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Mom Faces Possible Jail Time for Leaving Kids in Car While Running Errands

If convicted, she could end up in jail for up to two years.

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A mom from Pennsylvania could find herself in prison after she was arrested for leaving her kids in the car unaccompanied for 10 minutes while running errands. While Amanda Forst was shopping in a Kohl’s, someone spotted her three kids — ages 2, 5, and 7 — sitting in the car and called the police. Forst was then arrested and, according to Sgt. Keith Stambaugh, she was charged with three counts of reckless endangerment, three counts of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle and a count of careless driving. If convicted, the mother of three could face up to two years in prison.

Despite the incident occurring over a year ago, the case remains unresolved, even as Forst has paid hundreds of dollars in fees. According to The Appeal’s Joshua Vaughn, “Forst is expected to enter an accelerated rehabilitative disposition program” in August. The program would last up to two years and involve community service with the expectation that she would not face charges upon completion. But if she does not face the program, she could face prosecution charges.

Forst’s case has brought up a larger debate about child endangerment. Last year, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported that there were a record-high 52 hot car deaths last year compared to the average of 38 deaths per year. However, some have argued that in this case, the short amount of time Forst was running errands means the kids were never really in danger. Still, considering how the potential risks, it’s hard to argue that these laws shouldn’t err on the side of caution. Though in the case of Forst, jail time is probably an excessive punishment so hopefully, she is able to finish her rehabilitative disposition program.