SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Officers averted tragedy in Thursday’s sweltering heat when they saved an 18-month-old accidentally locked in a vehicle.

The incident took place at 11:20 a.m. Thursday at the Nassau Square townhouse complex when a mother and her 18-month-old daughter stopped to drop something off at a friend’s house.

The unidentified mother told arriving officers that she exited the Honda CRV, believing it was still running with the air conditioner on with the baby inside.

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When she returned moments later, however, she found the vehicle was off and the keys were locked inside with the child in a child seat in the back seat.

Sgt. Eric Buraszeski determined the child had been in the vehicle for about 20 minutes and the temperatures outside were already above 90 degrees, police said.

He immediately broke a rear passenger window to free the child from the vehicle and reunite her with her distraught mother, police said.

South Brunswick EMS took the child to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick for evaluation, police said.

“In this heat, it will only take minutes for someone left inside a vehicle to suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke,” Chief of Police Raymond Hayducka said. “In this case officers were able to quickly intervene and rescue this child.”

Police are urging residents to be aware of the how quickly temperatures will climb inside their vehicles during this extreme heat.

The township’s Office of Emergency Management also announced Thursday that the Library and Senior Center would be open as cooling centers for those that need help staying cool during the heat.

Temperatures Thursday are expected to break the 100-degree mark, according to an advisory by the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.

The Library is open until 9 p.m. and the Senior Center until 4 p.m., police said.

For more information on how to deal with the extreme heat, visit this government website: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html.

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