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Police: Manhattan Fashion Designer Charged For Leaving 1-Year-Old In Hot Car

WOODBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — From high fashion to a hefty criminal charge, a New York City fashion designer is accused of leaving her child trapped inside a car on a hot summer day so that she could go shopping.

According to police, 35-year-old Sylvia Harden left her 1-year-old son alone in the car last week while she went shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in the Hudson Valley, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.

A shopper had noticed the boy and flagged down security officers.

Police said the windows in the car were left cracked, the doors were locked and the toddler was strapped into his car seat for at least 15 minutes in 80-degree weather.

The boy was checked by paramedics and found to be in good health.

At a court appearance Wednesday evening, Harden pleaded not guilty to endangering the welfare of a child, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported.

Parents who spoke with CBS 2’s Brown were outraged.

“I have no words because that’s a nightmare, really,” said parent Yannira Centeno.

“Something could happen to him. It’d be like leaving a million dollars in the car. You wouldn’t leave a million dollars in the car, you wouldn’t leave your kid in the car,” said parent Natalie McLean.

Police said Harden admitted she intentionally left her child alone, and didn’t seem to understand the seriousness of what had happened until authorities stripped her of custody, Brown reported.

Harden’s son was temporarily turned over to Orange County Child Protective Services. He has since been turned back over to his mother, Carlin reported.

“It’s unfortunate but common sense is the least common of the senses it seems. You can’t teach common sense I guess,” said parent Rob Lebowitz.

A woman who answered the buzzer at Harden’s Lower East Side apartment did not want to comment on the case.

According to her online profile, Harden is currently a senior women’s concept designer with Rugby Ralph Lauren, where she has worked since 2005.

A spokesperson for the fashion company declined to comment on employee matters.

Harden is due back in court on Aug. 27. If convicted of the misdemeanor charge, she faces up to a year in jail.

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