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Woman recounts harrowing moment she saved baby from stifling hot car

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A baby left in a locked, hot car in an Arkansas parking lot is recovering and in stable condition, police say, after a concerned citizen came to his rescue.

Michelle Holt and her family were leaving a shopping center in Pea Ridge on Sunday when she noticed Walmart associates standing around one car in the parking lot. Holt walked over and was shocked to find a baby inside, she told ABC News on Tuesday.

The temperature climbed to 92 degrees in Pea Ridge that day.

Holt's husband threw a brick through a car window as she went to grab the baby boy whose "little arms" were "flailing back and forth," she said.

The infant was red and soaking wet, she said, and appeared to be spitting or foaming from the mouth.

"He wasn't acting like a baby -- he wasn't crying, he wasn't moving," Holt said.

"He just kept looking like he wanted to go to sleep," she added, choking up.

Holt said she gave the baby words of encouragement, telling him, "please stay awake, you're so strong."

(MORE: Hot car safety tips to remember on National Heatstroke Prevention Day)


It took the ambulance about 30 minutes to reach the rural area, Holt said.

The baby, who is under 1 year old, was taken to a children's hospital in stable condition, Pea Ridge Police Lt. Michael Lisenbee told ABC News on Tuesday.

"The whole time I was thinking a woman is gonna run up to me and it's gonna be the mom, and how am I gonna handle this?" she said. "But she never did."

a car parked on the side of a vehicle: Concerned citizens broke the window of a hot car to rescue a baby in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, Aug. 11, 2019. © KHBS/KHOG Concerned citizens broke the window of a hot car to rescue a baby in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, Aug. 11, 2019. The baby's mother and another woman were charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, Lisenbee said. The women told authorities they went to grocery shop and forgot the baby was in the backseat, Lisenbee said. They had been shopping for about 45 minutes, according to police.

Holt, relieved the baby is OK, said she hopes her experience will teach others to be observant and more motivated to help.

"A lot of people just think, 'Oh, I need to mind my own business and I don't want to be liable for anything,'" Holt said.

"Don't hesitate to help," she urged. "Get the baby out, don't worry about what might come after. The most important thing is that baby's life."

"If we would've waited any longer for the police to get there, who knows what would've happened," she said.

(MORE: 2-year-old boy rescued from hot car in dramatic moment caught on video)


Not all children are as lucky as the infant in Pea Ridge.

That same day, 2-year-old DeVonte Lashawn Turner died in an apparent hot car incident in Lawrence, Kansas, authorities said.

The temperature reached 89 degrees there on Sunday.

The circumstances "are still under investigation, however it does appear that heat played [a] role," the Lawrence Police Department said in a statement.

No arrests have been made.

(MORE: I'm a cautious mom who had a hot car scare. Here's my plea to parents and lawmakers.)


"Anytime we lose a citizen of our city it's tragic, but that tragedy is always compounded when it involves a child," said Lawrence Police Chief Gregory Burns Jr.

Thirty-two children have died in hot cars so far this year, and eight have died in August alone, according to national nonprofit KidsAndCars.org.

The group is advocating for Congress to require rear occupant alarm technology in cars.

"The only thing more tragic than a child or animal dying in a hot car is knowing that there are solutions that exist that could prevent this," Janette Fennell, president of KidsAndCars.org, said in a statement in July. "By not utilizing available technology to sense a child or pet alone inside a vehicle, we are shamefully allowing this to happen over and over again."

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