Toddler left in car for nine hours - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Toddler left in car for nine hours

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A toddler spent nine hours alone in a vehicle Tuesday. 

Law enforcement is working to determine whether it was child abuse. 

According to Union County Sheriff Dan Limoges, Anna Salas of south Sioux City went to work in Dakota Dunes and left her two-year-old in the car.

That was around 8 in the morning. When the father went to pick the child up from daycare at 5, he learned the child hadn't been dropped off.

When Limoges spoke with Salas, he said she was distraught, which lead him to believe the move to be unintentional. 

"In this day and age it seems that everyone is burning the candle at both ends it seems like. There must be a lot of things going on in her life I think and she's just busy," said Sheriff Limoges.

Unfortunately, incidents like this are all too common. A two-year-old child is helpless in this situation. 

Sanford E. R. Dr. Robert Harms said a child in this situation would probably be fussy and crying at first.

Hypothermia would be next as they got cold and they experience shivering. Past that point is when Dr. Harms said a child would probably become lethargic and appear to be sleeping.

"As a general rule for a child, you should take as much clothing as you need to stay warm and comfortable. If you need two or three layers, the child needs two or three layers and especially scalp and exposed areas of hands and feel need to be covered," said Dr. Harms.

And as you can imagine, a child's body temperature can drop very quickly.

"Their skin and body surface area is greater in proportion to their body weight so they do tend to cool and lose heat faster when you're a small child -- whereas an adult has more body weight and more core weight to help protect or sustain temperature for a period of time," said Dr. Harms.

A simple tip by Sanford Children's Family Life Educator Amy Heisinger for new parents might just help save a child's life.

"When your car seat is not occupied, leaving a large stuffed animal in the car seat and when your child gets in the seat then that stuffed animal goes up front with you. So then it's a visual reminder to you of when you're getting out of the car, I need to put the stuffed animal back in the car seat which then reminds you that your child is in the car," said Heisinger.

"Again, it's just a good reminder. Don't take risks when it's this cold and leaving somebody in a car either hot weather or cold weather is never a good idea," said Dr. Harms.

And for the Dakota Dunes incident, the case has been sent to the South Dakota State's Attorney for review. Possible charges again Anna Salas could be child abuse or neglect.

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