SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Spartanburg Police are investigating after an infant was left inside a car outside an Upstate Wal-Mart. Police say employees broke the car’s windows to get the child out.
As we approach the hottest time of the year, child safety advocates say this highlights a serious issue. Kidsandcars.org reports more than 800 children have died from heatstroke in hot cars since 1990, including nine children so far this year.
“I have four children,” said father, William McLean. “I would never leave. I’ve never left my child alone in a car.”
McLean says that’s the situation we walked upon at the Dorman Center Wal-Mart around 4:00 p.m.
In an incident report, Spartanburg Police said a six-month-old left inside a car with the windows rolled up and the car was shut off Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses heard the baby crying and saw it covered in sweat, and shaking.
Employees broke the windows and took the baby out before calling first responders. EMS transported the baby to Spartanburg Regional Hospital.
It’s a situation child safety advocates say can turn deadly even on days that seem cooler.
“A car heats up fairly quickly,” said Safe Kids Spartanburg Coordinator Penny Shaw. “The car is going to heat up 10 degrees every 20 minutes. That is why it’s very dangerous. It can get up to over 115 degrees inside the car in the early summer.”
Shaw says that’s why it’s important to never leave children or pets inside a car, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
“You may get in that Walmart right there and say ‘oh I see a sale – let me stop and look at that,’ and that 10 minute run in may turn into 45 minutes,” said Shaw. Shaw says there are ways to help parents remember their little ones. “Put things in the back of your car to remind yourself, like your cell phone.”
The baby’s parents told police they forgot their infant was in the car. There’s no word on the baby’s condition.
Spartanburg Police say there are no charges at this time. South Carolina law says bystanders could avoid punishment for breaking a car window to rescue an endangered child. Officials advise the first move should be calling 9-1-1.