't think anyone has much of a Lego to stand on in their defense in this case.

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Right. So you're just going to leave a child unattended in your store without feeling any sense of responsibility for them or their safety? This is pretty naive to think the people who work for the store would be so callous.

A parent is responsible in law whether they are there or not.

I have no idea what premise you are going for with the 'work for the store would be so callous' thought.

Taking that to be true, which it's not,

In fact dead on true.

The law recognizes that "the capacities of children are infinitely various and accordingly treats them on an individual basis and, out of a public interest in their welfare and protection, in a more lenient manner than adults."6

The modified subjective standard is flexible enough to accommodate children who fall on a wide spectrum of age, intelligence and experience. The modified subjective standard has been found to apply to children beyond tender age but below full maturity. The standard will be higher depending on the facts of the case. If the child is older, more intelligent, and more experienced, the standard will be higher. These children are capable of negligence, but the law treats them in a more lenient manner than adults.

The particular activity of the child will also play a role in determining the standard of care. When a child engages in an adult activity, such as driving a car, dirt biking, or snowmobiling, that child will be judged by the purely objective standard that applies to adults. In McErlean, Justice Robins of the Ontario Court of Appeal stated,

[A]s a general rule in determining negligence, children are not required to conform to the standard of conduct which may reasonably be expected of adults. Their conduct is judged by the standard to be expected of children of like age, intelligence and experience. This is essentially a subjective test which recognizes that the capacities of children are infinitely various and accordingly treats them on an individual basis and, out of a public interest in their welfare and protection, in a more lenient manner than adults ...There are, however, exceptions to this general rule. Where a child engages in what may be classified as an adult activity, he or she will not be accorded special treatment, and no allowance will be made for his or her immaturity. In those circumstances, the minor will be held to the same standard of care as an adult engaged in the same activity.

Recognizing the distinct legal standards which apply to the subsets of children is key to effective early investigation of the case. If you are dealing with a tortfeasor or claimant of tender age, considerations of culpability in negligence or contributory negligence will not apply.

do you really think the store wants to take the time to pursue a court case against a child (do you think the courts would even hold a 7 year old criminally responsible for shoplifting?)

Come on cybercoma, you klnow the answer to this already. The store would call the cops, the cops may/could arrest the kid and start the process.

If wilful damage was caused and the child is of sufficient age to know better (as per the court test) then the insurance company may seek a case, but thats up to them since the shop owner has agreed to bide by the policy wordings.

and besides do they really want to deal with the property damage or anything else that may occur even if they don't take it to court?

Do they 'want to' ? Who knows, in many cases no they probably dont.

In some they probably do.

It's more about the kids coming into the store and destroying the place, not putting things back where they belong and generally acting like unsupervised kids that the store shouldn't have to deal with.

So...McDonalds can hire fewer cleaners since they dont want to deal with things kids do?

Some inductries/stores are magnets for children, they target kids for sales (ok the parents pay). Legoland, is one, McDonalds is another , chucky cheese ...and so on.

They design, build , audit and ensure that they have done the best they can to mitigate any dangerous objects in their stores. In fact they spend inordinate amounts of money to achieve this.

The store knows it has to deal with unsupervised kids the moment they open the shop. Thats because plenty of parents dont do what they should, but also becuase the store wants to minimize any losses.

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Did the Lego store have their policy towards kids on public display or not?

If not then I don't think anyone has much of a Lego to stand on in their defense in this case.

From the article....

""…And as such we have a policy in place regarding unaccompanied minors. As this customer was under the age of 12 and alone, we followed our protocol and stand by our policy."

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That policy was obviously not displayed where the public could see it then because the kid in question had been allowed to go into the store unattended a number of times before without incident.

If the public is expected to subscribe without question to the new panic stricken state of mind that's seized just about everyone in authority these days then the government should be mounting a public education program to address the lack of public attention being paid to the grave dangers threatening our children and communities.

Where the heck is Vic Towes when we really need him?

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That policy was obviously not displayed where the public could see it then because the kid in question had been allowed to go into the store unattended a number of times before without incident.

I dont think you nor anyone else can say 'obviously not displayed' and then reason it to the fact the kid had been there before.

Maybe the kid, and perhaps his folks too, ignored the sign or thought little of any action by the store.

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Apparently the store was ignoring their own policy too.

A lot of them do, some figure it is there when 'we want to invoke it '.

It doesnt in and of itself change anything though .

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It sure would have mattered if the store did something that caused harm to the kid.

Absolutely not.

Nothing printed, posted, yelled, signed for by parents in the store could absolve the store causing harm to a child.

I dont think thats what you meant to write .

It would mean that those "by signing this form you absolve us of responsibility' forms you eget or abide by or written on the back of a ticket of admission allows the store etc to get off the hook.

Those arent worht the paper they are printed on.

Edited by Guyser2

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I mean that not posting anything at all would have made it worse for the store.

It's a kid's store that doesn't want kids? Okay, thanks for letting us know.

Edited by eyeball

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I dont think you nor anyone else can say 'obviously not displayed' and then reason it to the fact the kid had been there before.

If the store puts up a sign which says "Any children under 12 who are not supervised will be seized and held against their will until parents are summoned and arrive" do you think that would make it legal to hold children against their will who have broken no law? If I see a kid on the street who appears under 12 and is not being supervised can I grab them and take them kicking and screaming back home and call their parents? What do you think police would do?

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If the store puts up a sign which says "Any children under 12 who are not supervised will be seized and held against their will until parents are summoned and arrive" do you think that would make it legal to hold children against their will who have broken no law?

Absolutely not.

I am unsure what your angle is Argus.

If I see a kid on the street who appears under 12 and is not being supervised can I grab them and take them kicking and screaming back home and call their parents? What do you think police would do?

Put you in handcuffs.

And?

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