Toddler left in car at casino

A man is facing child abandonment charges after police rescued a toddler who was left in a car in a Calgary casino parking lot for six hours in frigid temperatures.

CALGARY — A man is facing child abandonment charges after police rescued a toddler who was left in a car in a Calgary casino parking lot for six hours in frigid temperatures.

Someone heard a child’s cries from the car shortly after midnight Monday and called for help.

The car’s front and side windows were obscured by blankets and the back window was also mostly blocked off.

“If the little guy hadn’t been crying up to that point, there may not have been a way of noting somebody was in the vehicle, just because it was difficult to see inside,” said police spokesman Kevin Brookwell.

Inside, rescuers found an underdressed 21-month-old boy strapped into a child’s car seat in the back.

The tot wasn’t wearing socks or shoes, and had vomited on his clothing. The officer who found the child noted his hands and feet were cold to the touch.

Temperatures outside hovered around -8 C at the time.

The boy was taken to hospital, but his condition wasn’t considered life threatening.

“The child is currently safe and doing well,” said Dawn Delaney, Child and Family Services communications manager for the Calgary area. She declined to say whether he was still in hospital.

Police found the boy’s 50-year-old father through the vehicle’s registration and tried paging him inside the casino, said Brookwell.

He was arrested as he left, about six hours after he was seen going in.

It’s believed the boy’s father, who can’t be named to protect the youngster’s identity, may have checked on him occasionally during the six-hour period.

Cases of children being left alone outside casinos happens more than you’d think, said Garry Smith of the Alberta Gaming Research Institute at the University of Alberta.

“That pops up quite often every year,” he said. “When I say quite often, it’s not an everyday case, but it’s not unusual either.”

Usually the parent has a gambling addiction, which has been shown to make people forget their responsibilities, Smith said.

People addicted to gambling often plan to pop in to play for 15 or 30 minutes and end up staying until all their money runs out, he said.

Delaney said it’s been about a year since Family Services has dealt with a case of a child being left unattended in a car.

Brookwell said police have laid five charges of child abandonment since 2006, three of which involve youngsters being left in cars. Not every call they get about a child being left alone results in a charge.

“Six hours in this particular case, in the weather conditions and the condition that we found the child, with the vomiting and cold to the touch, certainly constituted, in our eyes, a need to charge under the Criminal Code.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Conservatives call for Trudeau to testify at committee on WE Charity deal

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion is already investigating whether Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act

Beat the heat this summer with pop-up spray parks

Starting next week, spray parks will be popping up in neighbourhoods across… Continue reading

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Quebec police continue search for father, one day after missing girls found dead

Bodies were found in a wooded area of Quebec City suburb

11 rafters rescued from Red Deer River

Red Deer RCMP rescued a party of 11 river rafters Saturday afternoon… Continue reading

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Canmore RCMP respond to multiple hiking injury calls this weekend

EMS and RCMP responded to three separate and unrelated hiking accidents in Kananaskis Country.

You can’t put a price on memories

Some people would rather buy something than sell something. Some people are… Continue reading

Masks and gloves: Elections Saskatchewan preparing for pandemic election

REGINA — Elections Saskatchewan estimates it will need 400,000 face masks and… Continue reading

Quebec police say they found 2 bodies in St-Apollinaire during search for 2 girls

SAINT-APOLLINAIRE, Que. — Quebec provincial police continue to search for the father… Continue reading

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA chief Don Fehr reflect on RTP, CBA deals

Gary Bettman and Don Fehr finally have a chance to catch their… Continue reading

NHL’s road to Edmonton and Toronto featured plenty of obstacles

Since early March, the novel coronavirus has affected almost every decision facing… Continue reading

Florida sets record week for coronavirus deaths

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida’s coronavirus death rate rose again Saturday, setting… Continue reading

Trump’s defiant help for Stone adds to tumult in Washington

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s intervention into a criminal case connected to… Continue reading

Most Read