Sahara Bernard and her young daughter, Scarlett, had gone into a deli near Valentine Avenue and East 198th Street in the Fordham Manor section around 8:45 a.m.
As Bernard was holding the door for her daughter, a woman came up from behind them and pushed the girl, knocking her to the ground.
The attack was captured on video and the woman then appeared to skip away.
"She was mumbling something and she just came around the corner and just pushed her like she was a grown woman, like, two hands, everything," Bernard said.
The 2-year-old's head hit the pavement and she was taken to Montefiore Medical Center by EMS.
Bernard says she's grateful her daughter, who turns two next month, managed to put out her hands out to break her fall.
"I was very worried, she cried for maybe like a minute, but then she just started being playful, but I took her to the hospital. No marks, no bruises, no nothing," Bernard said.
People in the neighborhood say the woman is a known panhandler.
"I've seen her, you know, get angry on the block and start cursing people out because they don't want to give her change, but I've never seen her get violent with a person, not even a child," Bernard said.
Police are now looking for the woman.
She is described as approximately 35 - 45 years of age, 5'4" - 5'5" tall, 130 lbs and was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, black shorts and red sneakers.
The NYPD is hoping someone recognizes the woman or has more information and will call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
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