Police called to smash car window after one-year-old child left locked inside

The word 'Police' below the fluorescent decals on a police car on a UK street, with other police vehicles in the distance.
Police in Cornwall had to smash a car window after a one-year-old was left locked inside it. (Stock image: Getty)

Police had to smash a car window in Cornwall after a child was spotted locked inside it at the weekend.

Officers were called to a car boot sale in Truro at around 1pm on Sunday (7 May) after the child - believed to be around one - was spotted "in distress" in the car.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the officers smashed the window to get into the vehicle and free the child.

"A parent of the child returned soon after and was given strong words of advice in relation to this matter," a statement from the force said.

Aerial view of Truro, the capital of Cornwall, England, UK
The incident happened at a car boot sale in Truro, Cornwall. (Stock image: Getty)

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One witness told CornwallLive that no windows had been left open and the baby was "hot and crying".

"The baby was okay after a cuddle from the police lady," the witness told the newspaper.

"It was nearly an hour by this time and then the mother turned up and the police took all her details.

"It's bad enough dogs left in cars but a baby, it's horrific."

Is it illegal to leave your child alone in a car?

The law doesn't specifically say you can't leave a child alone in a car - but it is an offence to leave your child alone if it places them 'at risk'.

This means you could be prosecuted in certain circumstances, and also means you could be prosecuted even if you don't think they were at risk, but police and prosecutors do.

Government advice to parents is to make a judgement on the risk based on a range of factors, including the situation and their own child’s maturity.

It also highlights advice from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), which says babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone and children under 12 aren't usually mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time.

Sunset reflecting in the car window
It's not specifically illegal to leave your child in a car unattended - but could be if they're deemed to be at risk. (Stock image; Getty)

The AA also warns of the dangers of leaving children in cars at any time of year - but particularly when it's hot.

AA President Edmund King OBE says: "Children are particularly vulnerable as they are less able to cope with high temperatures and may not recognise the symptoms of heat-related illness such as dehydration.

“But it's not just warm days that can present a risk: vehicle glass behaves like a greenhouse which means in sunshine, temperatures can rise quickly inside even if there’s a chilly breeze blowing.

"So remember not to leave kids alone in the car, because anything can happen."