Woman arrested in Walmart checkout line for leaving 5-month-old in hot car

By: Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Updated:

BOARDMAN, Ohio - An Ohio woman was arrested Tuesday after police say she left her 5-month-old baby locked in a hot car for nearly an hour while she shopped at Walmart. 

Rasheda Lawrence, 24, of Youngstown, is charged with child endangerment, according to WFMJ in Youngstown

Police in nearby Boardman told Youngstown’s WKBN that a woman walking through the store’s parking lot around 6 p.m. Tuesday spotted the baby and asked someone to call 911. Responding officers had to force the locked car door open to get the infant out.

The baby, who was sweaty and crying, was medically cleared by emergency medical technicians called to the scene, WKBN reported

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Police said the child was in the car for at least 45 minutes with the windows rolled up and no air conditioning. The temperature outside the store was 73 degrees at the time. 

Investigators found Lawrence standing in a checkout line inside the store. 

The baby was turned over to a grandparent, police said. 

According to the national Look Before You Lock campaign, designed to prevent the deaths of children left inside of locked vehicles, an average of 38 children die of heatstroke each year. More than half of those children were forgotten in the vehicle in which they died. 

It takes only about 10 minutes for a vehicle’s internal temperature to heat up 20 degrees, which can be deadly for children, who overheat up to five times faster than adults. 

Alexandria Fire and EMS officials participate in a demonstration of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles during a news conference to launch the 'Look Before You Lock' campaign August 17, 2012, in Alexandria, Virginia.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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