WATCH: The Heart-Stopping Race to Save a Dying Toddler Left in a Hot Car

It’s hard to imagine how it would feel to accidentally leave your little one in a car. 

But could you imagine how it would feel to be the one who discovers a child trapped in a car?

A police officer in Florida manages to record the exact moment he finds a little girl lifeless in the back of a car, including his mad dash to try and save her.

Police officer’s hot car rescue

Posted by Seminole County Sheriff Office, the footage follows Deputy Bill Dunn’s race against time to get the little girl medical attention.

Hot Car Life Saving

For the third time this year, we’re proud to spotlight one of our life-saving employees. In June Deputy Bill Dunn rescued from a hot car, a three year old girl barely clinging to life. Now that she has recovered, here’s more on why children get left behind, and some simple ways to avoid a tragedy.

Posted by Seminole County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, August 16, 2018


We first see Dunn running desperately across a car park to his police vehicle, the tot lifeless in his arms.

“I didn’t think she was alive when I got to her. I felt for a pulse, I didn’t feel a pulse,” the Deputy recalls.

He then places her in his police car, with the air conditioning up full blast. As he cautiously speeds through traffic to hospital, we can hear him talking to the little girl, attempting to rouse her back to consciousness.

“It’s okay, baby. Talk to me. You’re okay,” he says, during the frantic dash to hospital.

He carries her body to the stretcher and she disappears, as Dunn returns to his car, clearly shaken up from the rescue.

36 children die every year

The little girl survives, thanks to Dunn’s quick-thinking actions. “I remember one thing distinctively. Putting my hand on her chest and feeling her heart racing. That was a good thing,” he says.

But many children don’t have a police officer to rescue them in time. In America, where the video was taken, 36 children die in a similar situation every single year.

In Australia, the numbers are just as terrible. Motoring body NRMA rescued almost 3,800 children and pets from cars in 2017. And that was in New South Wales alone. Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia all report similar numbers.

How does this happen?

Time and time again we hear stories about children being trapped in hot cars. And we are left wondering HOW? How does this type of thing keep happening?

Sometimes, it is a freak accident, such as this instance, where an eight-year-old boy hid in the back of his mum’s car as a practical joke.

In other instances, it is a drug or alcohol problem, such as this concerning case just days ago where a baby was rescued from a hot car after her parents overdosed on heroin on the side of the road (image below).

hot car rescue baby heroin
Image source: Facebook

But most of the time, it is simply a matter of forgetting that your child is there. According to Bob Kealing from Seminole County Sheriff Office,

[These cases] often start with some sort of disruption in the family routine. Mum has overslept. Dad is late for work. In their minds they think the child is safe at home or at daycare. But the reality is something far worse.” 

As Australia gears up for another hot summer, remember to always double check the back seat of the car, never let your kids play with your car keys and avoid distractions when loading the car. Stick a note on your dashboard to remind yourself when baby’s on board if you have to – and don’t be embarrassed about it. You can never be too careful!

For more car seat safety tips please see our Heatwave Safety Guide.

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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