Caregivers' Question After Car Window Smashed to Save Trapped Child: Will Insurance Pay for That?

What would you do if you realized there was a small child trapped inside a car on a hot summer day? Assume the parents would be back soon, and look the other way? Call the police and wait for someone to come and look into the situation? Or, like Sarah Oropeza of Merriam, Kansas, would you take matters into your own hands and do whatever it took to rescue that toddler alone in the locked car?


Oropeza is the manager of a Famous Footwear in Merriam, Kansas, and she was working when another employee ran into the store shouting for help. The coworker had spotted a 2-year-old girl locked in a car in the parking lot, with all the windows up ... and the heat index soaring above 100 degrees. Oropeza did what we all like to think we would do in such a situation: She grabbed a tire iron and, with a group of other women, worked to beat the car window in until it was cracked enough to rescue the child inside.


The really shocking thing here, though, is not the feat of strength and bravery performed by Oropeza, but the reaction from the rescued child's caregivers (her aunt and uncle) when they arrived on the scene to find a broken car window, a terrified child, and the police waiting.

After the explanation of what had happened, their first and only question wasn't about the child's well-being; it was whether insurance would cover the damage to the car window. The police even had to go buy diapers for the child, since she was in desperate need of a change and there weren't any more on hand. The caretakers are, rather unsurprisingly, being charged with child endangerment for leaving the girl in such a predicament.

More from The Stir: This Is What 15 Minutes in a Hot Car Does to Your Toddler (VIDEO)

New parents typically get plenty of counseling on child safety, before they leave the hospital and on each subsequent doctor's visit. But maybe more can be done to evangelize the dangers of hot, enclosed cars to the general public, too -- about 40 kids die of heat-related causes while left inside vehicles each year, and many pets as well. The fact that a closed car turns into an incubator seems obvious to anyone who's burned themselves on the steering wheel after getting back into their car on a sunny day, but many people may not realize just how much higher the temperature can climb inside that miniature greenhouse than it does outside in the open air. Or at least, it's a lot easier to believe that people just don't realize the dangers of enclosed cars on hot sunny days than it is to think that some caregivers simply don't care.


Image via KCTV5 News

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