MT. VERNON, OH (WCMH) – A 9-month-old baby is safe after he was found unattended in a hot car Thursday afternoon, according to Mount Vernon Police.
A witness called police, who saw the child sweating heavily. It happened in a parking lot on Coshocton Avenue.
Police said it’s unknown how long the baby was left alone inside the car, before Officer Nick Holdren came to rescue the child. The temperature inside of it was later measured to be 111 degrees.
“Heartbreaking, as a father you take anything with kids to heart,” said Ofc. Holdren. “The vehicle was off, the windows were up. The only thing was the back passenger window was down a couple inches. As soon as I saw the child, I saw his cheeks were rosy. He was sweating. It was hot in the car, so I got him out of it.”
He said the vehicle appeared to be lived out of with bottles of Round-Up and an empty pizza box inside. Ofc. Holdren said he then brought the child to his police cruiser to help cool the baby down in the air conditioning.
He noticed the child was wearing fleece or flannel pants, so he took them off and also changed his diaper.
“A lady had a diaper and offered it to us and we went ahead and changed it for him,” said Ofc. Holdren.
He said about an hour after he arrived, Donald Ireland came back to the car and identified himself as the father of the baby. Ireland was arrested and charged with child endangering. He also had several active warrants out of the Heath Police Department. Child Services took the baby into custody.
“He was extremely distraught. Can’t believe that he forgot, were his words,” said Ofc. Holdren.
Ofc. Holdren said if you ever see a child unattended inside of a hot car, the best thing you can do is first call 911 and ask if you can try to get the child out of the vehicle.
“The best thing you can do is call us, as in law enforcement, and get permission to do it,” he said. “That way if anything happens or if there’s repercussions, you have the police department to stand back on to saying that you had permission to do that.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/children.html), temperatures inside of a car can rise about 20 degrees within 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open. Children left inside a hot car have a higher risk of heat stroke and possibly death.
“I don’t feel I did anything spectacular. I did anything else I would expect any other officer to do, given them same circumstances,” said Ofc. Holdren.