A Nebraska mother is facing potential charges for child neglect after calling the police to help free her daughter who was accidentally locked inside a car.
In a column for The Federalist, Mary Katharine Ham writes that the toddler in question had been visiting the pool with her aunt. When the woman exited the vehicle at the child’s home and opened the rear door to retrieve her niece, a gust of wind blew the door shut, trapping a toddler and the car keys inside. The child’s mother and aunt first used tools on hand to try to unlock the door, then called a roadside assistance service, who said that it would take 30 minutes for the company to arrive. Out of options, the mother called the police.
Police broke the window to free the toddler, and ticketed the mother on suspicion of child neglect.
Ham writes, “... this child was not forgotten. Her relatives were trying to free her from the car and called the police for help doing that. They were in the very act of not neglecting her. The mother had a perfectly reasonable explanation for how it happened, corroborated by weather reports from the day showing wind gusts of 40 mph, and the child was unhurt.
“Can’t we just leave it at that? Can’t we give parents in a scary moment even 20 minutes of grace?”
Unfortunately, police did not grant the mother grace, as she now awaits a case with local prosecutors.
A spokesperson for the police department said, “We make decisions in the moment with all the information we have available. This can be a super dangerous situation. People die in these circumstances.”
The spokesperson continued, “Don’t be afraid to call 911 for help.”
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