Leaving your kids alone in a running car: Should you do it and at what age?

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live)- Do you think it's ever okay to leave your kids in a running car? A debate is brewing around that very question. This comes after a six-year old girl was killed and her sister seriously injured after the van they were in, caught on fire from another car in a parking lot in the Twin Cities area. The mother says she had to run into the store to grab some things.

"Almost seven, three in November and one in October," says Area Mom, Ashley Netzer.

Ashley Netzer is a busy mom of three and even though she has her hands full, there's something she rarely does.

"When you think about it, you should never do it, even if it's just that split second of running in," says Netzer.

Netzer tells us the only time shes left her kids in the running car was when it was in the driveway and she had to run in the house to grab something. Other than that, she says she doesn't take any chances.

“Cars can have so many issues and start on fire and I don’t think kids can handle an emergency plan,” says Netzer.

That's the exact reason some parents are now asking when if at all, is the right age to leave your child unattended in a running car.

"I think it depends on the kid and you have to know your kid and you have to know your car," says Fargo Resident, Fallon Jones.

Some parents we talked to tell us they agree with Fallon Jones, saying it depends on the maturity of your child. Others say you should never do it.

Minnesota law doesn't clearly say when is the right time to leave your child alone. However some officials with the Minnesota Department of Human Services suggest a child under the age of eight, should not ever be left alone. In North Dakota it's a similar story, there's no magic number.

As for Ashley Netzer, she tell us she doesn't think you should ever leave your child unattended in the car until they're teenagers.

"When they can think and have a job and being able to safely exit a vehicle if the parents weren't there to make a choice for them," says Netzer.

That's something she says you will never find her doing again, even if it's a quick run into the house to grab something.

Local officials tell us car fires can be extremely dangerous because there's components of the car that release heat quickly.