LAVAL, Que. – A mother and a daycare teacher tried desperately to free a 15-month-old baby boy from a locked car in the scorching heat Monday after emergency services refused to send help.
The boy, named Michael, was accidentally locked in the car around 3 p.m. in front of a Laval daycare. The temperature outside was 32 C.
“Frankly, the authorities respond when there’s a cat stuck in a tree or an abandoned car in the street, but no one wants to come when it’s for a baby in danger,” said Josee Lefebvre, who teaches at the daycare.
The child's mother, Chantal Desrosiers, had come to pick up her son but accidentally locked him in her Ford Escape with the keys still inside.
When Desrosiers panicked and went to the daycare to get help, Lefebvre said she immediately called a taxi because drivers usually have equipment to open locked doors. The operator put her on hold, which she considers unacceptable.
She hung up and called 911, still in a state of panic.
“The operator told me that for them, this wasn’t an emergency, that they don’t send the police for this,” the teacher explained.
Police in the city stopped opening locked car doors about 10 years ago.
“Even if they didn’t send police officers, they could have kept me on the line to guide me and calm me down,” Lefebvre added.
In the end, little Michael was only locked in the car for about 10 minutes before Lefebvre’s husband arrived with a hammer and a blanket and broke one of the rear windows.
A Laval police spokesman, Franco di Genova, admitted the 911 operator should have kept Lefebvre on the line until the problem was solved.
A supervisor from 911 services also contacted Lefebvre and confirmed the operator should have stayed on the line.
After he was freed from the car, baby Michael spent a few minutes enjoying some air conditioning before going home.