Shoppers at a strip mall in Katy, Texas smashed open a car window Monday to free two small children
who had been left roasting in the car while their mother got a haircut.
Gabriel Del Valle, a shop owner in the strip mall, came out of his business after he heard children crying. He used his cell phone to film as several passers-by rescued them.
"The kids were in there crying," Del Valle told KHOU. "I mean, you would understand. It's real hot."
One man used a hammer to shatter the glass. The strangers pulled a distressed little boy and girl out of the vehicle. The children were unharmed. When the mother emerged from the hair salon she pleaded with bystanders not to call the police, saying she had made a terrible mistake.
The police weren't called in this case, but this mother's terrible mistake has real consequences. Vehicular heatstroke kills an average of 38 kids a year. Cars quickly heat up with no ventilation, even when the temperature outside is mild. Temperatures in Katy, Texas have been in the 90s all week.
While the children in this incident were spared, others are not so lucky. July is historically the month when the most vehicular heatstroke deaths occur. Kids and Cars, an advocacy group, is petitioning the White House to research technology that could alert parents to children in the rear seats, hoping to stem the increase in these deaths.
The group needs 100,000 signatures on its petition to ensure it is reviewed by White House staff and sent to the Department of Transportation for further analysis.