Viral video of baby alone in car prompts police investigation
RICHLAND, Wash. – A man said he found a baby alone in a car in Richland. So he decided to take action—and take a video—a video that went viral and then taken down.
In the video you could hear him worried for the baby's safety, and eventually confront the baby's caregivers.
Police say the man called them right away.
“We don't want children left in cars by themselves,” Sgt. Drew Florence said. “Particularly young ones who can't fend for themselves.”
And while police said the baby's guardians drove off before they could arrive, Richland police said they're investigating what happened.
“Very rarely are there bad intentions,” Florence said. “But what people fail to think about is what could happen when you're not around to supervise a child.”
Florence said there’s no hard-and-fast law in Richland about leaving your kids in cars.
“It's hard to say if it’s legal or not illegal--it's not a good idea,” he said. “We want to keep kids safe, and leaving them unattended anytime, particularly when they're that young, is not a good idea.”
Florence said they'll have to investigate and see if what the adults did falls under child neglect or reckless endangerment.
The man who took the video posted online that he was instructed by dispatchers not to try to get the child out by himself.
“We certainly don't advocate entering other people’s cars,” Florence said.
But police said sometimes it's necessary to take action before they arrive.
“If it's a situation that involves death, serious bodily injury, or a child is clearly in distress, then that's going to be a decision that a citizen has to make at that time,” he said.
In this situation Florence said the baby in the video seemed okay.
“You could see it moving around,” Florence said. “It was cold out. So if it had been an hour later, who knows what the circumstances may have been.”
Police said if you ever find a child alone, call them, get the plate numbers, and keep an eye on the child until they arrive.