An Arkansas woman is facing criminal charges after allegedly leaving her infant daughter in a hot car while she went inside a restaurant and ate pizza, KAIT (Jonesboro) is reporting. The woman told the cops she left her daughter in the hot car because the child was sleeping and the mom didn’t want to wake her up.
Even when the country isn’t broiling under a massive heat wave like it is now, Jonesboro is hot in the summer, and Wednesday was no exception. Temperatures in northeast Arkansas city of about 70,000 topped out at about 96, with a heat index of around 108 degrees. At about 3 p.m., when the afternoon heat was at its worst, Brittany N. Reeder, 25, decided to go to Larry’s Pizza with some family members for a mid-afternoon snack.
Jonesboro Police Officer Keith Baggett described what happened next. As he was responding to a call about an infant left in a hot car and “not acting right,” Baggett went to the location where he found paramedics giving aid to the 4-month-old girl, and he described her mother as “distraught.”
“Reeder went outside to check on the infant and called 911 when she realized the child was possibly in distress. [Reeder] could not give a logical reason why she would leave her child in the vehicle during these conditions.”
Baggett’s report said the vehicle was not running and the windows were rolled up.
— Betty C. Jung (@bettycjung) July 20, 2016
The infant, whose name has not been released, was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Hospital staff noted that her temperature, at the time she was admitted, was 99.9 degrees (normal human body temperature is 98.6 degrees).
Fortunately, the baby survived the ordeal, according to KTBS (Shreveport), and is expected to be okay.
She was lucky. On average, about 37 kids die each year from being left in hot cars, according to Kids and Cars, and under the right conditions, a baby or toddler can die in as little as 15 minutes. And in the video embedded below, you can see what happens to a small child in those 15 minutes.
Warning: the video below contains content that may be disturbing to some viewers.
Regardless, parents continue to leave their kids in hot cars despite repeated warnings not to do it. Some think their kid will be okay for “just a few minutes” while they do a chore or errand. Others get distracted and forget that their kids are even in the car, leaving their child in the hot vehicle for hours while they go to work or do other things.
Mary Parks of Blacksburg, Virginia, learned that lesson the hard way, according to Parenting. In September 2007, thanks to a stressful day and a break in her routine, Parks completely forgot that her 23-month-old son, Juan, was in her car. Instead of taking him to daycare like she was supposed to do, she went to work, leaving the sleeping toddler in the back seat. It was not even until later that night, when she and her husband were talking about their days, that she realized, to her horror, that Juan was in the back of their car — where he had been all day.
“A light in my head went on. I took off running toward the car. My heart was already in my feet because I knew how hot it had been that day. I got to the car, jerked open the door, and saw him. I reached over to him. I remember screaming at him, ‘Juan! Juan! You’ve got to wake up!’ I went in crying for help, but I knew he was dead.”
Back in Jonesboro, Brittany Reeder, the woman who left her baby in a hot car while she ate pizza, has been charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.
[Image via pratan ounpitipong/Shutterstock]