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Dispatcher in hot water: Mom says 911 dispatcher wouldn’t send help for baby locked in hot car

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TAMPA (WITI) — A Florida mother says a 911 dispatcher wouldn’t immediately send help for her 10-month-old son — locked in a hot car.

WTFS in Tampa Bay reports Shana Dees took her son, Jack with her to run errands. When Dees put the baby in the car and closed the door — she realized the baby had accidentally locked the doors while playing with her keys.

The car was not running, and it was hot outside.

Dees realized her phone and purse were locked in the car.

She was able to use someone else’s phone to call 911.

WFTS reports in the 911 call, Dees can be heard telling the dispatcher: “My infant son is locked in the car in the parking lot. It is so hot outside. I’m really concerned, like I don’t think I have time to call AAA before he would suffer heat exhaustion. Can somebody come out and open the door? I don’t even know if that is something you guys do.”

The dispatcher reportedly said: “They won’t be able to try to gain access [to the] car unless the child is in some kind of distress and, well, by that point they may just smash your windows.”

That’s when Dees says the dispatcher ended the call.

An off-duty officer in the area got involved, called 911, and got a different dispatcher.

In the meantime, a shopper busted open the window and reunited Jack with his mother.

Authorities say the dispatcher should not have handled things the way he did.

The Tampa Police Department has launched an investigation into the dispatcher’s actions.


  • Wisterya

    No one seems to be putting any blame on the mother in the comments section. Why he hell would you put “a baby” in the car and then hand him the keys? If I was that dispatcher, I would have sent an officer out to charge her with reckless endangerment.

  • concerned dad

    I’ve given my infant something to play with while I am buckling him in. Sometimes keys since there already in your hands as your walking out to the car. That is how this story reads to me as well. She probably didn’t realize he had locked the doors already and put her items in her car after getting him in his seat. maybe she closed the doors to put a grocery cart away or something like that. Charge her with reckless endangerment? Really?

  • Melissa

    WISTERYA- Settle down. I have given my son things to hold, or he has just taken them out of my purse/hand on many occasions. The first thing he always goes for is the horn, trunk, or lock buttons on my keys. This is normal. While yes, she should have been a little more cautious, she certainly isn’t like all these other irresponsible parents that are just leaving their kids in the car while they run INTO the store to run errands or grab a pack of cigs from the gas station. She had no intention on leaving him alone in there, so clearly she should not be charged with anything.

  • Courtney Dunlap

    But WHY didn’t she just break the window or get help breaking it in the FIRST PLACE??? Why take up precious moments trying to call 911 or wait for a police officer when minutes in that heat count!!! STUPID!!

    • Tara Lenihan

      Gee, I dunno… Maybe because glass could hit her child & should only be busted out as a last resort. Or maybe she didn’t want to cause her child undue stress if there was an officer available and in the area. Maybe it was because she was in a panic & almost immediately called the emergency number that mere citizens use to contact those who are more knowledgeable about what to do in emergencies.

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