Trapped in a Hot Car

Priority List for Rescue and Safety

We have all been repeatedly horrified over the past few years by the all too frequent news stories about babies, toddlers, and family pets who have suffered an agonizing death in a locked and overheated car. This should not happen. This does not have to happen.

We all need to be aware of what is going on around us and ne willing and ready to intervene whenever and wherever to save a life. We would of course want someone to do that for a member of our family. We ARE that someone for somebody else.

I am now carrying a hammer in my car so I will be prepared at any moment to assist some child or some pet in need. I hope you will do the same and spread the word.

My brother, who recently retired after 25 years as a firefighter, put all that I was feeling into the organized and prioritized format that is taught to young fire fighters. These are useful principles and if firemen use them, then so should we.


Life Safety.

Incident Stabilization.

Property Conservation.



Saving a Life

Life Safety is always first so that the goal will always be to preserve life first. This includes any measure you perform to protect your own life, and then those of any endangered citizens. An example might be to park your car sideways in the flow of traffic to block and accident before you go out into the roadway to check on injured passengers.


In this way you will not be able to be run over by on coming traffic until your car is hit first, alerting you to any oncoming danger to you own life. If you have children or other passengers in your vehicle then you need to mitigate your risk another way before performing any life saving measures.


If a person or pet (yes the fire department rescues pets and so should you) was trapped in an over heating car, then according to you incident priorities you would perform all life safety measures first, for yourself, and then for the victim.

Do This Immediately


Incident Stabilization is the second incident priority. n the given scenario if the doors are locked, immediately break the glass to unlock a locked over heating car, remove the victim and call 911.

Property Conservation is the third incident priority and should in no way be considered when performing Life Safety tasks.


Risk Management.

Risk a little to save little.

Risk a lot to save a lot.

Risk nothing for property and life that has already been lost.


Lieutenant Greg Ast

Cobb County Fire Dept.

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Comments 59 comments

The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

Has any Doctor considered - before or after jail - whether the man has any mental condition?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

There was a time when most moms left the kids (except for babies) in the car while they bought groceries because the windows were left rolled down or the kids rolled them down by hand, the cars were not locked, and children were never molested or kidnapped.

Times have changed.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

Thanks, Theresa, for reminding us to carry a hammer in the car for such instances. The news report about the 22-month-old boy who was left locked in an oven-like car all day until his death horrified me, as I'm sure it did all who read it.

Being able to remove a child or pet from an overheated vehicle BEFORE calling 911 AND the police is paramount because a few minutes might mean the difference between life and death.

A hammer goes in my car tomorrow!

Voted Up, Useful, and Awesome/Shared

Jaye


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Examiner - I am sure experts will be, maybe already have been, called in, but I haven't read anything to that effect yet.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Will - I remember those days when I was a child. By the time I had children, cities were getting more crowded and less safe. But I do remember stopping at roadside stands for fruit and vegetables and leaving my kids in the station wagon. I wouldn't even do that today. Times have changed and so much for the worse. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Jaye - It is so terrible and every time I think "surely this will never happen again and everyone will be careful." And then it happens again! The poor children and animals.... A few minutes can mean everything ....we will both be keeping hammers in our cars. Blessings! Theresa


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Great idea about the hammer! Those poor children and pets!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Phdast7.. a must read.. thank you voted useful.. and should be hub of the week


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Great information that we should all heed Theresa. I already have a hammer in the car and would be quick to use it if I saw a child or dog left in the car in the heat of day.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

What a strange world we live in.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Victoria. We just never know when.... Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Frank. Lets hope we are never confronted with this situation, but if we are, we are ready.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Jodah. We must be quick to act if need be, Glad you are already prepared. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

It can be a wonderful world, but it is also a terribly strange and tragic wolrd at the very same time. Blessings! Theresa


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

It strange that I have not heard anything in that area but other members of the family seem to have the same "disease".


