30/11/2009 12:11 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Man Locks Sons In Car Boot While He Goes Shopping

We all know children can be a difficult to take with you when you just want to pop to the shops, but sometimes there's no alternative.

Somebody should have explained this to Michael Monahan from Massachusetts who decided that rather than drag his kids around with him, he'd safely lock them in the boot of his car while he ran a few errands.

According to state police, the children, aged three and six, were left in the Pontiac Trans Am for several minutes while their father visited a sailing shop.

The children were spotted by a member of staff who reported the matter to the police, and Mr Monahan now faces court after pleading not guilty to two counts of assault and reckless endangerment of a child.

In his defence he claimed that the children loved 'playing' in there, which worryingly suggests that this wasn't the first time he may have used his car as a holding cell for the kids.

This news comes as the latest in a spate of stories involving parents using their cars as babysitters while they 'pop' out.

Recently 9-year-old Malik Medford saved his younger brothers from being kidnapped by a would-be carjacker after their mother had left the boys in an unlocked car while she visited a service station.

Closer to home, a woman was arrested earlier this year in Norfolk after a baby was left alone in a locked car for two hours.

Mr Monahan claims to be a loving and usually responsible father, and yet he was able to justify ignoring the common sense instinct that locking a child in a car boot is dangerous and cruel, by telling himself that he'd only be gone for a few minutes.

Can such risks ever be justified by an otherwise careful parent or is there never an excuse for taking chances with a child's welfare?