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12-year-old sees toddler locked inside hot car on sweltering day and jumps into action
Ben and his mom were headed into a store to buy shoes when a baby's desperate cries stopped them in their tracks.
Irene Markianou
10.21.22

In August 2019, Oklahoma residents spent days with dangerously hot temperatures.

One of these days, the heat index was 116 degrees F, which is pretty high for anyone who walks on the street.

Unsplash - Daniela Paola Alchapar
Source:
Unsplash - Daniela Paola Alchapar

Now imagine being locked inside a car in such heat.

Sadly, a two-year-old boy was locked inside a car by his mother, outside a clothes store. The whole incident could have had a really bad ending if it wasn’t for a young pre-teen who saw the boy and rushed to help.

YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44
Source:
YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44

You see, 12-year-old Ben Theriot had just arrived at the store with his mother in order to buy a pair of new shoes when they heard a baby crying.

They looked around and saw a little boy crying for help from inside a car. They knew that they had to act quickly.

As experts explain, staying inside a car during the summer can prove deadly.

YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44
Source:
YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44

“Over 900 children died of heatstroke since 1998, because they were left or became trapped in a hot car. It’s important for everyone to understand that children are more vulnerable to heatstroke and that all hot car deaths are preventable,” NHTSA explains.

Indeed, they immediately looked for something sharp that could help them break the car’s windshield.

YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44
Source:
YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44

Ben found a ratchet strap in his mom’s car, and used this in hopes of cracking the windshield.

After a few attempts, he managed to break it and then, using part of a clothing rack from the store, he got rid of all the extra glass in order to crawl inside the car.

Thanks to his quick, smart thinking and skills, he managed to unlock the car and save the little boy.

The paramedics who arrived at the scene and checked on the toddler concluded that he had not suffered any injuries and he did not need to be taken to the hospital for extra treatment.

YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44
Source:
YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44

Other than a red face and a bit of distress, the 2-year-old boy was fine, and he could go home.

The local authorities found the mother inside the store and asked her about leaving her child inside the car on such a hot day.

The woman claimed that she believed there was another adult with him at the time, although this did not explain why she had locked the car doors.

YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44
Source:
YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44

The officers that talked with the mother said they were still not sure what had happened, but they gave her a $250 ticket under the “Forget Me Not” law.

The woman was not arrested for neglect because the child was healthy and it was her first offense. However, a Department of Human Services investigation was about to be conducted.

Pexels - Rosemary Ketchum
Source:
Pexels - Rosemary Ketchum

As for Theriot? He was hailed a hero for saving the little boy’s life, and he was presented with a Badge of Courage certificate.

Ben said he felt proud of what he did, and that he hoped anyone would have done the same in a similar situation.

YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44
Source:
YouTube - BRProud News - NBC Local 33 / Fox44

Watch the boy explain how he saved the toddler in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Irene Markianou
hi@sbly.com
Irene Markianou is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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