Every year, it seems, more and more babies and toddlers get forgotten inside locked hot cars. While most of these situations do not end in tragedy, there are a shocking number of deaths as a result of this negligence – but nowhere near the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic. Although organizations pump countless money into public relations campaigns and PSAs to alert the public to the danger of babies dying in hot cars, there were 53 children killed in 2018 from heatstroke when there were far fewer children dying this horrible death just two decades before (38 children died in 1998).
The main reason that children are left in hot cars is that their parents or guardian simply forgot they were there. Although this is not a good reason for the horrible situation, it is understandable. Parents have so much on their minds. But everyone knows they should always check to make sure there is no baby left in a car seat.
Now, a twelve-year-old boy named Ben Theriot from Tulsa, Oklahoma, has earned himself the title of “hero” after he bashed in the windshield of a parked car to rescue a dying toddler who was locked inside the hot car. The incident occurred at a Tulsa-area shopping center on the hottest day of the summer in 2019.
The boy and his mother, Nikki Fields, saw the crying toddler locked in the hot car while walking up to the shopping center entrance. They were horrified. Without missing a moment, Fields’s son grabbed a ratchet strap from her vehicle, and a clothes rack from inside the store to bash open the car windshield to save the toddler from death by “Forgotten Baby Syndrome.”
After smashing through the car’s windshield, the brave twelve-year-old boy crawled through the shattered glass to get to the crying toddler and save the baby from heatstroke. At the time of the rescue, there were 34 heatstroke related deaths around the country but none in Oklahoma. The boy prevented Oklahoma from having to add a statistic to the number.
Ben Theriot proved that not everyone would stand by and let people get hurt. Because he acted quickly, he saved a toddler’s life and helped prevent a spiral of events of sorrow from unfolding.
While staging the rescue, Ben used the clothing rack to shattered the glass. When it broke, he then used the ratchet strap to “put the hook into the windshield and pulled it out.” This helped him clear enough glass from the window for him to crawl through and save the baby from heatstroke.
After he saved the baby, Fields called the police.
Fortunately, Ben had saved the baby before any irreversible damage had been done. The baby was emotionally distressed but had not experienced any physical harm.
Now Ben has been recognized as a hero and awarded the Badge of Courage certificate by Safe Kids Tulsa Area. They wanted to show that kids can help save lives, too.
What do you think about this Tulsa, Oklahoma boy’s heroism?