It can be accidental and can happen in a blink of an eye. Even worse, leaving a child in a hot car can be fatal.
In 2017, the number of pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths hit 42. As of May 24, 2018, seven children have died in the United States due to being locked in a hot car, and summer hasn’t even officially started.
That’s why when Justin Norton heard a woman yell in June 2016, he knew he had to help quickly.
Justin Norton had just left the hospital when he heard a commotion.
It was a hot summer day in Johnson City, Tennessee when Norton, an EMT who happened to be off-duty at the time, heard a woman scream.
“I heard a woman crying,” he told WJHL. “And then I heard another lady say she was calling 911.”
He approached the woman and asked what happened.
The panicked woman informed him that she accidentally locked her grandson in her car. With the outside temperature already in the 90s, Norton had to think fast.
“Do I break the glass or do I find another way?” he recalled thinking.
As soon as he learned a child was locked in the car, he searched for a way to get the kid out.
One of the windows in the car was rolled down, but not far enough for someone to reach inside and open the door.
Norton had to find another way. He broke off one of the car’s windshield wipers and slid it inside the cracked window and was able to open the door.
The off-duty EMT used the car’s windshield wiper to open the door.
Thankfully Norton’s genius hack worked and the child was freed moments later.
“I’m happy that it didn’t turn into a worse situation than what it was,” he said.
As the warmer months approach, remember to check your backseat.
A recent study from Arizona State University and the University of California San Diego showed that the interior temperature of a car left in the sun when it was 100 degrees outside reached an astonishing 116 degrees in one hour. A car left in the shade had similar results with the interior temperature reaching 100 degrees in one hour.
Researchers hope their findings will bring awareness and steps will be taken to prevent pediatric vehicular heatstroke.
You can help prevent this tragedy from happening by checking your backseat before you get out of your car and never leaving children in a car unattended.