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What To Do If You See A Child Alone In A Car

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The recent spate of young kids being forgotten and left for hours in hot cars is alarming, especially since, in many of the cases, the children were discovered too late to save their lives.But what if you happened across a child alone in a parked car? Would you know what to do?

Amber Rollins, director of Missouri-based education organization KidsandCars.org, says the first thing to do is to immediately call 911.

“And if that child appears to be in distress or unconscious, then you need to get them out as soon as possible," Rollins said. "If you need to break a window to get into the vehicle, breaking a window as far away from the child as possible is the best option.”   

Rollins said parents often don’t react well to being told by a stranger that they’ve endangered their child.  Best, she says, to leave that job to the authorities.

And, Rollins said, just because somebody leaves a child in the car to run into the grocery store, that doesn’t mean they’re a terrible parent.

"Often they have no idea of the danger they were putting their child in," she said.

In fact, she says, cars are very dangerous for a lot of different reasons. Kids can be killed by power windows, they can choke to death on something they found on the floor. They can knock the car into gear or open a door and fall out when the vehicle is moving. Children can even be run over an killed in their own driveways.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson @cydwjctnews.