Mother given fine after leaving 1-year-old child in hot car, police say

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A good Samaritan rescued a small child, locked inside a hot car at a Costco off Hacks Cross Road.

Police said a woman managed to unlock the car by putting her hand through a cracked window.

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The mother told police she left her child in the car so she could go to the bathroom inside the store.

It’s unclear how long she was gone but the Good Samaritan who rescued the child told officers the one-year-old was sweating and had a red face.

“Our children are not equipped to handle that in their little bodies and their temperatures are going to rise at a rate three to five times higher than an adult would,” said Dr. Michelle Bowden at Le Bonheur Children’s hospital.

She said young children left inside hot cars are more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion, heatstroke or even worse: death.

“Really within 10 minutes the temperature can rise 20 degrees in a car and things that we’ve been taught or think should help like leaving windows cracked can’t make a difference for that,” said Dr. Bowden.

According to a police report, the mother told officers she left the baby for a minute so she could go to the bathroom.

Dr. Bowden emphasized a parent should never leave a child alone in a hot car even if it’s for a minute.

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“There’s not a safe amount of time to leave a child in a hot car and really not even safe temperature to leave a child in a hot car,” said Dr. Bowden.

Dr. Bowden said if a parent accidentally leaves a child in the car and he or she shows signs of heat exhaustion, call your doctor.

Luckily, the child in this case is doing okay.

As for the mother, she was given a fine and will appear in court on August 25th.

“Really the message is, we want kids to be taken out of the car every time a parent leaves a car,” said Dr. Bowden.

Again, if your child shows signs of heat exhaustion or stroke you should call your doctor.

Dr. Bowden said it’s important to cool down their temperature slowly like putting a wet rag on their face or giving them fluids.