Lacey Guyton was visiting her grandparents in Waterford, Michigan, when a minor disaster struck: while putting her child in her car seat, she closed the car door to enter the driver’s seat, not realizing the car keys were in her baby bag with the baby inside the car.
The car was programmed to lock when the car keys are inside and the doors are closed, which meant Guyton was locked out of the car on a hot summer day, with her baby alone inside.
She immediately picked up a piece of asphalt and tried to bash her way into the side window with no luck. He grandfather had given her a window breaker which was similarly unhelpful. When neither of these things worked, she called 911, but the operator told her no help was coming:
The 911 dispatcher told my grandma to call a tow company because they don’t send anyone out to unlock cars or break windows… I didn’t have time to wait for a tow company as my baby is screaming and getting hotter in the car.
This is horrifying! A mom accidently locked her baby (along with her car keys) in her car on a hot day and when she called 911 for help, they refused to send anyone to break into her car. https://t.co/sHZWbxVSjz
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) August 22, 2018
Knowing there wasn’t time to wait for a tow company, Guyton called 911 again:
So I called 911 back and told her again my 2 month old is locked in a hot car and asked her to PLEASE send a fire rescue just to smash my window. I didn’t care to wait for someone to unlock the door obviously I just wanted my windows smashed and my baby out. Again she told me she would transfer me to a tow company because they don’t send anyone out to break windows or unlock cars.
— Bernardini Travel (@joanbernardini) August 23, 2018
Guyton ordered a tow company, but her baby was starting to fall into a state of unconsciousness:
…she stopped crying and was starting to close her eyes and at this point I didn’t know if she was going to sleep or if my baby was dying.
A baby is not a set of keys! "The Waterford Police Department said in a statement to CBS News that they 'do not normally respond when people lock their keys in their vehicle' but 'we should have responded in this case…'" https://t.co/87wZap7HZi
— Parenting Patch (@ParentingPatch) August 23, 2018
Afraid for her baby’s life, Guyton ran to the back windshield and managed to break it after two hard swings. She climbed through the window and was able to get her child out of the car!
Normally I don’t post about our personal lives especially with this already being hard to share, but since it’ll be on…
The tow company arrived nearly 15 minutes later—time that might have made the difference between life and death for Guyton’s baby.
According to Waterford police Chief Scott Underwood, the dispatcher involved has been working in this capacity for years and should have known better. Underwood said that she would be disciplined and trained on how to handle calls like this in the… https://t.co/dnBSrZSQ9F
— Barbara Jean Dills (@barbarajean1951) August 23, 2018
The Waterford chief of police personally apologized to Guyton, saying:
It’s a common sense issue.You call 911, you expect for somebody to come and give you help and we certainly should have gone and done that.
Most disgraceful thing I've ever heard nine-one-one operator in Waterford Michigan refuse to render Aid to a baby in a car they were going to charge the mother in would not send an officer out WTF! ?
— Larry Ahee (@soldier1953) August 22, 2018
The call dispatcher will “face disciplinary action,” according to the chief, and all 911 dispatchers will receive additional training to help them handle calls like Guyton’s. While Guyton appreciates the effort, her frustrations aren’t with the training process:
It’s not something that needs any training to know it’s common sense. You send help when someone is begging you to come help them save their child out of a hot car.
I'm pretty sure if dispatch had notified any branch of first response, they'd drop what they were doing to rescue a child in a locked, hot car. even with their own personal vehicles! https://t.co/PziWRkCNKq
— Katy ? (@glance_in) August 23, 2018
It’s a good thing Guyton knew the dangers of a locked car on a hot day, or she may have waited for the tow company to arrive instead of taking matters into her own hands. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, a locked car “can increase 20 degrees in only 10 minutes and once it reaches 107, a child dies.”