The Water Cooler – Breaking Into a Vehicle to Save a Child or Animal

May 13, 2014 12:00 pm · 39 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

If you saw a child or an animal alone inside a vehicle on a very hot day, would you break the vehicle’s window to get them out, or would you call the police and wait for them to arrive?

Talk about it….

Triple Canopy May 13, 2014 at 12:09 PM

If the child or animal is showing signs of distress, I’d break the glass ASAP.

If the child or animal is conscious, Call it in, let dispatch know what you’re about to do, and request immediate assistance. If dispatch says go ahead and break the glass, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

EdiBirsan May 13, 2014 at 12:13 PM


Anon777 May 13, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Depends upon how long police are taking to arrive and how distressed the pet or child is inside.

Brian May 13, 2014 at 12:17 PM

100% without a doubt, I would break the window first and then call 911. I have no empathy for people who “just run in for a minute” or who go any buy booze at 9am.

Lives > Rides

Kid May 13, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Call 911 ,they will call the police and/or fire department.

Peanut Gallery May 13, 2014 at 12:27 PM

I’d break it in a heartbeat. You can replace the damn window. I have no idea how people let this occur??

Rob May 13, 2014 at 12:35 PM

yup – would break a window with no problem then call 911

Rummy May 13, 2014 at 12:39 PM

We opened the back tail;gate to let two dogs out, Got them water and waited inside and had the owner paged and called the police after he became an angry loser and threatened to bash my friends head in.
I would do it again in a heartbeat if the dog looked listless before Police arrived.
Problem is you are dealing with Mentally challenged people here, so beware.

Crankcord Doug May 13, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Neither. If a child or dog is locked into a car it probably happened for a reason.

marinemom May 13, 2014 at 12:47 PM

@Triple Canopy I agree

Mr. John May 13, 2014 at 12:50 PM

You’re putting yourself – and perhaps the child or animal – at risk when you break the window. As such, if the child or animal is not in immediate distress, waiting would be advisable. However, if I were to see this issue, I would call it in and then make sure they did not leave before the police arrived to handle the criminal.

JET May 13, 2014 at 12:53 PM

I would break the window without any hesitation…… in those kinds of situations every second counts.

Silva May 13, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Good question. I think I’m with Triple Canopy on this one.

SunnyCA May 13, 2014 at 1:04 PM

If they looked in distress I would break it immediately without batting an eyelash! If everything still looked ok I would call 911 and let them handle it, but keep an eye out until someone arrived to make sure all is still well.

Concordejet May 13, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Let face it

if it was an older model car I would first get a wired hanger and untangle it than try unlock the door with a wired hanger (if it not a power door lock) because breaking the window just might get a little bit piece of window on a child especially on the child eyes and/or skin depend on how you gonna break the window.

I would call 911 tell them what I plan to do and they may say go ahead and break the window.

The truth is that police dose not show up sometime so who is gonna hold their breath to wait for the police to show up just for the child to be in the car with a locked door and window?????

Dorothy May 13, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Call 911 and say I’m breaking the window. Also that there might be an angry person trying to kill me for doing it by the time they get there. I keep a small hammer in my glove – just in case I need to break windows.

It depends May 13, 2014 at 1:18 PM

If the child is obviously in distress, I would call 911 first, then break the glass. If the child is not obviously in distress, I would not break the window. I would probably hang around to make sure the driver returns quickly.

If we’re talking about the incident at the 7-11 posted earlier in the day, then no. It wasn’t that hot yet. The person had only run into the store for one item, probably had the car in view almost the whole time, and returned to the car quickly. The person who wrote in about that should have minded her own business. The child was not in danger. If the grandpa had carried the kid in with him, the lady probably would have snapped a photo of the kid in a diaper sitting on the counter and sent it in to Claycord so we could all complain about how terrible the man was for putting that disgusting dirty diaper on a store counter where people place food. Sometimes you just can’t win.

Gerbils May 13, 2014 at 1:29 PM

I’d like to know how everyone here knows if a dog is in distress….I think everyone’s intentions here are good, but my dog acts like an idiot if I leave her alone in the car. Are you going to break my window because my dog is barking and whining for me? I don’t care what anyone says, there ARE times when it is OK to leave an animal in the car for a short time. But, before people flip out, I never leave the dog in the car if it’s even close to 75 degrees, and even then, not in the sun.

