A New York City mother has come under fire after her 3-year-old son was filmed hanging outside a window of their 13th-floor apartment after apparently squeezing through an air conditioning unit on Saturday.
Jennifer Mares captured the incident at Butler Houses in the Bronx on camera that night, according to WABC. The child is shown wearing a diaper as he inched along the window and climbed on top of the air conditioner.
“Go inside! Oh my God!” witnesses yelled from below.
Mares told the station: “I was losing my mind. All I was thinking was about this baby falling and not making it.”
The child’s mother, who has not been named, said her son has autism and a visual impairment, WABC reported. She said she believes her son pushed in the side panels of the air conditioner and crawled through the opening to reach the outside of the window.
He was taken to a local hospital to be checked out.
Mares told ABC News that she was at a nearby park with her son when she heard someone yell about a baby being in a window. She called the police and then ran into the building and to the family’s apartment, she told ABC. The boy’s 14-year-old sister grabbed him and pulled him to safety, Mares added.
“Our top priority is protecting the safety and wellbeing of all children in New York City,” a spokesperson for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services tells PEOPLE in a statement. “As soon as this family came to our attention, we launched an immediate investigation.”
The mother told WABC that bars were installed on the window the next day to prevent the boy from climbing out again. She said she is grateful that her son is safe, but has endured criticism from local residents since the incident.
“They were calling me names,” she said. ” ‘You stupid, dumb, African lade. You don’t know nothing. You think this is Africa? This is not Africa. This is America. You will go to jail.’ “
She added: “God saved my boy and he will save me from these people.”