SAN LEANDRO -- An Oakland woman was arrested Wednesday at the Marina Square Shopping Center after police found her shopping while her 4-month-old baby sat alone in a hot car, authorities said.
Robin Chan was taken to jail on suspicion of child neglect after police found the unattended infant strapped in her car seat while the temperature outside was approaching 80 degrees, Lt. Randy Brandt said.
Officers responded to 1259 Marina Blvd. about 12:25 p.m. after witnesses reported seeing the baby alone inside a car in the mall parking lot, Brandt said. Authorities called for medical crews as a precaution, and the baby was pulled out of the car and determined to be in good health.
Officers began scanning the mall for the baby's guardian, then found the woman shopping after checking several stores, Brandt said. When police asked the woman why she left her child alone in the car, she could provide no logical explanation.
The father of the baby arrived at the mall to take custody of his child as Chan was taken to jail, Brandt said.
"This particular case really impacted our staff," Brandt said. "We all have or know children of this age, and we were all grateful that a citizen reported this incident to us. Fortunately, we were able to intervene and potentially save this child's life."
According to statistics from the Kidsandcars.org database, an average of 38 children die every year in the U.S. after being left alone in a hot car. In California, a reported 51 vehicular heat stroke deaths occurred between 1990 and 2010 in children younger than 16.
"Parents need to understand that leaving a child unattended in a vehicle under the age of 7 is illegal," Brandt said. "They need to be with an adult or a child that is 12 years of age or older. Leaving anyone in a vehicle on a warm day without air conditioning is never a good idea."
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