A toddler was dramatically rescued from a hot car after being left alone for more than an hour in scorching temperatures.
The boy, thought to be around 18 months old, was freed after a passer-by heard him crying from inside the locked vehicle.
Fire crews finally released him by smashing a window and pulling him from the 4×4, which had been left in a car park in Saffron Walden, Essex, on Saturday.
An 18-month-old child (pictured) was seen being rescued by firefighters from a hot car in Saffron Walden yesterday as temperatures in the area hit 25C
The child (pictured with a woman thought to be his mother) was rescued after more than an hour in the car parked in Saffron Walden, where outdoor temperatures reached 25C
A ticket stub on the dashboard of the Nissan X-Trail suggested he’d been abandoned inside for more than an hour – as outside temperatures topped 25C.
Crowds gathered to watch the rescue operation after an announcement was made at a nearby family fun day, urging the boy’s parents to return to their car.
A woman, thought to be the mother, holds the child as she and another boy walk away from the scene
Witness Cheryl Thomas, 42, said: ‘It was unbelievable. We were all enjoying a day out and suddenly they announced this crying little boy had been left inside a hot car.
‘We could see the car park from where we were and everyone looked over to see paramedics outside the car, frantically trying to get in.
‘Everyone was looking round for a parent rushing over but no-one came. We couldn’t believe it when ten minutes later there was still no sign of anyone.
‘It was such a hot day, we actually got sunburn while we were out there so that poor little boy must have been in such distress.
‘It brings me to tears thinking about what he must have been going through.’
Firefighters swooped on the 17-plate vehicle and eventually freed the little boy shortly after 4.30pm after smashing the driver’s window.
He was crying and was visibly distressed as he was pulled from the car, which is when a woman – believed to be his mother – finally returned with another young boy.
The toddler was passed to her and they were ushered into the back of a waiting ambulance for the boy to be assessed by a St John’s Ambulance crew.
Firefighters surround the Nissan X-Trail car as they rescue the toddler from the hot car in scorching temperatures
The window of the Nissan X-Trail seen smashed in after a passerby heard the cries of the trapped child and attempted to rescue him
Police officers later spent more than half an hour speaking to the woman in the back of the emergency vehicle.
Mum-of-two Cheryl, an accounts manager, said: ‘The firefighters did an amazing job getting him out, they worked so quickly.
‘Then this woman just appeared from nowhere. No-one realised she was the boy’s mum to begin with as she didn’t seem to show any emotion over what was happening.
‘She had another little boy with her, who was older and holding her hand. We just couldn’t understand why you would take one child out with you and leave one in the car for so long.
‘A first for us!’: Saffron Walden fire service revealed their surprise at finding a child trapped in a locked car. Officers confirmed they had to smash a window to rescue the child and that the situation had been handed over to Essex police
‘Who knows where she had been or what she was doing. She didn’t have any bags with her, just a big handbag, so whether she’d popped to a shop or not, I don’t know.
‘To leave your child for a minute is too long though, let alone an hour.’
Taking to Facebook, Jodie Saxby said: ‘After half an hour I thought something must be wrong with that parent but no she came strolling from town way!
Firefighters swooped on the 17-plate vehicle and eventually freed the little boy shortly after 4.30pm after smashing the driver’s window
‘Having a niece of that age it made my feel so sad for that baby!’
Jackie Waughman added: ‘It was a lovely day on the common then they announced over the mic this sad news.
‘What was she thinking? You don’t leave a dog in the car, let alone a child.
‘They had to smash her window, she was gone for ages.
The woman was spotted being talked to be firefighters following the incident. She was later allowed to drive away with the child
‘When she did come back she seemed more worried about her car.
‘I pray she never does this again.’
It is understood the woman was later allowed to leave with the children in the car, as witnesses described seeing her drive away.
According to Child Safety Europe, car temperatures can rise 10 to 15 degrees celsius every 15 minutes and opening windows does not significantly slow down the rate.
Hyperthermia can occur in minutes while most deaths happen within just two hours.
At just 22C outside, in a car it can reach a deadly 47C within an hour.
When the human body reaches temperatures above 40C, the organs are at risk, but children are more vulnerable because their bodies heat up three to five times faster.
An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: ‘Firefighters were called to reports of a small child locked in a car in Common Hill, Saffron Walden at 4.06pm yesterday.
‘Crews managed to free the child and worked alongside paramedics and Essex Police at the scene.
‘It is incredibly dangerous to leave a child, pet or anyone vulnerable locked in a car at this time of year. Please don’t run the risk.’