Authorities in New York arrested and charged a registered nurse after she allegedly left her two children alone in a car for more than 40 minutes during soaring temperatures. According to WABC, the Tuesday incident occurred at the Green Acres Mall parking lot.
Authorities said they received a report about the children being left alone in the car around 4:20 p.m. Police also said witnesses who saw the minors in the vehicle asked for help. Officers who responded to the scene found the engine of the car running with a 1-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl inside. The car was also not locked.
Officers gained access to the car by opening the unlocked door. The minors were also taken to a hospital where they were evaluated. The mother of the children, Lotanna Adjaero, was ultimately arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
Prosecutors said Adjaero’s children were dehydrated and disoriented after she left them in the car for about 45 minutes, WABC reported. “All the windows were rolled up. Somehow, in the process the children turned on the heat in the car, so the heat was actually going in the vehicle when the police officers got there, not the air conditioning,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.
A family member currently has custody of the children. Though Adjaero, 25, has no previous criminal record, police said her actions were inexcusable because of the soaring temperatures.
“You’re not distracted leaving a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old in a car,” Ryder said. “She just abandoned them for whatever reason to go shopping in that mall.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also states that the temperature inside a car can rise up to 105 degrees even when it’s 75 degrees outside, per the New York Post. Unlike adults, children reach high body temperatures at a faster level, and heatstroke occurs when the body’s core temperature jumps up to 104 degrees.