By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An unplanned stop at home for a Minnesota mom may have saved a child’s life Wednesday.

When Natalie Olson pulled into her driveway for a baby bottle around noon, she heard a toddler crying. She found the 3-year-old girl alone in the frigid cold, without a jacket and barefoot.

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“[I] closed the door and I heard this strange cry,” Natalie Olson said. “It didn’t sound familiar like one of my kids, but it was definitely a little child. She was slipping and I just ran as fast as I could over there.”

Natalie found the child barefoot and in only a T-shirt and leggings. It was minus-1 degree outside at the time, with a wind chill of minus-18.

“She was freezing and she was crying and you could tell she was really scared and probably in a lot of pain,” Olson said.

She brought her inside the SUV to warm up while she called police.

“I grabbed her feet, they were just ice cubes, they were reddish purple,” Olson said.

Her children also helped.

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“I gave her my socks because it would warm up her feet, because she was walking barefoot,” 6-year-old Eva Olson said. “I was worried about if she had frost bite.”

“I gave her my coat,” 3-year-old Dimitri Olson said.

Natalie Olson said police went from door to door, but no one knew where she lived. The girl was taken to the hospital.

Natalie placed her 911 call at noon. Coon Rapids police say the girl’s mom called an hour and 20 minutes later. They learned the baby sitter fell asleep and the 3-year-old walked outside and wandered a few houses down.

“I’m so glad I forgot that bottle. Oh my gosh, it saved her life,” Olson said. “I’m just so thankful she’s OK and they found her family.”

Police said the incident appears to be an accident, but is still under investigation. A sergeant said it’s lucky someone was there to find her — any longer and hypothermia could have set in.

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This is not the first time Natalie has rescued a child. She pulled over and stopped a toddler from running into traffic a few years ago.

Jennifer Mayerle