A photo of a baby inside a locked car outside a New Zealand supermarket has sparked outrage online. The photo shows a newborn baby wrapped in a blanket in a car seat, with a note on the blanket saying to call if there were any issues. A mobile phone number is on the note.
An eyewitness says he saw the baby and the note after he and his family parked next to it. "It was written from the baby's perspective, and it said, 'My mum's in doing the shopping, call her if I need anything', and it had the cellphone number.
"We waited there for a little bit, wondering if the mum was just going to be two seconds and come back. And my wife said, 'I'm not going in without someone being here with the baby'," the man recounts in the interview with local press.
The photo was posted on radio personality Polly Gillespie's Facebook page and triggered many heated responses.
For instance, one commenter wrote: "I'm sorry this is completely irresponsible! You do not leave children under the age of 14 unsupervised at all. Why did she have time to write a note?? Secondly, you do not put a capsule seat in the front of a car, due to dashboard airbags. Also, if you are that tired you should not be driving."
There were more than 1100 comments on the post, with many outraged at the incident, but many felt sympathy for the mother involved.
Another commenter wrote:"It's not something I would have done but I choose not to come on here and condemn her. It's very easy to come on here and cast judgement on others, because I'm sure you've never, ever done anything wrong in your lives. The difference is someone took a photo this time. Aren't you all glad that someone isn't following you around with a camera. (Aimed at no one in particular, just food for thought)."
Supermarket's compliance manager says he didn't know what had happened until somebody rang him about it yesterday: "It's not really an issue we deal with normally, although we get all sorts of things going on out here. We have staff in the carpark so if they saw something like a baby in a car they would bring it to our attention."
It is illegal in New Zealand for a parent or guardian to leave a child under the age of 14 alone for an unreasonable time or in unreasonable conditions. Doing so could result in a fine of up to $2000.