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Nurse saves a baby left in car for 7 hours

A nurse who happened to be in a parking lot at the Coastal Crossings apartments Monday is credited with helping to save the life of a 3-month-old girl left there unattended in a car for seven hours.

The baby, who was left in the Chevrolet Impala of a baby sitter who lives at the apartments, was not breathing when she was found at 2:40 p.m., Van Buren County Sheriff’s Sgt. Wayne Polomcak said.

The nearby nurse performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the girl and revived her before emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene in South Haven Township, Polomcak said.

The baby may have died if she had been left in the parking lot much longer, police and fire officials said Tuesday. The girl was suffering from heat exhaustion, dehydration and lethargy when she was found, and was taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo.

South Haven Area Emergency Services Director Ron Wise stressed how dangerous it is to leave a child, especially a baby, in an unattended car.

“It was into the 70s Monday, and if the car hadn’t been under a (carport) roof that baby would have been baked,” Wise said. “You can’t leave any kids unattended, especially a baby. There’s no ventilation, and it heats up very quickly.”

The girl was listed in good condition Tuesday afternoon at Bronson and was expected to be released today, he said.

“She’s doing great. She’s alert and smiling,” Polomcak said.

Police Tuesday were not releasing the names of those involved because it is an active criminal investigation, Polomcak said.

The nurse heard the baby sitter screaming when she discovered she had left the baby in the car, and rushed over and performed CPR, Polomcak said.

Police will forward a copy of the incident report to the Van Buren County prosecutor’s office for possible charges against the baby sitter, Polomcak said.

The baby sitter had driven the baby’s mother to Covert High School, where she attends school, and agreed to take care of the baby because the regular baby sitter was not available, Polomcak said.

The baby sitter had just finished working a night shift when she agreed to the last-minute arrangement, he said.

Polomcak said he wasn’t sure whether the nurse who came to the rescue lived at Coastal Crossings or was just visiting.

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