SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A Springfield mother is charged with two counts of reckless endangerment of a child after police said they rescued two children from her hot car over the weekend.
Police told us the children, ages four and six, are safe, but the outcome, they said, could have been a whole lot worse it if weren't for the quick action of passersby.
Springfield Police say the incident happened in the Walmart parking lot on Boston Road.
“An officer was working detail in that parking lot that has Walmart and a few other stores and he was flagged down by a couple of people saying there was kids in a car,” said Springfield Police spokesperson Ryan Walsh.
Walsh told Western Mass News that was about 7:45 p.m. Sunday.
“It was around 89 degrees out, it was humid, the windows were just cracked, but the kids were upset. They were able to open the doors themselves and get out on their own,” Walsh noted.
Walsh said the two children were shaken and crying, but otherwise okay.
In the meantime, inside Walmart, police searched for their mother.
“About an hour later or so, they were able to locate the mother and placed her under arrest. She was shopping in Walmart and said that she thought she was just going to be in and out, but it was probably close to 45 minutes or so that she was out of the car,” Walsh explained.
Walsh said it could have turned out very differently.
“It's scary. Cars can heat up very quickly and if it’s 90 degrees outside, even if the windows are cracked, it can get up to 100, 120, 130 degrees in just a few minutes,” Walsh added.
According to the non-profit kidsandcars.org, it’s called the Greenhouse Effect.
The temperature inside a vehicle can reach 125 degrees or more in minutes, rising 80 percent within 10 minutes.
They said cracking the window doesn't help.
Tragedy isn't reserved not just for heat waves. Child deaths in cars have happened in 60-degree temperatures.
So far this year, eight children have died in hot cars nationwide, 53 last year, a record setting 54 in 2018 - an average of 39 per year.
“So, you know, you may have your best intentions. You may think, with COVID, you shouldn't bring your family members into any stores, but it’s never safe to leave any kids or pets in a car,” Walsh said.
Walsh said the passersby did the right thing by alerting police.
Again, the mother is now charged with two counts of reckless endangerment of a child.
We're told the kids have been released to a family member.
Police and the state’s Department of Children and Families are investigating.