Savannah-Metro Police Officer Angelea Mercer found herself with one responsibility last Tuesday when answering a 9-1-1 call. And it was to save a baby locked inside a a hot car.
“The baby was crying,” she tells us. “I could hear that and opened the back door and immediately grabbed him out of the vehicle and when I did I could just feel the heat inside that car,” she told us.
She said the six month old was “very hot, his skin was red and you could tell that he was overheated.”
Several people visiting a salvage yard found the baby in distress inside the locked vehicle. It was about 80 degrees outside but Mercer says it’s often 20 to 25 degrees hotter inside a vehicle. “And we actually found it to be about an hour to an hour an 15 minutes that he was locked in the car,” she told us.
The officer says the window was cracked open slightly and people had popped the lock and wanted to splash a bottle of water on the baby. “But I explained to them that they could not do that because it would put the child into shock, that we wanted to cool him down slowly and not overwhelm his body.”
Mercer is a former army medic and also worked in the emergency department at Memorial Health before joining the police force a year ago. She found some baby wipes in the car and put some water on the cloths and then began rubbing the back of the baby’s neck as well as other areas including the baby’s feet. She says that allowed moisture to enter the body but slowly. When EMS arrived, Mercer said the little one was “doing pretty well” and then they continued the recovery process inside a cooled ambulance. We’re told the baby is doing all right.
The child’s great grandfather, 67 year old Joe Palmer, is facing charges of cruelty to children and felony neglect.
Mercer says the man left the child to look for items in the salvage yard. “It was very horrifying for me to arrive and see this,” she told me. “Palmer came back about 20 to 25 minutes after I was already on scene with the child and when he did arrive, he didn’t seemed concerned about what happened. He didn’t understand the severity of the issue that we had at hand.”
Mercer says the lesson for all is that it’s “not okay to ever leave your child unattended in a vehicle. It’s unacceptable because you never know what is going to happen in that short period of time.”
Despite her medical training, Mercer acknowledged that she knew what was at stake here. “It was definitely scary at first but I think i handled it well and in the end the child is okay and he is alive.”