Dad puts kids in trunk - what do you think?

Story here

A dad was seen putting his 9 & 11 year old daughters in his car trunk and letting them out shortly after. At his arraignment yesterday he was charged with domestic assault and reckless endangerment of a child. He claimed they asked to go into the trunk to play “Find the release hatch” and let them out 30 seconds later. The girls confirm his story.

What do you think about this? While I think it’s good to find out the actual circumstances, if the dad’s claim is true, I think all charges should be dropped. I find this quote from the story particularly disturbing:

“Thirty seconds or five minutes, prosecutors said Fekete should never have allowed the children to play in the trunk.”

Why not? As long as he’s standing right there and lets them out if they can’t find the release hatch themselves, what’s the problem? As a parent, I often let my kids play in circumstances that would be dangerous for them if I wasn’t there. But I am there. From what this prosecutor is saying, I shouldn’t bring my 3 year old into a pool because she can’t swim, regardless of the fact that I can swim and I’m right there with her.

Poor judgement on his part. Ok let me re-phrase - idiotic judgement on his part.

A stupid thing to do, but hardly criminal.

“Domestic assault and reckless endangerment”? Let’s see…no one was assaulted, and since he was standing right there, no one was endangered.

Must be nice to live in an area where the prosecutor has absolutely no real criminals to go after.

Man, I remember when I was a kid we’d borrow our parents and lock each other in the trunk.

There were no release switches then.

But probably fewer idiot prosecuters as well.

Neither of the articles I’ve seen so far mention what fines/imprisonment he may be facing. If they want to slap him with a small fine for being stupid, I guess I don’t have a problem with that. My guess is that the fact that he’s been dragged into court will be more than enough punishment to keep him from even being tempted to repeat his actions.

But I just don’t see why he has to face a trial for this. I don’t have the impression that his kids were ever in any danger. No one has suggested that he locked them in there or walked away. I don’t think this is a big deal.

I have done this with a three year old who likes to get in the trunk, have me shut the trunk, and then crawl out the passage way through to the back seat. She also likes to sit in the trunk with a flashlight, as children like to do with closets, cabinets, etc. If its a game they were playing and no punishment involved, I say they are overreacting.

That is a crappy action on the part of the DA. It really is a good idea for kids to know how to use a trunk release latch if that really was the purpose.

I actually think this is a good idea, along the lines of practicing fire drills. Trying to find a release lever in a dark trunk is something you never think of, and is likely very harder than you’d figure.

But if you’d practiced…

I think they’re charging this guy for improving his daughters’ survival skills.

It’s not assault, because the kids were willing participants. It’s not endangerment, because the kids were never in any danger.

I had no idea that the trunk of a car was so dangerous that a child might die within seconds of entry.

On one of my cars, there’s a latch that lets down the back seats and extends the trunk. I have allowed my children to ride in the car with the back seats down, thus allowing the Evil Humors of Death that apparently emanate from the rear third of a vehicle to contaminate them.

Question for discussion: Should I be executed, or merely sent over for life while my children are re-assigned to a more responsible parent?



I’m going to slightly revise my statement, after reading this article.

The fact that he actually did walk away from the car for a while makes him less bright in my mind. Particularly as sensitive as we all are these days to kids being left inside hot cars. The question of whether it was 30 seconds or five minutes seems more pertinent to me now, because if the girls couldn’t get out and had panicked, that could have caused a serious problem.

Did he forceably put the kids in the trunk?
No, they were just playing and wanted to go in there.
Did he put them in and then go driving about?
No, the car never went anywhere.
Did he put them in and leave them unattended?
No, he stood there and monitored their safety.

Sure, maybe it wasn’t the greatest idea he ever had but I can think of a lot worse things parent do to endanger their kids. Toss toddlers up into the air and catch them, push them down hills in sleds, let them climb up too high in trees, etc.

I consider the Michael Jackson dangling his kid over a balcony railing to be 20x worse.

I guess I’m a bit torn as it’s unclear as to whether the intent was to let them play in what’s essentially a heat coffin, or whether he was using this as an educational experience.

If it was to ‘play’, then can his sorry butt. But if it was to insure they’d know how to quickly find the release should they ever accidentally be locked in a trunk (or kidnapped), then I’d say he’s to be commended for insuring his kids be ‘educated’ in how to avoid a potential tragedy.

How can they be belted in with the seats down?

The only thing I can imagine with the OP is that if something bad happened to dad while the kids were locked in, that could suck. But I’m sure the chances of that are vanishingly small.

Mmm, ditto on the revision. Not too bright leaving them in there while he goes inside.

If the dad is telling the truth (and the story sounds reasonable, given that the kids were probably bored silly after a long car ride), then this is going to be one of those cases where the authorities violently overreacted and now can’t easily back down without looking foolish. So the guy is screwed – at best, he’s looking at some big legal fees and a Department of Social Services investigation. Eventually, his lawyer will probably make the successful argument that it’s not actually illegal to lock your kids in the trunk as long as you’re standing right there and as long as there was no element of punishment involved. He’ll get a slap on the wrist and sent back to D.C. and everyone will try to pretend it never happened.

And for the record, I have put same kid in the washing machine, dryer, furnace closet, clothes hamper, cabinet under the kitchen sink and a large dresser drawer. But not the freezer or oven :slight_smile:

There are two back seats that fold down separately. One was down (in the case I remember).


No, with a glow in the dark pull tab, as mentioned in the article, it’s pretty easy. When I was fifteen, I tried out the release tab on my sister’s car. I imagine an eleven year old would be able to do it with no problem on the first try. A nine year old would probably be able to do it just as easily as well. The only problem I would foresee is that they might freak out, but I would too if I were actually locked in a trunk and not put there by a family member.

This guy just seems kind of dumb. Walking away from the car does seem like child endangerment. It’s easy enough for errands to take longer than expected. I imagine the trunk would have gotten significantly warmer if he had been in the library longer.