Anonymous May 13, 2014 at 1:44 PM

@Gerbils ~ A dog in physical distress because it’s too hot inside a car does NOT run around and act like “an idiot”. I believe most people are intelligent enough to tell the difference but, if you’re truly worried, just don’t take your dog with you when there might be ANY question about whether it’s too warm outside.
While we’re at it, Mayor, please remind readers that it’s dangerous (and illegal) to place your dog in the open bed of a pick-up truck unless they’re secure in an appropriately sized crate or cross-tethered so they can’t jump/fall over the side. A neighbor was recently reminded of this lesson the hard way…..six to eight weeks of recovery for his poor puppy.

Horse n around May 13, 2014 at 2:04 PM

People don’t leave their pets in cars anymore. They bring them inside wherever they go, eg. the bank, grocery store, Target, Maceys, the doc. office. It’s the poor kids that they forget about.

jumping to conclusions May 13, 2014 at 2:08 PM

If the baby/pet was clearly in distress I’d check for an unlocked door first. If your asking me if I’d ignore a dying child/pet…that’s a dumb question.

You'll scare the sh*t out of the child May 13, 2014 at 2:33 PM

A child, seeing someone trying to break into his car, is likely to start having a fit, which then will create a scene you won’t want to be part of. Better to call the PD or fire department, let them decide if it is an emergency situation.

VikingPrincess May 13, 2014 at 3:07 PM

I had this happen. The dog was not in distress and the car was parked in front of stores. I first checked to see if the owner is nearby and put the word out to local nearby stores. The owner showed up.
In any case, I would first check to see if the door opens. If not, and an animal and I made an attempt to yell out for owner without response I would call authorities if not in distress. If in distress or passed out I would start breaking window while calling.
If a child and door does not open I would call out. If child can move about or respond I would see if able to open door herself/himself.
If not or is an infant I would call authorities while breaking window.

biggus thinkus May 13, 2014 at 3:17 PM

i’ve actually had to deal with both.
first was an old man (mid-80’s easy) whom was left in a little pickup in the safeway parking lot with the windows cracked. he didn’t look to skippy, so i went straight to the express manager and let her know to get out there ASAP, she did, as the guy was leaving.
other was a dog in a small junker with the windows up, lying on his side panting. i broke the window, pulled him out, and some nice folks (that thought i was breaking into the car) saw what was going on and gave it water. owner came back, …”miffed” about his window, and let us know he was upset with me. but, prior to pd showing, he took doggie in tow and scooted.

VikingPrincess May 13, 2014 at 3:37 PM

The idea is to bring attention to the situation and get as many people and witnessess involved. There is usually someone within earshot, even if you have to yell out ” a child is locked in a hot car ! Help! Call 911″ or whatever…for someone else to call or possibly inform the owner. Never know.

tired of taxes May 13, 2014 at 3:56 PM

I would assess the situation:
– check the temp (temp outside and guess the temp inside; add a few degrees if car is not in the shade)
– check if the child shows signs of lethargy/heat exhaustion
– wait 5-10 minutes if child’s state permits it
– then call 911
– break the car window only if 911 operator asks me to

But if the child is slumped in the seat, I’d knock on the window to try to wake up the kid then if he/she is not responding, I’d probably break the car window as I’m calling 911.

If it were an animal in the car, I’d probably involve someone working in an establishment nearby.

If it were an iPhone, I’d smash the window and take home the poor neglected iPhone left out in the scorching sun.

J May 13, 2014 at 4:00 PM

This actually happened. Our toddler son strapped in his seat hit the lock button on the doors, while the wife was paying for gas. Keys in the ignition. Called 911 and the fire dept arrived ultra fast and used a slim jim to open the door. No damage done. Happened within city limits of Concord. Needless to say we learned a few lessons.

I’d call 911 for the authorities, and if the person was in distress I’d ask 911 for advice. Same for an animal.

I would break the window May 13, 2014 at 4:23 PM

rescue the poor victim, wait for the responsible scum bag, bread his/her nose.

Anyone that narcissistic deserves a broken nose.

