HACKENSACK, N.J. — Two Bergen County Sheriff’s officers acted quickly to pull a 2-year-old boy out of a sweltering minivan in a Costco parking lot on River Road in Hackensack on Thursday.
The boy’s mother, 42-year-old Chaeyoung Lim-Kim of West New York, returned to the vehicle with a cart full of groceries and a second child shortly after her son was rescued. The officers estimated he was locked inside the stifling van for at least 10 minutes, which is long enough for temperatures inside to reach over 100 degrees.
“Knowing the severity of the temperature outside the vehicle, I can only imagine what it was like inside the vehicle,” Sheriff’s Officer Richard Carrion told PIX11.
Carrion used the metal tip at the end of his baton to shatter a window on the passenger side. Officer Sonya Bekier, who has a child of the same age, pulled the crying toddler out. She gave him water and consoled him.
“I obviously was upset being a mother myself,” said Bekier.
Soaked in sweat, the boy was rushed to a hospital. Police say once checked out, he was deemed to be okay.
“I can’t even guess what she was thinking with this kind of weather,” commented Wendy Lees, a mother of two.
The mother of that little boy has been charged with endangering a child. Officials say she could face 3 years prison time if convicted.
Coincidentally, Friday happens to be National Heatstroke Prevention Day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that 30 children died last year, after being left alone in hot cars.
“If you see something odd, a child left in a car, a suspicious person, a package, you need to let us know,” warned Carrion, “We need to work together.”