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great information, Theresa....a very important read for all. Blessings always my friend.


carrie Lee Night profile image

carrie Lee Night 2 years ago from Northeast United States

Very useful hub. Thank you for caring so much for people and animals :). I think this hub will help save lives.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

BTW, Walmart (and many others) sells a keychain tool that all motorists should carry. It's main use is to escape from your own car in an emergency with a built-in seatbelt cutter and a spring loaded glass window breaker. It's better than a hammer, because if you have your keys with you, you also have the equipment to shatter the window in any other car:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Swiss-Tech-BodyGard-5-in...


sheilamyers 2 years ago

Great hub! There are too many irresponsible parents and pet owners who do this type of thing on a daily basis. I've never encountered it, but I hear it on the news all the time. If I ever saw a baby in a hot car (or a cold one in the winter because that happens), I'd do whatever it takes to get it out of there. The parents or someone else may have me arrested for attempted kidnapping or sue me for property damage, but I'm sure neither of those would stand up in court. I haven't been carrying a hammer, but I'm going to get one of those tools WillStarr mentioned.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

Wise words and excellent information here. I've heard quite a few stories about babies being left in a car. How can anyone be so stupid or thoughtless?

One incident here was when a father left his child outside in the car just to pop in to deliver something; he ended up chatting to someone, totally forgot his child was still in the car and the child died. His explanation was that his wife usually had the child so it was not his normal routine - a terrible reminder that under no circumstances should we leave any living creature in a vehicle.

Great message. Ann


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks Bill. I do hope many will read and be ready to take action. Seems like the numbers of children and pets who die in hot (or cold) cars every year just keeps rising. Take care. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you carrie. Oh, I do hope it is useful. Children and animals need our protection at all times. Take care. Theresa


aethelthryth profile image

aethelthryth 2 years ago from American Southwest

But people do need a sense of perspective. I once left my 1-year-old in the car to talk to my husband who was in a house where we had smelled natural gas leaking. I was there for about 5 minutes when some women came out of a store and saw my baby in the car and were extremely suspicious of me, because they had gone in the store an hour or so before, at which time our car had also been parked in the same place (and in the meantime I had gone home with the baby and returned). They called the police, and the policeman listened to me and decided I was telling the truth (and noticed that the car was visible from the house the whole time), but the two women apparently never did believe me. It was pretty traumatic for me, wondering if someone would decide my child would be taken away from me because I didn't want to take him in a house that smelled of natural gas.

Meanwhile, I think there are more problems with children being forgotten in cars since the laws that children cannot be in the front seat. It is real easy with a new baby who is sleeping, to forget that someone is back there, in the carseat that is so encompassing you can't even see over the edges of it.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 2 years ago from TEXAS

This IS a great article, Theresa, one everyone should read. One doesn't expect to find such a situation in one's everyday travels, but in every case in which children or pets are hurt or killed in one of them, there were surely other ordinary people like you and me in the vicinity who might have taken action to save them.

The hammer is a great idea. I equip my car with tools I anticipate needing, but hadn't thought of that one. I usually have a few mini-tools in my purse, in fact. I'll put a hammer in my car. (Heavy as my purse is, I could probably break a window in an emergency with it. :-)

But I'd caution to be careful in using whatever tool for breaking a window that glass doesn't spray or splatter and further injure anyone in the car or oneself. Fresh water in one's car for administering in such a situation would be a good thing, too, and means to administer it, especially to an infant or a pet. Another person in his car and I in mine saw a dog in the back of a pickup in over 100 degrees outside Home Depot. He had a bottle of water and was trying to give some to the dog, but it was difficult to do from a bottle. A small bowl and a glass or even a baby bottle would come in handy in a situation in which there was dehydration, too.

It would be awful to prematurely jump to the rescue in a situation which was unjustified, but it might be one of those occasions when it's better to act too hastily than to wait or 'pass' and have a child or pet seriously ill or worse. Can't really ask the 'victim' how they feel in such a situation. One would always risk being wrong, but would just have to do one's best to act appropriately and if one was mistaken, one should be quick to admit it and certainly not act accusative of an innocent person.

I'm going to check on that Walmart keychain tool Will mentioned. That sounds like a must-have.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 2 years ago from TEXAS

ps - I see Walmart also advertises an emergency hammer tool, though it's rather expensive and just any tool place sells small hammers that will do the job.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I may have to purchase a hammer now after reading your article. It is shame children have suffered do to parental neglect. Sometimes you wonder if it was an accident, but my paren'ts heart doesn't understand how one can forget a child's presence in a car.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Will, I have one of those devices you are talking about. I didn't mention it because I bought it years ago online and it was rather pricey. I figured everyone could find a hammer. But if the keychain tool is at Walmart, that is great. Thanks for letting us know. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

