Given how dangerous it can be to leave a child in a hot car, we're often advised to call 911 if we see a little one trapped or left unattended in one. Frustratingly, one panicked mom did just that after accidentally locking her baby in the car, but the dispatcher told her they couldn't send an officer or someone from the fire department to help.
In a Facebook post, Lacey Guyton wrote about the infuriating incident.
On Saturday afternoon, the mom was leaving her grandparents' home in Waterford, Michigan, with her 2-month-old daughter, Raina. She put the baby in the car seat, threw the diaper bag in the car and closed the door. As she was walking to the driver's seat, the car doors inexplicably locked.
The keys were in the diaper bag and the car wouldn't unlock.
Guyton picked up a chunk of asphalt from the ground and tried to break the passenger window while the grandma, Mary Riley, called 911.
"My granddaughter just put her baby in the car, and the car door locked and we can't get in it," Riley told the dispatcher in a transcript obtained by Fox 5.
The 911 dispatcher responded that they "don't unlock vehicles, unfortunately" and that she could transfer them to a tow company. (Um, did she not get that this wasn't a normal "I got locked out of my car" situation and that babies can die in hot cars?! In fact, at least 35 babies and toddlers in the U.S. have already tragically lost their lives this year.)
"I'm like, Grandma, we don't have time to call a tow company. I don't know how many minutes I have until she's passing out," Guyton said.
This time, the mom tried 911 but reached the same dispatcher. Meanwhile, her baby was screaming.
"Can you send the fire department to come break my window open? I just need it open," Guyton asked.
"I could send a wrecker service. They will charge you, but the fire department doesn't come out for that," the dispatcher responded.
The mom decided to ask the tow company to come while she kept trying to break a window. She grew more panicked as she saw that her daughter had stopped crying and was closing her eyes.
"I didn't know if she was going to sleep or if my baby was dying," she wrote on Facebook.
About 10 minutes after the baby was locked in, the mom ran to the back window, and with two hard hits, the window shattered. She crawled through, manually unlocked the car door and got her sweaty baby out.
The towing company arrived about 12 minutes later.
Waterford Police Chief Scott Underwood told Fox 5 that this was a mistake and apologized. He said the veteran dispatcher should have known better and will face some disciplinary action. Everyone will also have more training on how to handle calls like this in the future.
Guyton, who felt helpless even though she had pleaded for help, hopes that no family will lose their baby because of a similar mistake.
Last year, Mobile Glass LLC in Texas made a video showing that the fastest way to break a car window was with a tool specifically designed to break glass, like a Resqme. If one is not available, try a large rock, brick or metal tool (tire iron, hammer, screwdriver). The corners of the window are more vulnerable than the center.