LA MESA, Calif. — Two young children were rescued from a hot car in La Mesa Thursday after witnesses got one of them to unlock the vehicle.
Firefighters responded around 12:30 p.m. to the parking lot of 5500 Grossmont Center Drive after getting a report that the children — one 4 years old and the other 9 months old — were locked inside the car, said Sonny Saghera of Heartland Fire & Rescue.
Bystanders got the older child to unlock the vehicle before rescue crews arrived, Saghera said.
“The mother of the children arrived at the car and stated she had been gone for only five minutes,” he said.
Paramedics examined the children and released them to the custody of their father, Saghera said.
It was unclear if the children’s mother was arrested.
Heartland Fire Department officials urged parents and caregivers to take precautions to prevent heatstroke incidents:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn’t show up for care as expected;
- Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat; and
- Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach.