Image source: ABC News video screenshot
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A Michigan mother inadvertently locked her infant in the car while loading the child and her supplies up on Saturday. When she called emergency services for assistance in freeing the infant from the rising heat in the vehicle, she was told "no."
What are the details?
Lacey Guyton, 25, was leaving her grandmother's home in Waterford, Michigan, when she realized that her car keys were in her 2-month-old daughter's diaper bag — which Guyton had promptly loaded into her vehicle after securing her daughter in a car seat.
Guyton's stomach dropped when she heard the car's auto-locks deploy as she was circling the car to get into the driver's seat. Guyton told ABC News that she had another key fob on her, but it refused to work when she tried to unlock the vehicle.
As Guyton unsuccessfully attempted to smash one of the car's windows with a chunk of asphalt, her grandmother phoned 911.
Guyton's grandmother told dispatchers that there was an infant locked in the car, and the dispatcher reportedly responded that the emergency services department doesn't answer to such calls of unlocking vehicles or breaking windows. The dispatcher, instead, reportedly offered to send a towing company to the scene.
After Guyton's grandmother finished up her call with the dispatcher, Guyton called emergency services herself.
When she reached a dispatcher, Guyton begged the dispatcher to send the fire department to help her smash one of the vehicle's windows. The baby, Raina, was crying and sweating by this time.
The dispatcher reportedly told Guyton, "The fire department doesn't come out for that."
After several more tries, Guyton was able to break the window, but not before her child stopped crying and had started to close her eyes.
Guyton said that she didn't know if her daughter was "dying ... or just going to sleep."
After Guyton was able to shatter the back windshield, she said she climbed in to free her daughter, who was in the car for about 15 minutes by this time.
Guyton's daughter was unharmed in the incident.
What did Guyton say about emergency services' refusal to respond?
Guyton said that she doesn't place blame on Waterford police or the fire department for their lack of response.
"They didn't even have a chance to come," she said, alluding to the inaction of the dispatcher.
"It was the worst day of my life," Guyton added. "It's the most helpless feeling ... the dispatchers, their job is essentially one of the most important ... they are like the lifeline between someone potentially dying and people that are going to go save them. So it's not something to take lightly."
Guyton explained that protocol for these types of incidents — whatever that may be — needs to change.
"The protocol in police departments, I think, should be evaluated," she said. "If somebody calls in distress with a child in the car then somebody needs to be sent immediately."
What was the official response?
Waterford Police Chief Scott Underwood apologized for the incident, noting that the department absolutely should have responded to Guyton's multiple calls for help.
"While it is true we do not normally respond when people lock their keys in their vehicle and we do offer to contact a wrecker service for them, this is a completely different situation," Underwood said on Wednesday. "We should have responded in this case and we should respond in any similar case when there is a concern for the health, safety or welfare of any person, especially a young child.
"We acknowledge our mistake and are doing everything we can to make sure we do not repeat it. We will learn from this and correct the problem," Underwood added.
A department spokesperson said that the dispatcher, who took the call, has not been to work since the incident. The department plans to address the situation with the dispatcher through uptraining and disciplinary action.
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