A mother scolded by a police sergeant for leaving her two young children in a sweltering SUV while she shopped for groceries in Vancouver won’t face charges, but the case has been turned over to children’s services.
A video of the visibly upset officer yelling at the woman as she stood beside her Lexus in a parking lot surfaced online Thursday.
“You don't seem to understand the danger you put your children in," he said to the woman as she stood with her arms crossed. "The windows were up – it's hot out. Your children could have died."
The cop can be heard telling the woman that a fire truck, an ambulance and two police cars were called to the scene as a result of her actions. The officer also threatened to have the woman’s kids taken into protective custody after she appeared to argue with him.
“You don’t seem to understand what you’ve done,” he said before adding later, “What kind of parent are you?”
Vancouver police chief Adam Palmer told reporters Friday that the woman will not face charges but that the children’s ministry has been contacted. The children, a girl, 6, and a three-and-a-half-year-old boy, were left unattended for about 20 minutes while the mother shopped for groceries Monday afternoon, Palmer said.
Palmer said police received multiple 911 calls from citizens concerned about two children in distress left in a hot car. They arrived to find the car alarm going off.
The chief said the sergeant in the video is highly respected and has children of his own.
“He was trying to convey to that woman the seriousness of what she’d done with her children.”
In Edmonton, police announced a mother was charged after her baby had to be rescued from a hot car.
Police managed to get the eight-month-old girl out of the vehicle and she was sent to hospital for treatment.
It was believed the infant was in the car for about 45 minutes on Thursday night. Her mother, 22, who told police she forgot the baby in the vehicle while meeting a friend for coffee, is charged with causing a child to be in need of intervention.
The inside of a previously air conditioned vehicle can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius in as little as 20 minutes of sitting in the summer sun, according to the Canada Safety Council. That’s well above the temperature for heat stroke.
Although there are no national statistics available in Canada, the U.S. reports that an average of 37 children die every year in hot cars, with the majority of them being under the age of three.
Vancouver police also cautioned pet owners against leaving their furry friends unattended inside parked vehicles after they were forced to break into a car to rescue a dog at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park earlier this week.
“Our message is don't leave your pets or your kids in your vehicle when the weather is so hot," Const. Anne-Marie Clark told CTV Vancouver. “Children should go without saying. Please take your children with you. Don't leave them in the car. It's too hot for everyone, pets or people."
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Ben Miljure