The tragic phenomenon of parents accidentally leaving their children in cars during the summer -- causing their child to die of heatstroke in a short time -- has gotten a lot of publicity this year. Cars can heat up very quickly, even with open windows, so law enforcement is trying to get the word out that parents have to remember not to leave their kids in the car seat when they go to work, and they should not leave their children in the car to go shopping or for any other reason.
As of mid-July, more than 16 kids in the U.S. had already died this summer from heatstroke because they were left inside hot cars, according to a release from Jersey City Medical Center. It's not only negligent parents who do this; parents of all types -- sometimes overtired, sometimes just with a lot on their mind -- can forget their child is in a rear-facing car seat and leave the baby in the back while they go into work. They may forget it's their day to stop at day care, or some other reason. Other times, parents leave their kids in the car to do errands, nor realizing how hot it can get in a short time.
This summer, the Philadelphia Police Department got publicity for sending around a harsh notice that they will smash a car window to save any child or pet they see left in a seat. An average of 38 children die per year from being left in hot cars, and any bystanders are encouraged to alert police if they see a child in a car.
Apparently, Hoboken emergency workers are following a similar policy. A woman in town got an unexpected surprise on Wednesday when she found out that emergency workers had smashed her window (see accompanying photo) to save...a doll.
According to the woman's boss, who owns a small business in the mile-square city, the woman was working when a friend called her to tell her that her car had been broken into. When she called the police, they explained the situation.
The doll had been sitting in a seat.
"All they had to do was look in the window," the woman's boss, who wanted to stay anonymous, told the Hoboken Reporter on Thursday morning. "It was broad daylight. I can understand if it was the middle of the night, but it wasn't."
He also wished they had let the woman know what happened immediately. He said that when she contacted them, they told her she can try to talk to City Hall about reimbursement.
He said he understood...partly. "I certainly appreciate the response and concern from the police and EMS," he said. "Just take a couple of seconds and look in the window."
Police chief responds
On Thursday, Interim Police Chief Edelmiro Garcia would not say whether the Hoboken Police Department had an explicit policy of breaking car windows to save children, but he expressed an understanding of the circumstances that could lead to such an action.
“If you had an emergency situation and you had no other way of getting into the vehicle in a timely manner, what would you do?” he asked.
Garcia made clear that he had not seen the police report on the incident yet, but said that if the facts presented in the Reporter are accurate, he could see why officers would break a window if they believed there was an unresponsive child.
According to the National Weather Service, the New York City area hit a high temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit at around 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
See accompanying photo for what the woman's car looked like when she found it.
Want to know more about Hoboken, N.J., and Hudson County in general? Read hudsonreporter.com for more stories like this one!