Sevierville police arrested a woman Wednesday after receiving a call that an infant had been left unattended inside a hot car for nearly half an hour.
According to the Sevierville Police Department, 31-year-old Christina Smith was inside an Aldi grocery store off Winfield Dunn Parkway Wednesday when another woman called police saying she found a five to six-month-old child inside an unattended vehicle.
The witness said the windows were down and the doors were unlocked when she heard the infant screaming. When she walked up to the vehicle, she said the child looked "blood red" and soaked in sweat.
As police interviewed the woman, Smith came out of the store and an officer heard her gasp that she had "left her baby."
Police said Smith had a full shopping cart and her son with her. Smith told the officer that she thought her niece had taken the infant out of the vehicle to watch her while she went in the store.
Smith told police she had been in the store for 20 to 25 minutes.
When police checked the vehicle's temperature with a laser thermometer, it was as hot as 111 degrees in some spots.
Sevier County EMS checked on the infant, who had been cooled off by water by the time they arrived. EMS took the child to Leconte Medical Center, where she had a temperature of 99.3 degrees.
Smith gave consent for the two children to be cared for by a woman she claimed was her mother-in-law. Smith is being held in the Sevier County Jail and has been charged with child abuse.
WBIR 10News Meteorologist Mike Witcher recently held a demonstration of the dangers of hot cars and how rapidly temperatures can rise inside a vehicle in the summer heat. It is never safe to leave a child or pet inside a car unattended for any length of time, even with the windows down: