The property manager of the Villas of Lake Smart apartment complex found a 4-year-old boy found wandering alone and covered with welts and bruises.
Police said the manager talked to the boy and he told her that he had been beaten with a belt by his mother because he was jumping on a bed.
Sheila Renee Smith, 29, of Winter Haven, was arrested and charged with child abuse and neglect.
The boy was taken to Winter Haven Hospital while officers tried to find the mother. She turned up later at the hospital, according to the news release.
Police said the boy’s injuries indicate he was trying to shield himself.
Police said they believe the boy ended up outside after his mother, who lives at the apartment with the boy and three other children, went to the store. He is now staying with a family member.