SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Missouri health care worker acted swiftly to save a 10-month-old boy in a hot car when the baby’s mother accidentally shut her car door without her keys, locking her child inside the vehicle.
Jackie Muenks, who is a radiology manager at the Martin Center in Springfield, climbed through a broken car window to save the boy, KOLR-TV reported.
“I had an employee come running into the lobby,” Muenks said about the July 14 incident. “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.”
According to a Facebook post by CoxHealth, the company that owns the Martin Center, a police officer arrived at the scene and was able to break the passenger side window. But the button to unlock the vehicle was not working.
“Kids can overheat three to five times faster than an adult,” Luke Spain, the injury prevention coordinator for CoxHealth, told KOLR. “We can see temperatures increase 15 degrees in just 10 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.”
“Unfortunately, the car would not unlock from just reaching in and trying to unlock,” Muenks told the television station. “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.”
Muenks unbuckled the baby and handed him to his mother, who in turn gave the child to Marilyn Davis, a nurse at the facility, KOLR reported. Davis ran the child into the building to begin cooling him off, according to the hospital’s Facebook page.
“At that point, I knew time was critical because of the heat -- I just acted on instinct and didn’t even hesitate,” Muenks said in the Facebook post. “I knew every minute that passed was potentially dangerous, and we needed to get this child into air conditioning.”
Muenks said employees used cool cloths to help relieve the baby from the heat, KOLR reported. Spain suggested that persons should call 911 immediately if they see a child in a hot car.
“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 told KOLR. “Urge them to try and get out of the vehicle.”
“I am so blessed to work with such a great group of compassionate individuals,” Muenks wrote in a comment to CoxHealth’s Facebook post. “I know that each one of them would have done the very same thing to save this sweet little boy and his scared mother. I am just glad we were all there to help them. Stay cool out there, everyone.”
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