For residents in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Wednesday, June 7 was a hot day. By 5 p.m., the temperature had already reached 75 degrees.
It was definitely too hot to drive a vehicle without the AC on or the windows rolled down for ventilation.Yet, a mom and dad did the unthinkable and left their child in the backseat of a steaming hot car, and thankfully, there were a few good Samaritans there to save the day.
It all started when a Walmart shopper was outside placing her three children in a cart. As Halley Lambert looked over to the Dodge van parked near her vehicle, she realized there a tearful baby girl was left inside, with the windows rolled up.
“I knew it wasn’t our child. It sounded different,” the mother told local news station, WHNS-TV. “A mom hears a baby crying, whether its theirs or not.”
Lambert first tried to open the car doors, but they were all locked. She made a quick decision to run inside the store and seek help while her husband stayed outside to monitor the 6-month-old child.
Store manager, Matthew Stevens, and his co-manager, Bryan Hayes, followed the woman back to the vehicle. Hayes smashed in both of the driver’s side backseat windows while Stevens unbuckled the baby’s seat belt and pulled her out of the van.
Paramedics and police officers were immediately called to the scene. The little girl was then rushed to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, and fortunately, did not sustain any injuries during the break-in.
As for the child’s father, Cordarius Gray, he blamed the incident on a lack of sleep. He explained to police officers that he had been awake “since 1 a.m. caring for the child, been to an appointment and hadn’t had any sleep since then.”
The man and the child’s mother, Laquetta Mallory, were supposed to drop the child off at her grandmother’s home, but became distracted after stopping by the house. They proceeded to commute to the store, forgetting the baby was in the backseat.
They left her while they and two of their other kids shopped at Walmart. Mallory said she too forgot her daughter was still in the vehicle.
Stevens recalled how badly the tiny baby was shaking and sweating prior to rescuing her from the car. He told Spartanburg police that the child’s seat was “soaked in sweat.”
Penny Shaw, a coordinator with Safe Kids Spartanburg, told WSPA-TV that the temperature inside of a car can increase within minutes. She said: “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.”
In a statement, Walmart also had this to say regarding the incident: “We cannot stress enough the importance that parents always check their cars and have their children with them at all times while at our stores. We’re grateful this baby wasn’t hurt and that the quick-thinking of our associates and local emergency crews helped prevent the situation from taking a tragic turn.”
The baby girl and the couple’s three other children were temporarily handed over to their aunt. She is said to be doing okay, but her parents were charged with child neglect and will soon face a thorough investigation by the Department of Social Services.
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