A Canadian man in an unidentified location has sparked a debate on Reddit after asking if it’s acceptable to leave his baby alone while he goes to the gym.
His query, posted 12 days ago, has generated more than 1,500 comments from users with varying opinions.
“I live in a main floor apartment and gym is right next door. From my patio door it’s 30 second walk to the gym. I bring baby monitor and it still works that distance,” he wrote, adding that he’s been doing this for a month and the baby hasn’t once woken up while he was away.
In his disclaimer, he also told users that he grew up in Switzerland before moving to Canada and that leaving children unattended at home is somewhat common.
“My ex-wife thinks this is the worst thing I can do to the child which [I] don’t agree with,” he wrote.
Commenters who sided with the man’s ex-wife referenced a variety of dangerous scenarios like if a fire started in the apartment, the baby started choking or if the man hurt himself or passed out in the gym.
A few users referenced the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, a British girl who went missing after her parents left her in a holiday apartment in Portugal.
Others said that the man’s assessment of the situation was fair.
“If it takes 30 seconds for him to get to his gym, how is that any different than if it takes 30 seconds to drop what he’s doing, say, in the garage and go to the baby?” elephantintheroom89 said.
“What do you think the baby is doing? Roaming free throughout the house? It’s in its crib…same as it would be if he were downstairs watching tv,” said chuckac83.
There were others that said even though they felt the man was close enough to the baby, they didn’t like that he opted to do something that made his ex uncomfortable.
“I don’t agree at all with all the other comments about the danger the baby is in,” Sleeping_Lizard wrote. “But it is important to maintain respect and peace with the mother of the child and this is a non-essential thing. This is not worth the conflict and potential mistrust it may cause.”
Mónica Ruiz-Casares, an assistant professor at McGill University’s Centre for Research on Children and Families, told the National Post that even though the child was not awake while the parent was away, cases like this can get reported to child protection services.
“In general, babies are best not left home alone unsupervised but a number of factors will be assessed,” she said. “Those factors include whether it’s a regular practice, how long the parent is gone, how easy it is to reach the child and the risk of harm to the child.”
Depending on which province or territory they reside in, parents can face fines that range from $240 to $50,000 and be jailed up to 24 months for leaving a child unsupervised.