1. ITV Report

Toddler left in locked parked car during hot weather

Fire crews helping the child from the car in Saffron Walden. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A toddler has been rescued from a car in Saffron Walden after being left alone inside from more than an hour in the hot weather.

Firefighters were called and needed to smash the car window to free the boy who is thought to be around eighteen months old.

The car was in a car park in the town on Saturday (22nd June) with temperatures on that day around 25 deg C.

A referral has now been made to social services.

The child had been left alone in the car during hot weather. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We could see the car park from where we were and everyone looked over to see paramedics outside the car, frantically trying to get in. Everyone was looking round for a parent rushing over but no-one came. We couldn't believe it when ten minutes later there was still no sign of anyone. It was such a hot day, we actually got sunburn while we were out there so that poor little boy must have been in such distress. It brings me to tears thinking about what he must have been going through."

– Cheryl Thomas, witness

"A first for us, we've been called to animals locked in cars, but never a child. We cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to leave any person, child or animal locked in a car in this heat. The child was rescued by our crew who smashed a window to gain entry. First aid was given by St John Ambulance.'

– Spokesperon, Saffron Walden Fire Station

Firefighters eventually freed the little boy shortly after 4.30pm after smashing the driver's window.

The boy was crying and was visibly distressed as he was pulled from the car, then a woman - believed to be his mother - returned.

The toddler was passed to her and they were ushered into the back of a waiting ambulance for the boy to be assessed by a St John's Ambulance crew.

Police officers later spent more than half an hour speaking to the woman in the back of the emergency vehicle.

The car's smashed window. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We were called by colleagues at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to reports of a toddler locked in a car in Common Hill, Saffron Walden, just after 4.20pm on Saturday, 22 June. Officers attended as firefighters broke into the car and were joined shortly after by the child's relatives."

– Essex police spokesperson
  • According to Child Safety Europe, car temperatures can rise 10 to 15 degrees celsius every 15 minutes and opening windows does not significantly slow down the rate.
  • At just 22'C outside, in a car it can reach a deadly 47'C within an hour.
  • When the human body reaches temperatures above 40'C, the organs are at risk, but children are more vulnerable because their bodies heat up three to five times faster.