South Carolina Child Safety Advisory: Baby Found In Hot Car; Mother Charged

Charleston Child Safety Attorneys would like to again remind the public of the dangers of leaving children or pets in the sweltering summer heat. As temperatures climb into the nineties and have heat indexes in the low to mid hundreds, a child sitting in the oven like temperatures of a car can quickly suffer from hyperthermia, which is a condition that results from the overheating of the body and can lead to death. While instances of children being left in hot cars are relatively frequent, the injury rate is thankfully pretty low. Still, the circumstances whereby these children are left can create a potential hazard for the parents as well as leaving the child in an extremely uncomfortable position

In Goose Creek, a 20-year old woman was charged with leaving her child in an overheated car for more than twenty three minutes while she shopped in a local Walmart. A passerby noticed the sweating and visibly discomforted child when she dropped her keys. The passerby was quoted as saying “I wouldn’t even leave my dog in the car in those conditions, much less a child”. The passerby responded quickly, taking down license plate information and giving it to Walmart Employees who announced it over the PA system. A crowd had gathered around the car at that time and had decided to open it by squeezing an arm through the window. The child was safely removed and put into an air conditioned car to cool off.

The woman returned a short while later and was identified when she squeezed through the crowd to unlock her vehicle. The police asked her to give a statement, to which she responded that she had run inside the Walmart to fill a prescription and was gone for only 10 minutes. Surveillance footage from the store put the number she was away closer to 23 minutes when it was reviewed. When the woman’s possessions were searched, a glass smoking bowl was found. She was arrested and the Child was released to the custody of the mother’s parents. The mother was released on bond over the weekend.

In cases like these, forgetfulness or a busy schedule is often blamed for why a person’s illogical decision to endanger their child is made. It is important to always be mindful of the surroundings that one chooses to leave their child in.

Source: The Charleston Post and Courier, “Baby found in hot car; mom charged”, Andy Paras, August 10th, 2010

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