OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Two young children are alive today thanks to the swift actions of a stranger.
The kids, who are just 2-years-old, were trapped in a car in the blistering heat when that Good Samaritan stepped in.
The dangerous afternoon heat led to a dire situation for two 2-year-olds left alone in a store parking lot near I-240 and Santa Fe on Sunday.
“This was between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.,” said MSgt. Gary Knight, with the Oklahoma City Police Department. “So it’s heat of the day, something you never want to do, leave small children in a car like that completely unattended.”
Thankfully, a stranger noticed the kids, who were unresponsive, buckled in their car seats. The stranger climbed in through the sunroof to save them.
“The children were lethargic,” Knight said. “Security there showed up very quickly, put the kids in a cool car, got them water, got them into an air-conditioned environment.”
Shortly after, their mother, Elizabeta Babb, came out of the store, asking what was happening. She said she’d only left the children for five minutes.
But police say surveillance video showed otherwise.
“She had apparently left them in there for right at about 40, 35, 40 minutes, a very hot day yesterday,” Knight said.
Records show it was 98 degrees when the call came out.
Child safety advocates say when it’s 100 degrees, it only takes 10 minutes for it to reach 120 degrees in a car, putting a child’s life at risk.
“Once their core body temperature is 104, that’s when they start having heatstroke,” said Laura Gamino, with Safe Kids OKC Metro. “Then by the time it’s 107, their organs are shutting down. So it’s crucial to keep them cool.”
Babb was arrested and booked into the Oklahoma County Jail on two counts of child neglect.
Oklahoma does have a law protecting Good Samaritans like the person who saved the lives of the children in this case.
“Thankfully, this one turned out okay,” said Knight.
Safety experts say Oklahoma is number two per capita for the deaths of children in hot cars.
They recommend leaving your cell phone, purse or even one shoe in the back seat so you don’t forget your child.