Alert passersby and store staff prevented a possible tragedy on the afternoon of Friday, August 31st when they called 911 after having spotted a young child locked inside a van in the parking lot of Walmart on Midland Ave.
Both Kingston Police and Frontenac Paramedics were dispatched to the scene at around 2:20 p.m. Eyewitnesses said that the child was in obvious emotional distress and crying loudly, prompting responders to break one of the rear windows of the van and remove the child from the vehicle. Outside temperatures at the time were in the mid-twenties celsius, which can quickly produce much higher temperatures inside a locked vehicle. While it is not known how long the child had been in the vehicle, several shoppers noted that lines inside the store were long and that checkouts were taking about thirty minutes. Multiple attempts were made to reach the owners of the vehicle via the store’s public announcement system, but were unsuccessful.
“When we arrived the child was being looked after by Kingston Police,” said Frontenac Paramedics in a statement. The toddler, which appeared to be between one and two years of age, was alert and responsive when removed from the vehicle, and was taken to hospital for observation. A young male and female identifying themselves as the parents of the child arrived at the vehicle approximately 15 minutes after the child had been transported by EMS. After being assured that their child was, luckily, relatively unscathed by the incident and giving the officer their statement, they were then escorted to hospital by Kingston Police and a social worker.
In a statement, Frontenac Paramedics reminded residents not to leave children or pets unattended in cars for any length of time.
Kingston Police Sergeant Geoff Dempster issued the following statement regarding the incident: “On Friday the 31st day of August 2018 the Kingston Police responded to 1130 Midland Avenue for a report of a child left in a locked vehicle. Officers attended and were unable to immediately locate the owners of the vehicle. Given the circumstances that they were presented with, the officers believed it necessary to break a window on the vehicle in order to gain access to the child.
Regional Ambulance attended at the request of the Kingston Police in order to assess the medical welfare of the child. The child was further assessed at Kingston General Hospital, and released (with) no injuries.
After speaking with all of the involved parties, the investigating Kingston Police officers determined that the situation did not meet the criteria for criminal neglect. The Kingston Police have documented the matter and determined it to be closed.”