US

Mother of Four Arrested After Leaving Baby Inside Hot Car at Target Parking Lot

By GQ Pan

An Arizona woman was arrested on Aug. 13 after she admitted to leaving her baby in a hot car while she shopped at Target with her three other children, said local police.

The Chandler Police Department said officers responded to reports around 4:22 p.m. of a baby crying and sweating inside a locked car at a Target parking lot. The vehicle was not running, according to court paperwork obtained by AZ Central.

A 911 dispatcher instructed one of the callers to break the car window and remove the baby. The caller then held the infant until Chandler firefighters arrived and examined the baby. Firefighters determined the child had high blood pressure, but was otherwise fine, according to documents, reported AZ Central.

Officers then had a Target manager announce the mother’s name over the intercom. Holli Platt, 39, left her three children in the store as she rushed outside to meet officers.

Target’s surveillance footage shows Platt arriving at the Target parking lot, located at 3777 S. Arizona Ave., at 4:07 p.m. and entering the store with three of her children a minute later, leaving the infant alone inside the car.

Police determined that the baby was in the car for about 18 minutes while temperatures outside were at 112 degrees. They estimated the temperature inside the vehicle rose by about 25 degrees during the time span, the news outlet reported.

Platt told police she had accidentally left her baby inside the car because she was busy with her three other children. She was arrested and charged with child abuse.

In her court appearance on Aug. 14, Platt’s attorney argued that his client has been a dedicated stay-at-home mother with a clean criminal record, reported AZ Family.

“She obsesses over their safety, their cleanliness, they’re well-maintained,” Attorney Theron Hall told the judge. “She is a wonderful, loving mother to all her children. She doesn’t let her kids eat junk food. She makes all their lunches to take to school. She has dedicated her life to all her children.”

“This is the first time ever she’s been arrested, no prior misdemeanor, felony, arrest or conviction. She does not use drugs or drink.”

The man who broke the car window to rescue the baby from the hot car told the local news outlet that he “had a bunch of mixed emotions” about the incident.

“[I am] happy for the baby, very grateful for the woman,” the man said. “It’s just tough to see anything like that when there’s a helpless infant in the backseat of a hot car.”

“[I’m] begging parents to take care of their kids, hug your kid tonight, and just always be aware when you have your kid with you.”

NoHeatStroke.org, a website that monitors hot car deaths across the United States, suggests more than 20 children died of heat exhaustion in closed vehicles in the first 7 months of 2019. It says it’s common for the temperature inside a vehicle to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit when the temperature outside is in the 70s.

There have been three cases of heatstroke deaths of children left in hot cars in Arizona this year, according to NoHeatStroke.org.