VALLEJO, Calif. - A young mother was arrested by Vallejo police after her 3-month-old baby was left alone in a hot car while she got her nails done, authorities said.
Selena Cook, 19 allegedly left her infant in the car unattended for at least 30 to 45 minutes on Tuesday while she was being serviced at Unique Nails.
Denise Tran, who works at the salon, said, "She walked through the door and asked for her eyebrows waxed. So I waxed her eyebrows and she asked to do her nails."
A group of good Samaritans found the child sitting in a car seat in the backseat of a BMW and alerted police. Officials said all four of the car's windows were rolled down, but temperatures were upwards of 81 degrees, even hotter in the car.
"One of the most fundamental responsibilities we have as parents is to protect and care for our children above our own needs," Chief of Police Shawny Williams said. "As a parent, it was extremely disheartening to know that a 3-month-old was left in a hot car unattended and defenseless."
The baby was removed from the car.
Officers who responded to the scene searched the shopping plaza where the vehicle was parked and quickly located the child's mother.
Police said Cook admitted that she was getting her nails done and had left her baby.
Cook was arrested on charges of child endangerment and her baby was transported to a nearby hospital for medical evaluation. The child is now in the care of Child Protective Services.
Tran said staff at the nail salon had no idea the woman left her child alone in the car.
"She seemed normal. She seemed okay," she said.
Tran said Cook returned to the salon on Wednesday to retrieve a shopping bag she had left behind.
The city's police chief praised the witnesses who's vigilance was critical in saving the child, saying, "Our department is truly grateful for the good Samaritans who stepped in to alert the authorities to save this baby. As a community, we must continually rally around protecting our children."