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09 December 2011

Babies left in boiling car, mom arrested

Riata Nel, Beeld

Vereeniging - A woman was arrested at a shopping centre in Vereeniging on Thursday after paramedics had to break the window of her black BMW to rescue two severely dehydrated children.

The incident happened in the parking area of the River Square shopping centre.

According to reports she hit a policeman with her fist when she saw that the window had been broken.

She'd been away from the car for more than half-an-hour, a witness said.

The BMW was parked in the sun at about 14:00, said the witness, who added that there had been four children in the car.

The 34-year-old apparently opened the one window slightly before going shopping with the two older children.

"She left the little ones in the car," the witness said.

The youngest of the two is a 6-month-old baby, while the other one is younger that two.

"It was very hot," said the witness.

No response

The temperature was said to have been close to 35°C.

A car guard called police and Netcare 911.

"The children were exhausted from crying. They were soaking wet. Everything in the car was wet.

"So I broke the window and took them out of the car. They had to have oxygen at the hospital," said Netcare paramedic Mary-Ann Rautenbach.

She says especially a baby can dehydrate very quickly.

"That's why I broke the window."

The one child didn't even open her eyes, said Rautenbach.

The Vereeniging police's Captain Shadow Mashobane said the woman would be charged with neglect, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

According to research it takes only 15 minutes for a black car to heat up from 37 °C to 64 °C, and can reach up to 88 °C.

The California air resources board has done research into black cars standing in the sun. They found that on average a white car is 4.6 °C cooler than a black car.

In addition they found that a black car reflects 5% of the sun’s rays, compared to a white car which reflects 50%.

- Beeld