If it hadn’t been for a paid parking stub on the dashboard of the car, no one would have known just how long the Nissan X-Trail had been sitting in the parking lot.
But when passers-by in Essex, England heard a toddler crying from the backseat of the vehicle and saw that the car had been sitting in the sun for over an hour, they took quick action.
A concerned citizen called emergency services around 4 p.m. on behalf of the distressed 18-month-old boy whose mother had left him there alone.
The temperature that day was 77 degrees, but a car sitting in the sun can easily reach over 100 degrees inside in an hour – even when windows are cracked.
When the paramedics and fire team showed up, they caused quite a stir as witnesses looked on to make sure the toddler would be ok.
Witness Cheryl Thomas told The Sun:
“It was unbelievable. We were all enjoying a day out and suddenly they announced this crying little boy had been left inside a hot car. We could see the car park from where we were and everyone looked over to see paramedics outside the car, frantically trying to get in.”
Thomas also said a parent was nowhere in sight as onlookers searched for whoever was responsible.
After years of public campaigns warning people not to leave children or pets in cars, no one could believe what they were seeing.
“Everyone was looking round for a parent rushing over but no-one came. We couldn’t believe it when ten minutes later there was still no sign of anyone. It was such a hot day, we actually got sunburn while we were out there so that poor little boy must have been in such distress.”
Once firefighters were on the scene, they smashed in the windows (presumably in a way that didn’t further traumatize the young boy) and pulled him from the vehicle.
Minutes later, a woman came out with another child in tow – seemingly unfazed by the scene.
It was the toddler’s mom.
“Who knows where she had been or what she was doing. She didn’t have any bags with her, just a big handbag, so whether she’d popped to a shop or not, I don’t know,” Thomas said.
“To leave your child for a minute is too long though, let alone an hour.”
The threesome was checked out by the ambulance crew who said the little boy would be ok.
As you might imagine, mom had some serious explaining to do the Essex police while her son was being evaluated in the ambulance.
Later that day, the Saffron Walden Fire Station posted a picture of the smashed window, using the incident to warn citizens yet again not to leave any living thing inside a hot car.
“Well a first for us! We have been called to animals locked in cars while the owners go shopping but never a child,” they said.
While there’s no further news on repercussions from the incident for the mother, witnesses say that after being questioned for 30 minutes, she was allowed to drive away from the scene with her children.
The Sun later reported that her information had been given to social services for further investigation.
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