Amanda Kay Landis, a 32-year-old working mom in Longview, Washington, was arrested on Tuesday for making a mistake that could have been tragic for her 1-year-old baby. Sadly, it was a mistake made all-too-frequently by parents, resulting in situations far worse than what happened with Landis’s baby.
As Landis shopped for groceries in a local Fred Meyer store, out in the parking lot, her 1-year-old was locked inside the car as the temperature rose to 103 degrees Fahrenheit inside the parked vehicle.
But a passerby fortunately saw the baby alone in the car, apparently in distress, and called police. Emergency responders arrived and desperately tried to smash their way into the car and rescue the helpless child — and then the mom finally showed up.
Landis appeared genuinely distraught when she saw what she had done. But other witnesses displayed little sympathy, many mocking her and calling for her arrest at the scene. The reactions were captured on video that quickly went viral on social media.
“I was panicked once I saw the baby in there. Then the cops showed up and I picked up my phone and started recording,” said one witness, Lindsey Aherens.
When Landis returned, she repeated, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” numerous times, according to Aherens.
The mom told police that she simply forgot that the baby was in the car, due to overwork and fatigue. Landis said she’d been in the grocery store for about 15 minutes, but security video showed that she left the baby in the car for closer to 45 minutes.
Fortunately, the baby was checked out by doctors and found to be fine, and despite the traumatic experience, appearing to have no residual effects physically or emotionally.
Landis works the night shift as a nurse at a local hospital, and according to her father-in-law, her nearly disastrous lapse in memory was the result of doing what too many moms are forced to do these days, taking on too many responsibilities and working through mental and physical exhaustion.
“They’ve been going like crazy, and she’s been working a lot of hours,” said Dan Foister. “And you know they had to move, so I know she is super busy and she works a lot of nights. And so I know she doesn’t get as much sleep as she should.”
Mistakenly leaving children in hot cars is an all-too-common error, often resulting in tragedy and devastation to families. An average of 38 children per year die as a result of being left in hot cars, according to data since 1998.
Amanda Landis, who had never been arrested or charged with a crime before, spent a night in jail and was charged with third-degree criminal mistreatment — a charge that means she is not suspected of mistreating the child deliberately — before she was released on bail. The baby was placed in the care of what police called a “competent” relative.
[Image: KPTV-TV Screen Grab]