Mich. Mom Accidentally Locked Baby in Hot Car — and 911 Refused to Send Help
A Michigan mother is making headlines for breaking into her own car to save her baby after a 911 dispatcher refused to send emergency responders out to help the child.
Last Saturday, Lacey Guyton and her 2-month-old daughter, Raina, were visiting Guyton's grandmother in Waterford, she wrote in a Facebook status posted Tuesday. While getting ready to head back home, Guyton put Raina into her car seat and also put a diaper bag in the car, then shut the door. As Guyton walked around to the driver's seat she heard the doors of her Dodge minivan lock.
That's when she realized her keys were inside the diaper bag beside her daughter. While she had the fob key, the minivan's doors would still not open.
“My heart sank,” Guyton wrote.
According to CBS This Morning, temperatures in the area reached 84 degrees on Saturday.
Worried for her baby, Guyton had her grandmother call 911 while she grabbed a chunk of asphalt and tried to smash a window. It didn't break. Her grandfather gave her a window breaker but she was unable to break the glass.
Meanwhile, as Raina cried inside the vehicle, the 911 dispatcher told Guyton's grandmother that the police department does not send anyone to break windows or unlock vehicles and therefore she could not help, Guyton wrote. Instead, the dispatcher offered to give her the number to a towing company.
“I didn't have time to wait for a tow company as my baby is screaming and getting hotter in the car,” Guyton wrote on Facebook. “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.”
Again, the dispatcher said she would not send anyone but she could transfer Guyton to a local towing company. Feeling defeated, Guyton decided to ask the towing company to come while she tried to break the glass.
Then, Guyton noticed that her little girl had stopped crying and was starting to close her eyes.
“At this point I didn't know if she was going to sleep or if my baby was dying,” Guyton wrote. “Realizing no emergency help is coming to save my baby was the worst feeling in the world.”
Frantic, Guyton ran to the back of the minivan and hit the back windshield hard. On the second attempt, the glass shattered and she was able to get inside and rescue Raina.
“I've never felt more relieved,” Guyton wrote. “It was the most traumatic 15 minutes of my entire life and we are so thankful our daughter is okay.”
Twelve minutes after Guyton had rescued Raina, personnel from the towing company arrived, she wrote.
Waterford Police Chief Scott Underwood called Guyton to apologize and on Wednesday released a statement to ABC News:
“While it is true we do not normally respond when people lock their keys in their vehicle and we do offer to contact a wrecker service for them, this is a completely different situation. We should have responded in this case and we should respond in any similar case when there is a concern for the health, safety or welfare of any person, especially a young child.”
“We acknowledge our mistake and are doing everything we can to make sure we do not repeat it,” Underwood said in the statement. “We will learn from this and correct the problem.”
Waterford told Guyton the dispatcher, who has been with the dispatch call center for years, was going to receive more training.
“No one should need any training at all to know that you need to send help in that situation,” Guyton wrote.
Guyton tells PEOPLE that since the incident, Underwood came to Guyton's home to personally apologized and to offer to pay for the windshield.
Neither Waterford nor the emergency dispatcher center could not be reached for comment Friday.