A 3-year-old was in a hot car when she cut off her clothes to get relief, South Carolina officials said.
Now, the child’s grandmother is accused of leaving her in the Honda with no air conditioning as temperatures neared 90 degrees.
The grandma, a Myrtle Beach resident, was arrested over the weekend in at least the third hot-car incident in Charleston so far this month.
On Aug. 6, officials said two people were outside a Big Lots store on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard when they saw a naked child. The girl was inside a Honda but had her head out the window and the door cracked, the Charleston Police Department wrote in an incident report.
“They grew concerned for the child and approached the car to realize the car was off and there was no air conditioning,” officers wrote.
The two people called police and gave water to the girl, who reportedly told them “she opened the door and cut her clothes off with scissors because she was hot.”
Meanwhile, the Big Lots store made an announcement to track down the car owner. That’s when the 3-year-old’s grandmother came outside the store “while concealing” items in her purse, according to police.
Officials said the woman told them she had been in the store for about 25 minutes and had left the car on.
But those claims were disputed. A Big Lots worker reported that the grandmother had spent about an hour in the store, and she was accused of having her car keys “around her neck” when she went inside.
“She also claimed that she did not bring the child into the store because she was already naked,” an officer wrote. “However, the child herself said she cut her clothes off in the car while waiting for her grandmother. I found the scissors and pieces of children`s clothing cut up in the back seat of the car.”
The child — who first responders said was “sweaty and hot to the touch” — was taken to a children’s hospital.
While police said Big Lots didn’t want to pursue a shoplifting case, the grandmother was charged with unlawful conduct toward a child. She was booked into the Charleston County jail and later released on bond, records show.
The arrest is one in a series of recent hot-car cases reported in Charleston.
On Aug. 1, police said a boy found in an SUV was sweating “profusely” while his mom shopped in a TJ Maxx.
Two days later, a woman was accused of leaving her friend’s baby in a car while it was turned off.
It can be dangerous to leave young kids alone in vehicles for any period of time, and more than a dozen hot-car deaths have been reported this year, McClatchy News reported.