Whenever the temperature rises, we really, really dread hearing awful stories about babies being left in hot cars for long periods of time – because we know just how tragically it can end ?
And we were shocked to hear of it happening here in the UK during the heatwave, in Birmingham.
A shopper named Jenna found a baby had been left in a car in 31-degree weather, for over 30 minutes, in the car park of her local ASDA.
As she felt she had no other option, Jenna took initiative and decided to break into the car via the boot to get the baby out.
Fortunately, in this case, the baby was OK, but did have to be checked over in hospital.
Is it OK to rescue a baby from a hot car?
It’s an impossible situation to find yourself in, isn’t it? And we’d never suggest doing anything illegal in anything other than a life-threatening emergency.
But we would say: a baby trapped in a hot car for a long time, with no way of knowing when the car’s owner will return, is a life-threatening emergency – and if we were the mum who’d done it by accident, we’d be eternally grateful to the stranger who did their best to help out.
When you first see a baby trapped in a hot car, you should make an effort to find the car’s owner, and contact 999.
We should be clear: we’re obviously not talking about those nip-out-the-car-for-2-mins moments we’ve all grappled with, as they’re a different matter altogether.
We’re talking about situations where it’s obvious a baby has been forgotten, or left, for a significant period of time, in the back of a car.
We’d say that, if you can, you should wait by the car until help arrives.
Why it’s so dangerous for babies to be trapped in hot cars
Babies have much poorer thermoregulation than adults do. They need to constantly be losing their heat, not overheating.
Overheating is generally avoided by cool air, breathing and staying out of direct sunlight.
Those are 3 things a baby doesn’t have, or can’t do, if they’ve been left alone in a hot, stuffy car out in the sun, for a long period of time.
Besides, sitting in a hot car is no good for grown-ups, either.
Just watch this video of a US reporter who traps herself in a hot car for a long period of time, which demonstrates just how truly dangerous it can be:
Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it? Again, we’re so glad the baby in Jenna’s situation turned out to be OK.
Images: Getty Images