Atticus Thraxx May 13, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Any excuse I get to smash someone’s window with just cause is all I need. I might do the nearby cars too, just in case there’s another trapped victim.

@#30---I would break the window May 13, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Break someone’s nose, and you get arrested for battery, then a big lawsuit.

I have left my kid in the car with the windows rolled down... May 13, 2014 at 6:47 PM

…and always in my sight when I am running a quickie to an ATM or 7/11. If I see someone approach my kid sitting in the car, regardless of being a nosy dudley do-right “concerned citizen” or a legit threat, that person is at risk of being in a follow up Claycord article about a random assault in the middle of a parking lot. I don’t know who you are and you think you’re going to smash my car and touch my kid? I don’t know any parent that is going to just step aside and allow any of you get away with that.

These situations call for subtlety and tact. You people claiming to be ready to leap for a brick at the sight of a kid or animal sitting in a car, and believe you’re going to really smash that window when the scenario presents itself, better gain some perspective. This isn’t a black or white situation where you are always going to be in the right. The parent is definitely not going to see you as the hero you think you are.

anon May 13, 2014 at 9:18 PM

It is a pain to take you kid in and out of the car seat each time you stop. Guess what I did it every time and I have no regrets. Stop defending stupid lazy people. You don’t ever leave a baby alone in a car. This is a crime and it is a result of being lazy.

anon May 13, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Already done this back when Diablo Foods use to be in Dana Plaza. Hot day looked for the owner in the store no one claimed ownership. Broke the window while the wife called the police. I would do it again in a heart beat.

#33 give me a break May 13, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Just take your kids with you. Are you serious leaving them at the 7-11 parking lot? Why so lazy when there is risk? And those “do holders” as you say could pose another risk of frightening them….SO JUST BRING THEM WITH YOU AND AVOID THE PROBLEM. You are obviously the huge minority here so maybe consider that you are being a moron.

anonanonagain May 13, 2014 at 10:29 PM

If their is a child left unattended in a car in sweltering heat there would be no hesitation. An animal left in the car same thing……I’ll keep a hammer in my purse just in case any moron leaves their tiny loved one in a smoldering car……

How about you give it a break 36 May 14, 2014 at 1:34 AM

Your sanctimonious hard on for telling people what to do and butting into their business is showing. If a kid can’t survive 5 minutes in a car with the windows rolled down, then the kid won’t survive anywhere. If you think this situation does not call for tact and good judgement, then I think between the two of us, I am safely not in the moron category here (being in the minority = stupid? On the brain trust known as Claycord?!? Pfffft! Right).

You go ahead though and live out your fantasy of smashing windows and grabbing other people’s kids. I’m sure that will go over really well in some parts of Concord.

ItWouldDepend May 14, 2014 at 7:03 AM

I would call 911 and follow their instructions.

#33 & #38 give me a break May 14, 2014 at 10:08 AM

I am not saying smash a window, you are totally right there. I agree that is overkill if a kid is sitting in a car for 5 minutes and not my place to damage your property (unless the kid is panting or obviously distressed from the heat). I would however go find you and tell you what a lazy POS you are….anyway…. What I mean is leaving a kid in a car alone just isn’t smart. I know this post is about “hot days” but leaving a kid in a car in any weather is not wise. You are leaving them vulnerable to anything that happens around them. My friend was alone in a car when she was 10 and some perv walked up and exposed himself to her. Guess where her mom was . . . like 30 feet away in the store “in view” but somehow mom missed it until it was too late. Think how scary that is for a kid to be alone in a car like that. I know you say you can see them, but you are sure to turn your back for a minute or two. It just is being lazy. Never separate yourself from your kids if you don’t have to.

#33 & #38 give me a break May 14, 2014 at 10:15 AM

I know this post is mostly about hot days – my point was leaving a kid in the car for any reason is not smart. You are right, nobody should break a window and snatch a kid IF there is no sign of distress. I would not. My issue comes from leaving your kid vulnerable and alone for any unnecessary reason. Case in point – a female friend of mine was left in the car “for 5 minutes” when she was about 10 years old. Her mom was very close in the store and could see through the window. A man came up and said nasty things to my friend and exposed himself. Mom didn’t notice him until it was too late. Catch my drift? You are being LAZY for no good reason. Just bring them in with you.

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