The subject of children getting stuck in hot cars is taking center stage this week, thanks to a video of a woman rescuing a toddler from a hot car by breaking a window. The good news: the toddler is fine. But it took the brave bystander several minutes to bust through the window. The footage is a sober reminder of how hard it is to get into a car in an emergency situation.
10 children left in cars have died of heat stroke so far this year. At year’s end last year, the total was 31. If you came upon a car with a child trapped inside, or if you accidentally locked your own child in a hot car — would you know how to get them out?
Today’s Jeff Rossen was in Miami today to illustrate how fast temperatures rise in cars on hot days. He acted as a guinea pig and sat in a hot car to see how fast his temperature rose. The demonstration took place in Miami’s cooler morning hours, but in just three minutes, the temperature in the car rose to over 100 degrees. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Abel Fernandez was in the car with Rossen, and explained that kids “get hotter, faster than adults.” He explained that children are in twice as much danger as adults because their body temperatures rise faster. Just 10 minutes in, Rossen’s body temperature spiked to 101 degrees. A few minutes later he was at 104 and was instructed to get out of the car for his own safety.
It’s clear that any amount of time a child spends trapped in a hot car is too much, so what do you do to get them out? Yes, you can call 911, but how can you be sure that they will arrive on time? The following video shows you how to safely break glass to get to a child trapped inside a hot car. If you strike the glass in the right spot, it doesn’t take as much pressure. With objects most people have inside the trunk of their car (like tire irons) bystanders can easily help extricate a child from a dangerous situation.
It’s a good bit of knowledge to add to your arsenal. And if you’re asking yourself the question, when should I act? I think we can all safely agree the answer to that is immediately. If you see a child trapped in a hot car with the windows rolled up, either the parent has forgotten and will be overjoyed that you helped – or they simply don’t understand how dangerous it is to leave a child in a hot car alone, and need someone to step in and be the adult.
This article was originally published on