SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Police are investigating after a baby was left inside a car outside a Walmart in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
“I have four children,” William McLean said. “I would never leave… I’ve never left my child alone in a car.”
Yet that’s the scene he says he happened upon at the Dorman Centre Walmart around 4 p.m. Wednesday.
A six-month-old girl was left inside a car with the windows rolled up and the car shut off, according to a police report. Witnesses heard the baby crying and saw her covered in sweat and shaking.
Employees broke out the windows and took the baby out before calling first responders who took the baby to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
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.
“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 with 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,” Shaw said.
She said there are ways to help parents remember their little ones, like putting “things in the back of your car to remind yourself like your cell phone.” Many Walmart locations even have signs on the front door reminding parents to check their car for kids before going inside to shop.
Police say there are no charges as of Wednesday. The baby’s parents told police they forgot the baby was in the car. There’s no word on the baby’s condition.
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.b