Mom cited for child abuse after wind blows door shut, trapping toddler in hot car

A mother who called 911 to help rescue her toddler daughter from a hot car was given a ticket for child abuse although she did not intentionally lock her two-year-old in the car.

According to the Omaha World Herald, the little girl had been swimming at a pool with her aunt before they returned home in an SUV. The aunt left her keys in the car the driveway and opened the rear door to remove the toddler from the car seat, when the wind blew the door shut, locking them.

The girl’s mother told police that family members tried desperately to open the doors or windows using tools like a coat hanger and screwdriver. When those attempts failed, they called 911.

A responding officer reportedly broke a window of the SUV and pulled the toddler to safety. She had a heart rate of 100 beats per minute and felt hot, and the temperature in the car was 97 degrees. The baby was taken to a hospital where she was treated and released.

But police ticketed the toddler’s mother on suspicion of abuse and neglect.

“We make decisions in the moment with all the information we have available,’’ Omaha police spokesperson Lt. Darci Tierney told the Omaha World Herald. “This can be a super dangerous situation. People die in these circumstances.”

The Omaha City Prosecutor’s Office will review the case and determine whether or not to press charges against the girl’s mother.

Lt. Tierney used the incident to illustrate the importance of contacting authorities if a child does become trapped in a car.
“Don’t be afraid to call 911 for help,” she said. “This could be a life or death situation.”