Police were called to about 8 p.m. Thursday after a young boy was found wandering alone in the parking lot outside JC Penney.
A loss prevention officer found the child, who appeared to be 2 or 3, and called police.
About a half hour later, police received a call from the boy's mother, who said she had inadvertently left her son behind when she left the mall.
The woman's other children were acting up when she left, a report said.
The report also said the mom was "extremely upset" and was on her way back to the mall to get the boy, who was actually 4.
She was cited for child endangering, a misdemeanor.