With all the tragic cases we see of children being left in hot cars, it’s hard to imagine anyone doing it once, yet alone twice. However, that’s just what it appears 46-year-old Hiroko Kurihara did when she left her 4-month-old locked inside her SUV twice in one day.
Police arrested the mother after a woman at a nearby day care heard the infant’s screams and called 911. “Firefighters tried to unlock the car, and officers tried to break the windows open,” Jen Pennucci tells WTNH 8 News. “They tried that for about 10 or 15 minutes, at which time the mom eventually came down from upstairs.”
Officers found the baby locked inside the vehicle with the windows rolled up. They believe the child was in the car unattended for at least 30 minutes prior to rescue. Upon further investigation, authorities revealed Kurihara said she also left her baby for an hour in the morning to work out.
The mother has been charged with leaving a child unattended in a car and risk of injury to a minor. Her bail was set at $10,000, but she has since been released. Kurihara’s baby was taken to a local hospital and later released into the father’s custody.
This mother was extremely lucky nothing happened to her baby. While we have yet to learn the reason she left her 4-month-old inside the car twice, experts warn that a child’s body temperature can raise three to five times faster than adults. The organization Kids and Cars strongly urges parents and caregivers to not leave a child alone in a car — under any circumstances.
Sadly, in most cases, the unthinkable accident has a fatal consequence, but thankfully there are situations that have a happy outcome. Just a few days ago, singer Carrie Underwood broke her car window to rescue her 4-month-old son and pet locked inside. Laws are also making it easier for bystanders to intervene without fear of arrest.
Honest mistakes can happen, but it’s our job as a parent to learn from them so they don’t occur a second time. A simple reminder, like leaving an object in your back seat or putting a sticky note on your windshield, can help you remember your child in the car — and hopefully prevent a deadly accident.