A woman who said she locked her 5-year-old daughter in her car because she didn't trust baby sitters pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge.

In an emotional plea for leniency, Chante Fernandez, 24, admitted it was wrong to leave her daughter in the car while she worked weekends at a shopping mall but said she felt she had no other choice."I was only trying to get us out of the situation we were in," Fernandez told Superior Court Judge Robert Figarotta.

Fernandez pleaded guilty to a disorderly persons offense, was given a $100 suspended fine and was spared probation.

Fernandez, from Elizabeth, was arrested Saturday after police found her pajama-clad daughter Anjuli in the back of her car at the Woodbridge Center Mall, where she worked part-time on weekends.

Anjuli is being cared for by the state Division of Youth and Family Services, which scheduled an Oct. 30 hearing to determine whether to reunite mother and daughter.