Leaving a baby or animal in a car when it’s hot out is not always an act of intentional disregard. There are still those people who make very poor judgment calls, and it’s easy to lambast them for their carelessness, but time and again, well-meaning parents have lost their children when their routines are shifted or they think someone else is caring for the baby.
Sadly, in either case, the intention doesn’t matter and the result is tragically the same — but the latter instance is much more haunting because it could happen to any of us.
In August, one such instance allegedly took place when a good Samaritan in Duncanville, Texas, spotted a baby left in a hot car. The good Samaritan reported the baby appeared to be sleeping, which was even more concerning.
By the time Officer Christian Pinilla arrived on the scene, the baby was crying — thankfully alive — but clearly in distress and covered in vomit.
Pinilla called for paramedics and quickly opened the locked car, bashing in the passenger-side window to get to the door control panel.
The almost year-old baby was sweating, but the officer removed the baby and placed the child in his air-conditioned vehicle until the paramedics got there.
According to a post by the Duncanville Police Department, the incident seemed to be accidental.
“The mother of the infant was identified and had arrived in the same vehicle from which the infant was saved, along with the infant’s grandmother and two of the infant’s older siblings,” the post reads.
“All indications seem to point to this being a mistake caused by false assumptions and faulty communication about the infant’s well-being.”
All the same, Child Protective Services was alerted and they will determine if further action is necessary. Meanwhile, Officer Pinilla has been recognized by Safe Kids Greater Dallas with a lifesaving award, according to KSAZ-TV.
“The Duncanville Police Department is thankful this incident did not result in a more tragic outcome as so many unfortunate incidents of children being left in hot vehicles do,” the post continued.
“Due to an alert and concerned citizen calling, and due to the definitive, quick actions of the Officer, both of whom will undoubtedly be regarded as heroes by the rescued infant for the rest of its life, a tragedy was averted.”
The police department also cautioned that with our unusual schedules and school starting up in some places, it will be more necessary than ever to know, at all times, whether or not your children are in the car.
“About 46% of the time when a child was forgotten, the caregiver meant to drop the child off at a daycare or preschool,” they shared. “Thursdays and Fridays — the end of the workweek — have had the highest deaths … Nearly 75% of children who are forgotten, and die, are under 2 years of age.”
As we try to reclaim some semblance of normalcy in our lives this year, please remember to be vigilant about checking your vehicle if you have young children, and keep an eye out for others who might have forgotten to do the same — you just might save a life.
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