Howell, NJ - Good Samaritans Rescue Lakewood Baby Left In Parked Car While Orthodox Jewish Mom Shopped
Howell, NJ - A Orthodox Jewish woman was arrested Tuesday after allegedly leaving her infant in the car for more than half an hour while she went shopping.
The Asbury Park Press reported that the four month old little girl had been in the car for approximately 20 minutes when a pair of passers-by noticed her screaming and crying in the back seat of a Nissan Sentra in the parking lot of the Howell Commons shopping center, just north of Lakewood.
Steve Eckel, a retired officer from the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, and Sarah Mazzone were both walking in the parking lot on Route 9 when they noticed the infant.
“It was a little baby wrapped up in a woolen blanket, crying, sweating, eyes rolling in back of her head,” said Eckel.
The doors of the Sentra were locked and its windows were closed, with temperatures hovering in the upper 80s. Looking for something he could use to break the car’s windows in order to rescue the baby, Eckel realized that he had left a sledge hammer in his own car a few days ago.
After smashing one of the Sentra’s windows, Eckel removed the girl from the car, undressed her and took her into an air conditioned Kohl’s department store where he patted her off with a dampened t-shirt in order to bring her body temperature down.
Police were called to the scene and the baby was treated by Howell First Aid.
When the child’s mother got back to her car at 1:20 PM with two other children, she began asking where her baby was.
“She knew she left the baby in the car,” said Eckel. “I felt like crying.”
Police arrested the 33 year old mother from Lakewood, NJ and charged her with endangering the welfare of a child. The baby was turned over to her father who declined further medical attention.
“I know people are bashing her for her religion,” Eckel told the Howell Patch, “but this has nothing to do with religion. Idiots are in all walks of life.” He said.
38 babies die every year after being left in cars, as previously reported on VIN News (http://goo.gl/ohdc46 .) Waze, the popular navigation app, rolled out a new feature several weeks ago allowing parents to set a reminder alerting them to the presence of a loved one in their backseat when they arrive at their destination.
Eckel noted that the temperature inside a closed vehicle rises approximately 20 degrees every 10 minutes.
“That baby would have been dead,” said Eckel. “If we didn’t do what we did, that mom would have driven home not knowing if the baby was sleeping or dead.”
Chief Andrew Kudrick of the Howell Police Department praised Eckel and Mazzone for rescuing the baby.
“They truly saved a life,” said Chief Kudrick.
The lakewood Mom released pending a future court date.
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