I love my car, but this lady\'s sick!
Mother arrested after leaving child in car
By Eve Sullivan
Published July 26 2005
STAMFORD -- A Stamford woman was arrested yesterday after she accidentally locked her 23-month-old son in her steaming hot Audi, then refused to let emergency workers break the window to free him.
Susan Guita Silverstein, 42, of 124 Fieldstone Road, was charged with reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor.
Her son, who police said was "nonresponsive" when he was removed, spent more than 20 minutes in the car before the window was smashed open.
"As soon as they told me the air conditioning was not on, that's when I told them to break the window," said Capt. Susan Bretthauer, who ordered the command over the radio.
The baby was taken to Stamford Hospital "for precautionary measures," Bretthauer said. He was treated and released, a nursing supervisor said last night.
A call to the family for comment was not returned last night.
Silverstein went to the HomeGoods store on High Ridge Road to shop and inadvertently locked her keys in the car with the child in the back seat, Sgt. Robert Shawinsky said.
Silverstein called 911 at 1:03 p.m. and the dispatcher advised her to break the window because it was so hot, Shawinsky said. Silverstein refused and requested assistance, he said.
Police and firefighters arrived to find the toddler locked in the back seat of her silver Audi A4, which was parked near the side of the building.
Silverstein asked firefighters not to break the window of the Audi, so they tried to use a lock kit, but it didn't work, Shawinsky said.
Silverstein continued telling firefighters she did not want them to break the window, according to police reports. She then told them to stop and that she would go home to get a spare set of keys, police said.
Silverstein flagged down a friend in the parking lot and left the child with the fire department to go home to get the keys, police said. It is unclear whether she called the friend to help her. The distance between HomeGoods at 29 High Ridge Road and Silverstein's home on Fieldstone Road is about 1.5 miles, a six-minute trip or 12 minutes round-trip. While Silverstein was gone, Bretthauer said she learned that the child had been in the car more than 15 minutes, so she ordered emergency workers to break the window. Firefighters broke open the front driver's-side window and removed the boy.
"The child was, at first, nonresponsive, then became responsive," said Bretthauer, who arrived as they were breaking the window.
Police said the boy was placed in the back of an air-conditioned police cruiser for a short time before an ambulance took him to the hospital.
When she returned to the parking lot with the keys, Silverstein was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser.
She was released on $2,500 bond last night for an Aug. 4 appearance in state Superior Court in Stamford.
According to the Western Connecticut State University Weather Center, the temperature reached a high of 88 degrees yesterday afternoon.
Temperatures rise rapidly in a closed vehicle, according to research done at San Francisco State University. In the first 10 minutes, the temperature rises 19 degrees higher than the outside temperature. It rises another 10 degrees in the next 10 minutes and another 5 degrees in the third 10-minute period.
When body temperature reaches 104 degrees, heat stroke starts, with rapid breathing, excessive sweating and unconsciousness, according to the university. Organs start to fail when body temperature reaches 107 degrees.
The bodies of small children heat up three to five times faster than the bodies of adults. While it might take an adult hours to have heat stroke, a child can suffer heat stroke in 20 to 30 minutes.