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Police: New Canaan Mom Left Baby Alone In Hot SUV For 45 Minutes

Kathryn Ferguson
Kathryn Ferguson Photo Credit: New Canaan Police Department

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — A New Canaan mother was arrested after she left her 11-week-old baby alone in a hot SUV for 48 minutes last month while she went shopping, buying shoes and a large mint lemonade, police said.

Kathryn Ferguson, 34, turned herself in to police at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11, and was arrested and charged with risk of injury to a child. She was released on $20,000 bond for an Aug. 22 court appearance.

Officers were called at 4:03 p.m. July 18 to the area of 81 Elm St. on the report of a child left alone in a car and found Ferguson at the scene, holding the baby and sitting in the Chevy Suburban, police said. The baby was red in the face, with hair matted with sweat, police said.

Ferguson, who had called 911, was speaking calmly to an EMT when officers arrived, police said.

The child was transported to Norwalk Hospital by New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps for evaluation, police said.

Ferguson told officers that she had left the baby alone for about 10 minutes to go shopping, and the child was "screaming, crying," when she returned, police said

The car, which was parked in the direct sun, had been left with the engine and air conditioning off and the windows rolled up, police said. It was 85 degrees that day, with an air quality alert in effect, police said.

Officers consulted surveillance camera footage from a nearby business and determined that Ferguson had left the child alone for about 48 minutes while she shopped in the downtown area, police said.

The baby was medically cleared by that night at Norwalk Hospital, police said. The hospital social worker said she believed Ferguson was "in shock" after the incident, police said. The social worker also told police that the family has a nanny, but she does not watch the baby.

Also, the social worker said the baby was "asleep and quiet, which caused [Ferguson] to forget the [baby] was in the vehicle," the arrest warrant said. The surveillance cameras show that Ferguson did not look in the backseat, where the baby was in a car seat, when she exited the SUV, police said.

The New Canaan Police Department reported the incident to the state Department of Children and Families as a possible case of child abuse or neglect, the arrest warrant said.

When the hospital social worker told the Fergusons that a DCF report would be filed, the baby's father said, "Think about it," multiple times, the arrest warrant said.

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