That's how I feel Sheila. If someone wants to come after me for trying to save a life, let them. I'll take my chance. Besides, it is always better to do too much, than too little. I am so glad will mentioned the tool. I didn't realize they were available at Walmart. We should all have one, because you never know. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Ann. This just seems to keep happening and it is so tragic. Maybe one of us will be able to save a life at some point. I certainly hope so. And your words are perfect...no living creature should be left in a vehicle. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Aethelthryth - People do need to be reasonable and maintain perspective and I am sure that was a harrowing and frustrating experience for you. And I thought about this very thing. What if I jumped in to "rescue" when there was no need to? What if I broke a window, created a scene, and the inside of the car was cool? What if I ended up being embarrassed? What if somebody sued me? What if I misjudged some poor parent?

I really did think about all these possibilities...but then I decided that I would rather "act" on behalf of a child or animal and be wrong twenty times, that not act "one time" and harm come to an innocent when I could have stopped it. I would rather be like the nosy, interfering ladies, than like so many people who are indifferent and refuse to get involved in anything.

I do think that you are right, the frequency of children being left in cars started going up after the law required that they be placed in the back seat. The law of unintended consequences, I guess. I hope you and your family are doing well. Have a Happy Fourth. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Examiner - I know what you mean about the other family members. The more I hear and read about this recent incident, the more it seems like something was terribly wrong and perhaps this was not an accidental death. Too horrible to even contemplate. :(


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Nellieanna - Good and thoughtful cautions. One does have to be careful when breaking a window and we don't want to act hastily, but we don't want to not act when a child or animal is in danger. I am so glad Wayne brought up the tool. I had no idea it was available at Walmart, of all places. I got mine some years ago through the internet and I never see it advertised any more. Hope you had a great Fourth. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Diane. If more of us are prepared and ready, maybe some of these tragic deaths can be prevented. There is a specific window breaking tool. Wayne mentioned that Walmart carries it. But a hammer or the specific tool. either one will do the trick in an emergency. Happy Fourth. Blessings. Theresa


travmaj profile image

travmaj 2 years ago from australia

So sad to contemplate leaving a child or pet trapped in a hot car. What are people thinking or not thinking? Is life so hectic and fast and day to day habitual that our children can simply be overlooked? I just can't imagine. An important message here and sadly one we must be prepared for. I hope I never have to encounter such a situation.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Oh, travmaj, I hope neither of us ever encounters such an awful thing, but if we should, I want us to be prepared. I had strong feelings about this anyway, but talking it over with my brother and then seeing what he wrote and realizing that safety professionals are very logical about these things. They have a plan, a 1, 2, and 3. I was impressed. Thanks for reading and commenting. Blessings! Theresa


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Important information at an opportune time. I see Greg's hand in this hub, which is a nice collaboration. The hammer goes into the car today!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Kathleen - I don't know why I didn't do this sooner. Every summer I am horrified at the news of some baby or puppy dying in a car. This time I wrote something and sent it to family members and then Greg responded. I was so impressed with the step by step logic and instructions that I tweaked it a little and turned it into a hub. The response has been very positive. We both have our hammers now.


Monis Mas profile image

Monis Mas 2 years ago

I can't even imagine leaving a child alone in the car, not to mention in a hot car. Great hub!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I can not for the life of me see how anyone could forget their child in the car .Thanks for writing this.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Monis - I can't imagine it either. Not even when I was the very busy mother of three small boys. Just horrible. Thanks for reading and thanks for your encouraging comments and mail. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

rebecca - You are welcome. It is just so horrifying and it keeps happening again and again. There is something terribly wrong when we are so busy and so distracted that we forget our own children. I felt like I would have a meltdown myself if I didn't write something. Thanks for commenting. Theresa


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 2 years ago from TEXAS

I recently saw a piece on TV about how to break a car window. Seems that the most vulnerable place is down in the lower right corner of the window. Breaking it there, then one shouldn't shatter it, but actually lift the entire pane out by pulling from the inside of the break. It showed the pane coming out whole. Much safe for the baby inside. Then reach in and unlock the door to remove the baby, not pulling it through the window, which will still have some sharp shards sticking up.

It also showed using a tire jack tool to break it if nothing else is available.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

I know the photos are of you and your family. They are precious and how much would have been lost if one of you had been left in a hot car. I can't imagine leaving a child in a hot car for hours on end. If our lives are that busy and stressed that we forget human beings in a car, then what does that tell us about our lifestyles? Interesting hub looking at it from the fireman's point of view. Thanks for sharing.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Very intersting hub andvoted that way plus Useful and Awesome and shared. Everyone needs to be aware of children who could be left or even pets in cars no matter the weather.

