A New Zealand mom is being slammed for leaving her newborn baby alone in a locked ca
r outside a supermarket Saturday with a note affixed to the child's blanket that said the mom was inside grocery shopping.
"My mum's in doing the shopping, call her if I need anything," said the note, which included the mother's cell phone number.
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A few passers-by saw the child and waited by the car while others called the woman.
"We waited there for a little bit, wondering if the mum was just going to be two seconds and come back," one Good Samaritan told the New Zealand Herald. "And my wife said, 'I'm not going in without someone being here with the baby.'"
One of the spectators posted a photo of the sleeping baby to Facebook, attracting nearly 1,500 comments in 24 hours.
"I'm sorry this is completely irresponsible!" one woman wrote. "You do not leave children under the age of 14 unsupervised at all."
Others sympathized with the mother.
"As parents ourselves we know it is hard to get a baby to sleep, and once you start moving them they can wake up," one of the spectators told the Herald. "We thought it was just a silly decision by a tired mother."
New Zealand's National Child Safety Adviser Sue Campbell said the risks of leaving a baby or young child alone in a car are significant.
"Babies can dehydrate quickly and become very distressed," Campbell told the Herald. "So for a newborn that's one of the key issues. Plus there's a security issue — a small baby is unable to defend itself if need be, or call for help, or anything like that."
In New Zealand, a parent or guardian who leaves a child under the age of 14 alone for an unreasonable amount of time or in unreasonable condition could face a fine of up to NZ $2,000 (about $1,600 in U.S. dollars).
The mom in this case is unlikely to be prosecuted
though because the police did not receive any calls or reports about the incident.
"We don't know who the people are, we don't know the phone number, we don't know where to start," a police spokesperson told the Daily Mail. "We would launch an investigation if we could but at this stage no one's come forward."
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