Pinellas Park -- A firefighter and his wife helped rescue a 19-month-old girl who was left in a hot car for 40 minutes Tuesday, while the child's mother was shopping at a Target.
Vita Abramenkova, 35, of Clearwater, said the child was all right because the air conditioning was running. Now she faces a charge of child neglect.
Wrong. Police said it is the same charge -- child neglect -- whether or not the air conditioning is on.
It's a problem across the nation. In this video, three men in Houston saw children alone in a hot car and smashed a window to get the child out.
"Kids were in there crying," a witness said.
Witnesses were in shock not by the unsung heroes but that the mother was inside a store getting her hair done.
"A crazy situation," another witness said.
But here in the Bay area, the same thing is happening.
Luckily, a firefighter and his wife saw the child in the car in the Target parking lot.
"I noticed a car parked down where we were," said the firefighter, who didn't want to be identified. "My wife noticed it running and she looked closer and saw some feet kicking and then heard crying."
"I got on the phone with 911."
Minutes later, Abramenkova returned to the car.
"She said, look baby's fine. I told her that's unacceptable. It doesn't matter if cars are on or not," the firefighter said.
The child was released to her father. Abramenkova is out on bond.
Pediatrician Cynthia Wood White says many adults don't realize that children's bodies don't handle the heat the same way adults do.
"You start sweating and the child starts sweating, they'll get dehydrated before you do," White said.
And although it's hot outside now, even when it's in the 60s, the inside of a car can still surpass 100 degrees.
A group has started a petition for the Obama administration to push the Department of Transportation to make it harder for parents to leave children in hot cars. Go to this link to sign the petition to help prevent children being left in hot cars.
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