A Vancouver police officer berated a mother for leaving her children in a hot car while she grocery shopped and a video of the encounter was filmed by bystanders. Police said they received multiple emergency calls about her two children, aged 3 and 6, who were said to be in distress while alone inside the car as the alarm went off. A full emergency response, including police and fire services were dispatched to the grocery store in East Vancouver, British Columbia on July 3, 2017.
Police said that the mother had been inside the grocery store for 20 minutes while her children were locked inside the car on the hot day. The officer is heard berating the mother who seemed unemotional about the events surrounding her children’s rescue.
“You don’t seem to understand the danger you put your children in,” he says to the woman. “The windows were up – it’s hot out. Your children could have died.” He later adds, “You think it’s fine and you wonder why I’m upset?”
The children were reportedly dehydrated and very hot and treated on scene by ambulance but not taken to the hospital. The file has been turned over to the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The mother is not currently facing charges.
Vancouver Police Department Chief Adam Palmer later defended the officer, stating, “You have to remember that police officers are just people. We’re all just human beings. And he was trying to convey to that woman the seriousness of what she’d done to her children.”
Despite warnings from authorities across North America, an average of 37 children die in hot cars in the United States every year – most under the age of three.