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Kid in car, mom in the bar

A southern Alberta mother who left her child in a locked and freezing SUV while the woman went drinking has pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessaries of life.

The 25-year-old entered the plea in a Lethbridge court and is to be sentenced Jan. 26. She cannot be named to protect the identity of the child.

Court heard that a passerby called police last December after hearing a child crying, and officers had to smash into the vehicle to rescue the three-year-old.

They found the intoxicated woman in a nearby bar and she told them she had forgotten about her child.

Another woman charged in the case is to go to trial in March.

An agreed statement of facts said officers first found a girl who was crying and cold to the touch. After they sent the girl to hospital, they searched the SUV and found a four-year-old boy curled-up in a ball under a pile of jackets and shivering.

Court heard both were wearing winter coats, but police noted it was snowing that night and the temperature was -18 C.

A report prepared by a pediatric specialist said both children were suffering from mild or early hypothermia, but that neither suffered any long-term physical harm. The specialist couldn't say how much longer the children would have lasted. It was noted that there was a risk of severe hypothermia, frostbite and even death.

The investigation revealed that the woman had been in the bar for about an hour.



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