Anastasi Cristofis, 37, had dropped his five-year-old daughter Chanel off at school and returned to the fish and chip shop he owns in Worksop, Notts, without realising his daughter had dropped the doll, worth £10, in the footwell of the car.
A passer-by then spotted the “Reborn” doll, which is especially created to look like a real baby, on the floor of the car and called police.
Officers then rushed to the “baby’s” aid and smashed the car’s window, in the chip shop car park, before realising their mistake.
Chanel’s mother Victoria Cristofis, 25, said: “I can see why they did it – it could have been a real baby in danger.
“Chanel carries Sam everywhere and lots of people have commented on how real she looks.”
Mr Cristofis said: “I couldn’t believe it when the police turned up holding the doll and told me what had happened. The officer handed the doll over and told me not to leave it in the car again.
“This has caused me so much inconvenience but the police have offered to pay for the damage.”
Local sergeant Robert Holmes said: “A young life was potentially at risk.
“This is a perfect example of why drivers need to think about what they leave on view in their car.”