This picture of a baby left in a car was taken while her mother went shopping for more than an hour.

Witnesses say the child had been sleeping when the woman pulled up in the blue Kia Picanto, and car guards were asked to keep an eye on the little girl.

But the tot, who was asleep on the front passenger seat, woke up after 10 minutes and cried for the next hour.

The incident took place on Wednesday evening at Blue Downs mall in Eerste River.

Witnesses say the woman had another toddler with her, and took the older child to the shops with her.

The car’s doors were locked and the windows rolled up.

An upset shopper, who called the police, posted photos of the baby in the locked car on the Eerste River/Blue Downs/Kleinvlei/Wesbank-group on Facebook, writing: “This lady left her baby in the car at Blue Downs [mall] for more than an hour.

“I happened to stop next to the car and informed the police. We all stood next to the car trying to calm the baby down from crying.

“Eventually when she arrived she was bluntly rude and said she don’t see anything wrong with the situation.[sic]”

Elton Petersen, 34, an informal car guard who sleeps in the car park, says the woman asked him to look after her sleeping baby.

“That lady got out of her car and took out the child who can walk, and locked the car. She said we must keep watch,” he says.

“She stayed away for more than an hour. The baby started crying after about 10 minutes. Someone called the police, who also just stood next to the car with all the other people waiting for the mother.”

He adds that people leaving their small children in locked cars was nothing new.

“People do it all the time here,” says Elton.

He says when the mother returned to the car, she was “very angry” and told the police she saw nothing wrong with what she did.

“They just let her go. She is a bad mother. People must take responsibility of hou op kinnes maak,” say Elton.

The Facebook post has caused an uproar on social media.

Wedaad Holtzman commented: “Its illegal to leave even a dog in the car for too long. She was supposed to be arrested for child endangerment.”

Ayesha Parker Esau added: “OMG! Someone please remove that baby from her.”

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk says they have no record of the alleged incident.