DUNCANVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas police officer has been recognized for his actions saving a baby who was alone and strapped into a car seat inside a hot SUV.
Officer Pinilla responded and found the baby in the rear seat, crying, sweating and covered in vomit.
After checking all the doors and seeing no way inside the vehicle, Officer Pinilla took his baton and broke the front passenger window to unlock the SUV. As he unbuckled the car seat he tried to comfort the baby repeating “It’s okay. It’s okay. I know. I know. I know.”
Safe Kids Greater Dallas presented Officer Pinilla with the organization’s Badge of Courage Award for his role in saving the child from heatstroke.
“I don’t see myself as a hero,” Pinilla told CBS 11. “Most of us don’t, but we do what we are supposed to do and we get put in a place at the right time and take care of the situation.”
“Our community is extremely grateful for citizens like Office Pinilla” said coordinator Cinthia Vega. “Heatstroke tragedies happen far too often and are completely preventable. The bystander that called 911 to report the infant inside the hot car demonstrated how community members can take action to prevent heatstroke and ultimately save a child’s life.”
According to Safe Kids, there have been 22 American children who have died from vehicular heatstroke this year — five of them in Texas. On average, 39 children die each year from heatstroke while alone in a hot vehicle.
Vega said, “A vehicle can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes and it does not have to be the middle of the summer. Many of these tragedies have occurred on mild days.”
The 1-year-old in the hot SUV rescued by Officer Pinilla is fine. No word on if the adults responsible for the child faced any charges.