After a 1-year-old Nebraska girl spent time at a pool with her aunt last Tuesday, the aunt put her niece in a car seat in the back of an SUV, drove home, turned off the vehicle and left her keys inside it, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
And that's when the trouble started.
"When she exited from the car and opened the rear door, the wind pushed the doors closed and locked them," an Omaha police officer wrote in a report, citing the account of the 1-year-old's mother, the paper said.
The National Weather Service reported winds that afternoon gusting to 40 mph in Omaha, the World-Herald reported.
Before calling 911, the 1-year-old's mother, the aunt and two other relatives tried opening the doors with a screwdriver and coat hanger, the paper said. One adult also called a roadside service, but a representative said help would get there in 30 minutes, the World-Herald reported.
When police arrived, the 1-year-old’s mother told them that her daughter was trapped for about 15 minutes, the paper said, adding that an officer used a hammer to break the SUV’s front passenger side window.
The toddler's heart rate was 100 beats per minute and appeared warm to the paramedic who evaluated her, the World-Herald said, citing the report. The 1-year-old was treated at a hospital and released, the paper said.
Firefighters measured the temperature inside the vehicle at 97 degrees a few minutes after the rescue, the World-Herald reported, and a police cruiser measured the outside temperature at 93 degrees.
While her child might be fine, it appears Mom is anything but. She was ticketed on suspicion of child abuse by neglect, a misdemeanor, the paper said.
"We make decisions in the moment with all the information we have available. This can be a super dangerous situation. People die in these circumstances," police spokeswoman Lt. Darci Tierney told the World-Herald, adding that the officer who responded to the 911 call didn't overreact in issuing the ticket.
Tierney told the paper that the police believe the 1-year-old actually was in the vehicle longer than 15 minutes, partly based on the temperature inside the SUV.
The Omaha City Prosecutor's Office will decide whether or not to file charges, the World-Herald reported.