CHARLES COUNTY, Md. (NBC News) – A Maryland mother’s shopping trip ended in her being hauled off to jail after a young child called 911 to say that he and six other kids had been left in a hot car by themselves, authorities said.
Charles County deputies received the call just after 1 p.m. on Friday. The child told a 911 dispatcher he did not know where they were, but authorities were able to trace the call to a mall parking lot in St. Charles, Maryland, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
The seven children, ages 2 to 4, were found in the vehicle, which had its windows rolled up. Authorities said the kids had been left unattended for at least 20 minutes.
“Officers helped the children out of the vehicle and Charles County Fire/EMS provided treatment on the scene,” the sheriff’s office said.
According to WJLA, the kids were “scared” and “sweaty.” Temperatures in the area climbed up to around 80 degrees on Friday. Authorities believe the 4-year-old used a phone left in the car to call for help, according to the outlet.
“It is against the law to leave a child under the age of 8 unattended inside a motor vehicle if the caregiver is out of sight of the child unless a reliable person at least 13-years-old remains with the child,” the sheriff’s office said.
“It is also dangerous to leave anyone, including pets, inside a motor vehicle especially as outside temperatures become warmer. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly rise to extremely high and even fatal levels in a short period of time.”
A 37-year-old woman arrived back at the car about 10 minutes after police. The woman, who is the mother of two of the children and was babysitting the others, was arrested and charged with confinement of children inside a motor vehicle. Authorities said they were not releasing the woman’s name to protect the children’s identities.
Additional charges are pending against the woman, the sheriff’s office said.