I've made many mistakes and bad decisions in my life. Some of them work-related others personal and yet others around parenting.

You learn quickly from parenting mistakes. I once left my four-year-old son in the car in Dannevirke while I nipped into the chemist. It wasn't a hot day, he wasn't strapped in and the car wasn't locked.

I could see the car, I turned my back to the counter and when I went back to the car less than five minutes later he was gone.

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To say my heart stopped is not an exaggeration. I didn't no which way to run, decided on a direction and found him in a shop just up the road "looking for" me.

I learnt my lesson. Luckily for me the only people that knew about it were my family and a few friends. It wasn't reported on the news or social media.

Now I know that the case of the Dunedin woman leaving her children in a car in 33C heat in Greenmeadows is a far cry from my mistake. And a huge thumbs-up to the woman who stopped when she heard a baby crying and did something about it. She didn't turn the other eye, instead she got involved and called police — good on her.

However the reaction from some people on Facebook has been just awful. For instance "Some people shouldn't be allowed to breed".

There are many comments about her being an incompetent mum and getting Oranga Tamariki involved.

That's not a bad idea in my eyes as they will be able to determine weather she is a competent mother who made a blindly stupid mistake or someone that doesn't care about her children's welfare.

This mother hasn't had a chance to say anything in her defence and some might say there is no defence for this. However we don't know the circumstances surrounding her decision.

I'm not making excuses for her just trying to imagine why she decided to leave her children in the car.

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Perhaps as she is from Dunedin she had no idea how hot the Hawke's Bay sun can be and how fast a car can literally feel like an oven.

Maybe she only needed one item so thought she would be only a few minutes.

We all know what it's like walking into an unfamiliar supermarket and walking up and down aisle after aisle looking for one item. Then having been to Greenmeadows Supermarket myself I know how busy it can be. She may not have anticipated the queue.

This is all hypothetical of course and in hindsight I bet she wishes she had realised it was going to take her longer than she thought and either abandoned her purchase or gone out and got her children.

Hindsight is a fine thing isn't it?

I heard a story yesterday about a couple of kids left in the car by their dad. This was quite a few years ago. The dad told then to stay put while he went into a shop. The boy got bored and pushed in the lighter. Then he decided he'd see if the bag of fertiliser on the floor of the car would burn. It did and the bag started smoking. Luckily dad appeared — that could have gone very badly.

On a lighter note, my son paid me back in full for leaving him in the car. When he was about six I was rushing to get to an early evening hair appointment.

The rest of the family were having diner as I rushed out the door, jumped in the car and headed off.

Two minutes later a head popped up from the back and yelled "boo". I nearly ran off the road. I was late for my appointment as I had to turn around and take the little "darling" home.

Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.