911 dispatcher hangs up on mom calling about her baby locked in hot car

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NEW TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida baby accidentally got trapped inside a hot car. His mother says she got a surprising answer when she called 911 for help.

Ten-month-old Jack likes to play with just about anything he can get his hands on, especially car keys.  On Saturday when his mom put him in his car seat and closed the car door in order to secure their shopping cart.

“And in those three seconds when I was moving the cart he hit the lock button.” said Shana Dees.

The black Acura wasn’t running and temperatures were nearing triple digits. Panicked, she begged a passerby for a phone and called police. Only, the dispatcher didn’t send help.

“They won’t be able to kind of gain access to the car unless the child is in some sort of distress.” said the 911 Dispatcher.

Then, the dispatcher just ends the call.

“The dispatcher absolutely made a mistake, this is not the way we do business.” said Laura McElroy of the Tampa Police Dept.

Eight minutes went by before an off duty TPD officer made a second call to 911. Before police could get there another Good Samaritan broke the car’s left passenger window with a wrench.


  • sharon

    Need to keep a second set of keys on you or buy a vehicle with a keypad entry. Regardless, dispatcher did the wrong thing!

  • Tonya

    I myself as a good mother would have broken the window myself ….no call needed …911 is for things you can’t handle on your own …..but if some dumb witted mother did have to have instructions yes the dispatcher was in the wrong …..

    • Amber

      Not all mothers can be so “good” like you. The average person panics or does not know how to respond. Most people do need further instructions. Being so judgmental of another parent only causes more negativity. Being a good parent has nothing to do with how you react in a dangerous, potentially life threatening situation.

    • Mike

      Tonya, please tell us how you would have broken the window. I’m a guy and I don’t believe I can break a car window with my bare hands. The only thing this lady had near her was a shopping cart and that would be difficult to swing at a window. And she couldn’t walk away to find a weapon without risking being arrested for leaving a child behind in a car. So my first course of action would have been to make a call for help and then get people to help me find a “weapon” to break the window. If you have a better idea, please enligthen us because this can happen to any parent.

  • youngmom

    Why didn’t she have the keys anyway!! And if she put him in the car why weren’t the doors left open if he was in his seat! No I don’t believe the dispatcher was right but if you think about it I don’t know who would do such things.

    • Kat

      Maybe the baby saw them and pulled them out of her pocket or something when she leaned in to fasten him in the car seat. Maybe they fell from her purse and the baby picked them up. Who knows? Certainly not you. Quit assuming the worst about other people because you never really know their circumstances, only they do.

  • mommabear

    Fire or retrain the dispatcher, because their job is to help save lives. We’ve all heard enough about children dying in hot cars, so hanging up on a mom who’s trying to save her child doesn’t help. Then take all these people who are quick to judge this mom, put them in a stressful, life threatening situation, and see what they do. “Before you remove the speck from your brother’s eye, first remove the log from your own eye.”

  • jim

    dipatcher need more training, sensativity mostly..an unpaid month on the street and closer supervision when he/she get back on the job.

  • Teresa

    A good mother does make mistakes. You live and learn. Until you are put in her shoes, you should not judge her. Shame on you and fire the 911 operator.

  • Dakota

    Okay, so first of there is a lot of different RED FLAGS that the mother flew in my head along with the dispatcher. So first of I would like to know why u would put ur ten month old child, Jack, in a vehicle by himself to begin with on a supposedly three digit degree day ( WHICH MEANS U DONT HAVE TO BE A WEATHER MAN TO FIGURE OUT THAT, THAT MEANS HOTTER THAT 100°) and walk away from Jack to whom has ur vehicle’s keys let alone has the lock button on the remote that belongs to the vehicle. And not to mention u walk away from ur son that’s in the hot car and within 3 seconds the child had locked the doors and had himself lock inside his mother’s Acura. So this mother had I think did the right thing because with so many children dying in hot vehicles and the “parents” had “completely FORGOT” about there kids. But needless to say I feel as if the mother of Jack did the right thing by calling 9-1-1. One thing that threw the biggest RED FLAG in my head was the way that the dispatcher was pretty much saying that unless the 10 month old child was under some sort of distress police couldn’t do anything unless there was a reason to need to get the 10 MONTH OLD BABY out of the vehicle. . Okay so in my opinion here, I believe that who ever decided that breaking a window was the only thing that could be done to be able to unlock the vehicle to get to the baby boy well I think that they are the true hero to the little boy , Jack. I also like how a wrench was used. At least it’s good to see tools used for saving a ten month old baby boy

  • heather in pa

    Ok, when I put my kids in the car when they were that age, I couldn’t afford an air conditioned vehicle, therfore, my windows were rolled down after the child was strapped in. 22 years later, I have a vehicle with a “clicker” that unlocks the doors, as well as air conditioning. Even if I’d have a young child, I’d be sure to have those keys w the clicker in my hand for that very reason. As far as the dispatcher? He or she definitely needs to face some workplace disciplinary action, as that could’ve ended up real bad.

  • Marie

    Why do people keep allowing a baits to play with the car keys in the first place? The article stated that they are his favorite toys. Sorry mom, car keys are NOT toys. Buy him a set of toy keys. Real ones are metal and I doubt they are safe to chew on. Teach children that car keys and cars are not toys. I cringe when I see children playing with the steering wheel and dashboard controls.

  • OneMan'sOpinion

    Watched a kid shove a running vehicle into reverse while parents were strapping other kids into the back. Happened on Labor Day about 10 years ago. Apparently it’s a common ignorance for parents. Got to see a helicopter fly in for that.

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