Blessings Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Nellieanna - I bought one of those tools online many years ago and I still have it, but i didn't know where to tell people to get one. Oh, I hope everyone knows to hold a towel or shirt or something in front of the window and to break the one furthest from the baby or pet. And never never should anything or any baby be pulled through the window. Important things to stress. Thank you.

Still teaching summer classes and already (week after next) they want us to start prepping for fall classes and committees. Well I am too young to retire, so on I go. :) Take care. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi suzette - I used my families' pictures hoping they would make people stop and think about their own precious little ones. I can't imagine it either and yet it happens between 25-35 times every summer...just horrible. There is something terribly wrong with the crazy busyness of our lifestyle.

BTW, I haven't had time to comment in a while, but you are just a writing machine. Impressive. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Shyron. Thank you for your encouraging comments. We do have to be aware of other people's children because tragically some adults are not looking out for their own. So sad. Take care. Theresa


imtii profile image

imtii 2 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

A very useful and interesting hub. Life is a place where people learn many things. Today i have learned something useful from you PHdast7. You are a great writer and your writings are very useful. THank your for sharing i gave it a up vote. I will visit you often.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

imtil - Thank you for your very kind and encouraging comments. Hopefully we will all be open to learning new things for as long as we shall live. Blessings!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

It horrifies and astounds me when I see children and pets in hot cars--I think people just don't realize how fast a car heats up! Thank you for shedding light on this subject!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa

I was on a family vacation in the Black Hills last month and came across a dog locked in a black SUV parked out in the sun in front of a visitors center. The dog was barking and appeared very distressed; the car windows were cranked only about an inch. Everyone walking by looked concerned but no one was doing anything. One woman said the dog had been there for over an hour. I went in and reported it to the visitors center and then called 9-1-1. An officer came right away and got the dog out of the car and gave it a bowl of water. The visitors center people must have taken some action to locate the owner because I saw one of them lead the owner out to the car to the waiting officer. I heard the owner say, "But I wasn't gone for very long," to which the officer responded, "you cannot leave a dog in a car AT ALL." The most shocking thing was that the dog had been there for an hour and I was the first person apparently to take any action.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Deborah - Thank you so much for calling 911, for doing something and saving that dog. More of us have got to act, to speak out, to intervene when necessary in order to prevent such things. Thank heavens you were there and it is a terrible shame how few people will get involved. Blessings! Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Audrey - It is horrifying. There are news stories every summer and yet people keep doing this. You are welcome and I hope all of us together can prevent such tragedies and suffering. Theresa


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 2 years ago from Texas

Very useful information. A hammer is not an often thought of toil to keep in a car. I recently read of a woman that cautions parents to keep scissors in their car because her child somehow got caught in it while she was speaking with another parent and nearly died. The more the child fought to free itself, the more the belt tightened aroynd the neck. The more the mither tried to help once she realized why the child was so quiet, the worse it got. Thankfully her friend ignored pleas to stay and help and instead ran for scissors inside the school building.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi shanmarie - I think the scissors idea is probably a very good one. I have a small tool with a razor blade in ti that will cut through a seat belt if the buckle gets jammed. I have never used it, but I like knowing its there if I need it. Thank heavens for her friend and her quick thinking.

I hope your summer has gone well. :) My teaching semester just got under way, so things are kind of crazy and busy on the college campus. Take care. :) Theresa


LoisRyan13903 profile image

LoisRyan13903 2 years ago from Upstate NY originally from Long Island

Excellent hub. There are times when this is done accidentally. I remember reading in the paper-when my older daughter was a baby-about a guy who was going to drop his son off at the baby sitter on the way to work. But he forgot that his son was in the car. By the time he found out it was too late. He was charged with negligent homicide but in his case it was a horrible mistake.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Lois -

It is a horrifying and tragic mistake when something like this happens. I can't even imagine the grief and guilt. Thank you so much for stopping to read and taking the time to comment. Blessings!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago

It good to have priorities. Thanks for setting things straight.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 22 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you poetryman. These horrible incidents of pets and even children being left in cars are just unbearable. We just all have to keep our eyes open and be willing to intervene. Thaaks for commenting. Theresa

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