SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Jackie Muenks, a Radiology Manager at the Martin Center, climbed through a broken car window to save a ten-month-old from a hot car.
Muenks’ said this all happened on July 14 just before her shift ended.
“I had an employee come running into the lobby,” Muenks said. “He came and got me and said, ‘I need some help. There’s a woman whose child is trapped in the car.’ So I ran out and quickly determined that we had a pretty rough situation. [The] child had been in there for quite a while at that point and was very upset [and] scared.”
CoxHealth said a mom, who was parked at the Martin Center, shut her car door with the keys in it. The hospital said she unintentionally left her ten-month-old locked in the backseat.
During these extreme temperatures, a car without air conditioning can get hot very quickly.
“Kids can overheat three to five times faster than an adult,” Injury Prevention Coordinator Luke Spain said. “We can see temperatures increase 15 degrees in just ten minutes. It doesn’t have to be 100 degrees outside to have extreme temperatures like that. Just a simple situation where it’s 70 or 80 degrees outside and an hour later it’s 100 degrees inside the vehicle.”
Muenks said by the time she got outside, she believed the baby had been in the car for ten minutes. She then called 911. When officers arrived, they decided to break open one of the windows on the car.
“Unfortunately, the car would not unlock from just reaching in and trying to unlock,” Muenks said. “I said, I’m just going to climb in. I just hiked my leg and started crawling in. I think the officer just was there and he just helped me and I got back there and behind the seat.”
From there, Muenks handed the baby off to one of the nurses at the Martin Center. That nurse quickly brought the baby inside to cool down.
“Ironically enough, I had just a few days before that seen a report on children in this heat as it’s going across the country,” Muenks said. “They were doing a story, and I just happened to listen in. I just remembered immediately that time is of the essence and you’ve got to get to them. These little guys heat up very fast.”
Muenks said employees used cool cloths to help relieve the infant from the heat. Spain suggests if you see a baby in a hot car, you should call 911 immediately.
“If you’re able to see that the child is OK, try to get the child to unlock the door to get out of the vehicle,” Spain said. “Urge them to try and get out of the vehicle.”