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Mother arrested after leaving 4-month-old in hot car

Police arrested the mother of a toddler who was found unconscious after allegedly being left in a sweltering vehicle. KNSD's Diana Guevara reports.

A mother in National City, Calif., was arrested Tuesday after leaving her baby strapped inside her car while she shopped, police said.

The baby was found by emergency personnel in an unconscious state, soaked in sweat from sitting in the direct sunlight, according to National City Police Sgt. Julian Villagomez.

Surveillance footage showed the woman left the car in the East Plaza Boulevard shopping center at about 3 p.m. for about 10 minutes while shopping at a clothing store nearby.

Police received a call from a maintenance worker, who noticed the 4-month old inside the four-door sedan.

First-responders broke into the car through the window to rescue the baby, who was unconscious. The baby was revived and taken to Rady Children's Hospital.

The baby is said to be okay.

The mother, who police identified as Starley Cristal Geart, 25, came out of the store when she saw police near her car, and told authorities that she only left for a minute.

Witnesses described her reaction as nonchalant.

"She wasn’t sad or crying or anything," one witness said. "It didn’t even bother her. I don’t know how a parent can be like that."

Highs in National City on Tuesday reached about 75 degrees, but firefighters said temperature inside the car could have gotten as high as 140 degrees.

Geart was booked into jail on child-endangerment charges. The baby's case will be handled by Child Protective Services.

Hot vehicles can quickly turn into lethal traps for children. 

Earlier this week, the three-year-old daughter of foster parents in Jackson County, W.Va., was found dead after the family forgot her inside their SUV for three hours in 87-degree weather, reported NBC affiliate WSAZ.com. Charges are expected to be filed against the parents for Sunday's incident.

Fifteen children have died so far from being left in hot cars in 2012, according to Golden Gate Weather Services, which tracks child hyperthermia fatalities. In 2011, there were 33 hot-car child deaths. 

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