Well, I am still shaking over what happened to Miss Priss and I this early evening. We were about to head home after a late afternoon at the local pool. I was a bit annoyed, because Miss Priss decided to walk/fall back into the baby pool, right after I got her into a clean, dry dress and diaper.
I frantically shouted at a stranger walking out with her children, asking if I could use her phone. She did not have one on her, and looked rather confused until I gasped out what just happened, and explained my phone was in the car. Luckily, my friend walked out right at that moment. I borrowed her cell phone and called the car dealership to bring me my spare, as they had possession of it. They said they would be on their way immediately.
Then I thought about the best-case-15-minute drive that would most likely be 30 minutes in traffic from the dealership to the pool. I called Pop-A-Lock, on the stranger lady's advice. Their wait was an hour. They said to call 911. Luckily a friend who is a doctor rolled up at that moment, and instructed me to do the same. I took the advice.
I paced and watched Miss Priss grow increasingly hot, while my panic grew in equal measure. The presence of the doctor friend reassured me enormously (even though he is a gynecological oncologist) . He conferred with another man on breaking windows with hammers, and the other man fetched ice and the lifeguard for when the fire department arrived and got her out.
At this point I have a rather large contingent of friends around me, which was soooo wonderful. I tried to remain calm, and not recall all the horror stories I've heard about this very thing. Other moms shared stories about the same thing happening to them. We counted my good fortune that I was at a crowded pool with lots of friends and help, and the fact that Miss Priss was sopping wet to help keep her body temperature down. I have no idea what the temperature in the car was, but I am sure it was close to triple digits if not higher.
After about 10 minutes (the road where the pool lies is closed and they had a tough time getting there), the fire truck arrived. At this point, I realized what a scene I had created. Firetruck pulls up in the presence of a large group of children? All eyes on you for sure! Anyway, the firemen used their tool to crack the window (at which point I could take a breath), then unlock the car. I jumped from the front seat to the back, and yanked my sobbing, hot, sweating child out of the car. Thanking the firemen, the doctor and I hurried back to the baby pool, where we sat, and rubbed ice on my bawling child. Popsicles were delivered by other friends, much to her delight. She gradually cooled down to a normal body temperature, and with the lifeguard and doctor's blessing, and ventured back to the car to go home.
I must admit, I was downright terrified to put her back in the car. I was relatively calm the whole time, but I am still shaking now that it is over. I wanted to share this with y'all, especially since it had a happy ending. I still don't know how the doors locked- if something in my bag hit the keys, computer malfunction, or some other unlucky stroke.
So here is what I should have done, and will do in the future.
1. Keep my windows cracked whenever I leave my car. This would have solved a lot of the immediacy of the issue, and she would not be trapped in a sauna with limited supply of oxygen.
2. Keep my keys in my pocket (which I never have) or place them on the roof (which is my normal routine).
3. Keep a couple spares in very close locations including ones other than my house (which was locked up, with an out of town husband).
4. Before calling Triple A, a locksmith, or anything else that will take longer than 7 minutes, call 911. The firemen were amazing, and there in a jiffy. Since they have emergency training, it is a lot better to have a fireman unlock your hot child, than a Pop-A-lock guy. No offense to locksmiths of any kind, but 911 will be my first call if this ever happens again.
Here is a terrifying/helpful article that details other ways to prevent car heatstroke- it is most likely when the child is asleep and forgotten in the backseat.
Now, I am off to drink a glass (or eight) of wine, calm down, and prep for 15 kindergarteners and VBS in the morning! At least I will have no time to dwell on scary situations in the past tomorrow!