08/15/2013 03:50 EDT | Updated 10/15/2013 05:12 EDT

Edmonton Toddler Left In Hot Car; Father Lost Track Of Time

EDMONTON - Police have arrested an Edmonton man after his two-year-old son was discovered in a sweltering car in an underground parkade.

A person working at a downtown office building attached to the parkade noticed the boy strapped into his car seat in the back of a sedan, in obvious distress, and called police on Wednesday afternoon.

Const. Steven Kilpatrick recalled Thursday that it was about 28C outside and just as hot inside the parkade when he arrived.

The car's front windows and sunroof had been slightly cracked open but there was no air circulating in the parkade.

He talked briefly with the boy through a window then tried to reach the car's owner. When that failed, he broke the driver's side window and got the boy out.

The child had been inside for at least 45 minutes, said Kilpatrick.

"He was very sweaty and quite slow-moving."

Paramedics checked over the boy and he was otherwise fine, said Kilpatrick. The child's father showed up about 10 minutes later.

"The parent informed me that they had gone to run an errand and subsequently lost track of time, which, of course, is no excuse at all."

The 33-year-old man has been charged under the Criminal Code with child abandonment. It's not know when he is to appear in court.

Sgt. Gary Willits with the force's child at risk response team said officers took care of the boy until he was later returned to his mother.

He said police get about five calls each week about children left alone in vehicles.

Last month, a three-year-old Edmonton girl died after she was found inside a car during a heat wave. In that case, though, police determined it was an accident. The girl had not been left by a parent and the vehicle was unlocked.

"We saw how quickly it can happen and unfortunately what happened yesterday could have been the same result," said Willits.

In July, police charged a Toronto father with child abandonment after a nine-month-old girl was left in a hot car in Oakville, west of Toronto.

Police have been trying to educate parents but it doesn't seem to be working, Willits said. Officers are now being encouraged to lay charges.

"It's just frustrating when we continuously try to get this message out and it doesn't seem people are hearing us or understanding us."

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