Infant rescued from hot car, mom faces neglect charges

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SOUTH BEND – Tragedy was avoided thanks to a Good Samaritan. On Sunday, police were able to successfully rescue an infant from a hot car after receiving a 911 call from a concerned shopper.

Heather Hudson, 34, was booked into the St. Joseph County Jail Sunday afternoon on a preliminary arrest for child abuse/child neglect. A representative from the prosecutor’s office says formal charges are pending review.

A woman parked her car in the parking lot outside Ross Dress for Less on Ireland Rd. at around 2:00 p.m. Sunday. She heard a baby crying and noticed an infant, locked inside a hot car, in the adjacent spot. The quick thinking nurse called 9-1-1 and waited until a nearby officer responded and rescued the child from the heat.

The child was treated and released to its father.

Hudson is believed to have been shopping inside Ross with her older child at the time.

“Anytime you see them and there’s no one else there, it’s been too long,” Clay Fire Territory Fire Marshal Dave Cherrone explains. He says Sunday is a prime example of what to avoid if you’re a parent. A cracked window and even a shaded parking spot could still lead to dangerously high temperatures inside a parked car.

Temperatures rise quickest in the first ten minutes after a car is turned off, says Cherrone, “When you have folks like yesterday who spotted something was wrong, we always tell people if you see something, say something. Somebody’s got to react, they don’t know whether a person just walked away or walked about a half hour ago.”

Between 2008 and 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports more than 600 children died from heat stroke after they were left inside cars. In 53-percent of those cases, the child was “forgotten” by a caregiver.

When a child’s temperature reaches 107, it can be fatal, and with temperatures climbing over 100 degrees inside a car on even a mild spring or summer day, minutes can mean the difference between life or death.

If a child is unresponsive or lethargic, experts say to get the child out of the car as quickly as possible and spray them with cool water. If a child is alert and responsive, call 9-1-1 and monitor the child until emergency responders arrive and safely retrieve him or her.

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