Mom Says 911 Operator Refused to Help Her Save Toddler in Hot Car (VIDEO)

A mother is outraged after a 911 dispatcher refused to send police when her toddler locked himself inside her car on a sweltering day. Shana Dees had her 10-month-old son, Jack, inside his car seat when she turned around for a second to secure a cart that had begun to roll away. When she turned back around, Jack had managed to hit the lock button. With her cellphone, purse, and keys in the car, a frantic Shana begged a bystander to use his phone to call 911. But that's when things got even more frustrating and scary.

Shana said she told the dispatcher the situation and that she was worried that AAA would take too long to get to her, and by that time, her son could have overheated. She said she was watching him "get hotter and turn redder."

However, the 911 dispatcher told her that police wouldn't be able to gain access to her car unless her toddler was in distress and that they may smash her windows.

At that point, Shana says the person hung up. Minutes later, an off-duty officer happened by and decided to call 911 and demand action. But before cops arrived, someone else got a wrench from the store and smashed the windows.

Tampa police say the dispatcher was definitely in the wrong to end the call, and the person will be disciplined.

However, some readers are wondering why Shana didn't just smash the windows herself and dispatch with calling 911. Well, personally, you can't blame her for at least trying. Maybe they would have said, "A car will be there in 30 seconds." Smashing windows could frighten the bejesus out of a child. Of course you want to do it if you have to, but you can't blame this mom for not thinking totally clearly. You can only imagine how panicked she was.

She was probably also worried about how she would smash the windows (most of us couldn't do with bare hands), and leaving her child to go into the store. I would have preferred to call the police first and then run into the store if needed.

As for why the dispatcher didn't send a car, the person must not have been trained very well.

Would you have called 911 or just smashed your windows?


Image via ABCNews

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Robin Hartman

My young daughter slammed the door of the car with the lock button depressed and my keys were on the front seat. There was my baby strapped in the car seat. I called AAA from my friend's cell and that takes priority over all other calls so they were there within minutes. If it had been hot, I would have been panicked! How long do you have when it's hot? 

LeeshaE LeeshaE

Normally police carry a slim jim, I would assume it would be for such situations. I know back in the day in my city they would help you even if you just locked the keys in the car.

amazz... amazzonia

there was no emergency when she called, they can't respond to every crazy mother out there! she should've called either AAA or the car manufacture, and if she got no help, just smash a window, and btw how the hell a 10 month old can lock himself in a car?

Taisie Taisie

This exact type of incident is why Onstar is so awesome. They could have remotely unlocked her car door, with no window smashing involved, provided that her car can be remotely unlocked, as in, available for her make and model of vehicle.

Anyhoo, all's well that ends well, as they say. Glad to hear the little one is okie, and shame on the dispatcher for being such a dink, anytime 911 gets a call like that they should at least send an officer out to assess the situation!

nonmember avatar scott

Slimjims will not work on most cars anymore. If you really need in you use a lock-out toolkit. All tow-trucks carry them and you can get into 99% of cars in less than 30 sec's. I carry one and use it all the time to help people out. If you need in call a tow truck, its cheaper than a locksmith.

The cops around here also carry the lock out toolkit, and they respond to "kids locked in car" as a priority call(lights and siren).

the4m... the4mutts

Wow, how shitty of them! They would be singing a different tune if that baby died. Maybe she COULDN'T break the window. I mean, I've never broken a car window, but I can't imagine that doing it bare handed is something that most people can do without breaking their hand.

I mean, at the VERY least, they could have dispatched the fire dept/emts to check the baby out to make sure he was okay.

IKnow... IKnow0101

I think I would have called 911 also. My first thought wouldn't be call the car manufacturer or even a tow truck. All that takes time. In sn emergency you call 911 and they should be calm enough to walk you through the situation. Also she said during this time people were trying to finf something to break the window with.

youth... youthfulsoul

My husband was in this same situation when my daughter was 2 yrs old and they were at the car wash. He called me. I said break the window. He did. The end.

Also have had my own experience with an a hole 911 operator. One of which also hung up in me. Luckily for me an ambulance still showed up and insisted they take me to the hospital due to having orthostatic hypotension (out of the blue). I literally could not sit up without racing heart and passing out. 911 operator could care less. That was fun. 

Kathleen McGarry Martell

who has the car manufacturer # in their cell phone? Give me a break! 911 was the way to go.

nonmember avatar Allison

I feel like she did the right thing. In a situation like this who would really think, "oh I'll call the manufacturer, hmm let me look for my car'sVIN number...." I'm sorry AAA would have not cross my mind either I would have been panicked because I was experiencing an emergency and so I would have called emergency services just like this mom did.

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