Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

What to Do When You See a Baby in a Hot Car

Being left unattended in a car on a hot day can quickly become a fatal condition for babies. Little ones can overheat quickly on hot days and succumb to heat exhaustion and even lack of oxygen in these situations. Therefore, when you see a baby alone in a car, it’s important to realize what steps to take to secure the baby’s safety. Here are a few things that you should do if you notice a baby in a hot car.

Carefully Assess the Situation

Assessing the situation before acting can help you approach the matter with a calmer, more organized mindset. Look to see if the child’s parent or guardian is nearby just in case they only stepped away for a moment. It’s also good to observe the behavior of the baby inside the vehicle to determine if they’re in immediate distress. If the baby seems to be happy enough for the moment, then you may be able to afford waiting for the proper authorities to arrive rather than smashing the window open yourself. If the baby does not seem in immediate danger, you could potentially be facing charges and require an auto accident attorney to help you justify your actions in court. While there are laws in some states that protect people who force open cars to save infants, they may not protect you if you aren’t able to declare with certainty that there was no better option.

Call the Police

If no adult returns to the car quickly, it’s best to notify the authorities so that they can take care of the situation. You should be ready to tell the police the exact location of the vehicle so that they won’t have trouble reaching the location. In addition to the police, you may need to summon paramedics if the baby’s health looks to be endangered. It is illegal in many states to leave a child unattended in a car because of the potential of fatal consequences for the child. Even if you don’t feel like getting involved, calling the police will allow them to handle the situation and potentially save the child’s life.

Remain Beside the Vehicle

It’s important to remain beside the vehicle until the authorities arrive. The baby’s health could take a sudden turn for the worse in the intense heat, and you can take more drastic measures if this happens before the authorities reach the vehicle. Remaining beside the vehicle will also give you the chance to direct the police to the correct location. If you do end up breaking into the car to save the baby, then it is required that you remain there with the child until the authorities arrive.

Break the Window

This should only be done if you believe that the authorities will arrive too late to save the child. states that you should choose a window to break that’s furthest from the baby to keep the child from getting hurt by the broken glass. A wrench, tire iron or can of food can be used to break the window. You might be able to avoid shattering the window completely if you’re able to make a hole that’s just above a lock.

You can make a big difference when it comes to saving the life of a baby trapped inside a hot vehicle. Taking the necessary measures to ensure the child’s safety requires more than just busting a window open, however. It is essential that, in these instances, you call the police, and if necessary, the paramedics to ensure that the child gets the help they need.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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