Four young children were found left alone in a vehicle in a downtown Vancouver parkade on Wednesday afternoon.
Global BC reporter Rumina Daya was in a parkade beneath the law courts when she heard the muffled sound of a baby crying.
She followed the sound to an SUV and saw four young children — including a baby — inside the vehicle. All the kids appeared to be under the age of seven, Daya said.
There were no adults around and the door to the SUV was unlocked.
Daya was set to call 911 when an undercover officer — who was in the area on an unrelated matter — approached and took over.
The father of the children is an RCMP officer. He told Global News that his babysitter cancelled at the last minute and it was imperative that he not miss work.
He said the kids were in the vehicle for about 30 minutes and that he checked in on them.
LISTEN: Four children left in car by police officer
So what are the rules around leaving children unattended?
“There is no law that says how old a child has to be to be left alone,” Kyla Lee, a lawyer with Acumen Law Corporation, said.
“There is a guideline of 10 years old, but there’s no specific law so you can’t be charged with an offence for leaving your child alone because they’re six and not seven or eight and not nine. There’s no specific law.
“There is a provincial guideline in place that says you shouldn’t leave a child alone who is under the age of 10 years old and if the child is going to be looking after other children, like their siblings, they recommend 12 years old for that.”
Lee went on to say that “police officers should remember that by virtue of their role as police officers and the trust and authority that they enjoy from the public, they need to be mindful of guidelines and abide by them.”
In a statement to Global News, RCMP Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau said:
“The RCMP aware of an incident allegedly involving a Burnaby RCMP member leaving his children unattended in a vehicle. We are looking into the incident and have no further information at this time.”
— With files from Rumina Daya
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