Police body-camera footage showed a distraught mother in Arizona saying she accidentally left her 5-month-old daughter in a hot car.
The girl was rescued and was fine after the incident, captured in June, ABC News reported on Aug. 21.
“I don’t know how we forgot her, but we just forgot her,” mother Stacey Holly told a police officer, according to the footage. “I’m freaking out, I’m sorry, I just, I don’t know how it happened. How do you forget your baby?!”
The woman said she got distracted and forgot the child in the car in a parking area in Goodyear, Maricopa County. Temperatures reached 99 degrees.
“There was no reason for this to happen, it just happened,” Holly said.
Holly and her sister returned to the vehicle and retrieved the baby. Detectives said that the child was left in the hot vehicle for about an hour. The baby was found cold after sweating so much.
“These people who do it, who you see on TV, [I’d think,] oh my God, how stupid are they to leave their kids in their car?’ And then it happened,” Holly later told a detective, ABC reported. “I cannot give you an answer … I don’t know how I forgot her.”
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“I’m glad I got arrested,” she told the detective. “This is a very eye-opening experience for me.”
She was arrested and was charged with child abuse and endangerment.
An officer told her that the child is lucky to be alive.
“I’m not a weather expert but her body, she said she was cold, so if she’s going through that transition – she got, lucky, very lucky,” an officer is heard saying, AZFamily reported.
One officer is heard talking in the video, “I hate to be the [expletive] but I’m charging her. There’s no excuse for that, man,” KPNX reported.
Other details about the incident are not clear.
Children Heatstroke Deaths
According to Kids and Cars, 132 children died from non-traffic fatalities in 2018. Of those, 52 died from heatstroke. The data was for children 14 years old or younger.
“These data vastly underestimate the true magnitude of non-traffic fatal incidents involving children,” the group stated.
According to the No Heat Stroke organization, 32 child vehicular heatstroke deaths have taken place so far this year and 829 have taken place since 1998.
The U.S. National Safety Council said that caregivers can be aware of the deaths and take action. “Parents and caregivers can act immediately to end these deaths. Even on relatively mild days, temperatures inside vehicles still can reach life-threatening levels in minutes, and cracking the window doesn’t help,” the council stated on its website.
“The National Safety Council advises parents and caregivers to stick to a routine and avoid distractions to reduce the risk of forgetting a child. Keep car doors locked so children cannot gain access, and teach them that cars are not play areas. Place a purse, briefcase or even a left shoe in the back seat to force you to take one last glance.”