Bystanders Break Windows to Free Kids Trapped Inside Hot Car

A bunch of folks in a Texas parking lot straight smashed the windows of a Jeep after noticing two children left inside, sweltering in the heat. Welcome to the summer of Americans breaking into cars because we all read that horrible Washington Post article and nope, not on my watch.

It went down Monday outside a strip mall in Katy Texas, according to KHOU (via the Daily Mail). Gabriel Del Valle, who captured video of the rescue, told reporters he stepped outside when he heard the two children: "The kids were in there crying," he said. "I mean you would understand. It's real hot."

"Even a dog can die so imagine a person," he added.

After several minutes trying to get inside, someone took a hammer to the back window. As you can see from the video, even then the smallest of the bunch had to clamber inside the car to get the child safety locks open.

Shortly afterward, the mother came running. She said she'd left them outside "temporarily"—so she could get a haircut. (So not exactly the I'll-be-back-in-five-minutes free-range child-rearing scenario, here.) After she admitted it was a mistake and plead with the group, they agreed not to call the cops.

It feels like this is the year everybody begins watching cars like a hawk, just in case somebody's forgotten (or, worse, deliberately left) their kid stuck inside for life-threatening stretches of time. After a string of high-profile deaths like that horrible case in Atlanta, Americans are hyper-aware that sometimes terrible accidents happen. Tennessee recently legalized breaking into a hot car if you have a "good faith belief" a child will suffer "harm if not immediately removed from the vehicle," according to NBC News—though you're supposed to call the cops first.

The problem is, bystanders can't always tell which kids have been tragically forgotten, which kids have been fecklessly abandoned and which kids are simply parked for five minutes while mom runs inside the post office. It's pretty open-and-shut if you spot a nine-month-old buckled into a car seat in the hinterlands of an office building parking lot. But what about a five-year-old waiting just outside a supermarket? What's the appropriate wait-and-see period? What about the Shanesha Taylors of the world?

Anyway, this is your regular reminder that it's best not to leave your little kids alone in the car in the heat, and to hell with that lady for not simply delaying her haircut until she could find a babysitter.

Photo via Gina Buliga/Shutterstock.