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Deputy frees baby from locked car

Posted: August 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Sheriff’s Deputy Deanna Santino freed a child from a locked car in Valencia on Monday.

When temperatures soar near triple digits in the Santa Clarita Valley, you can’t waste a single second with a baby left locked inside a car.

Just ask Deputy Deanna Santino of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, who smashed the glass of a locked car Monday and freed a baby accidently left inside.

Shortly after 2 p.m., when the temperature in the Santa Clarita Valley reached 95 degrees, deputies received a phone call from a frantic mother explaining that her car door had closed and locked, trapping her infant son inside.

“I went over there right away,” Santino said Tuesday.

She found a 1-year-old boy strapped in his car seat in the backseat of a car parked outside a dental office on Baywood Drive in Valencia.

“I told (the) mom I would have to break the window, and she didn’t even hesitate,” Santino said.

Using her department-issued baton, the deputy wound up and smashed the front passenger-side window.

“Mom did the right thing phoning us immediately,” she said.

The rescued child was uninjured.

“He was startled by the sound, and he cried a little, then fussed for a few seconds, but he was alright,” the deputy said. “He was warm, and he was starting to sweat.”

The boy’s mother and an employee at the dental office wrapped the child in a cold towel, she said.

Although it’s the first time Santino has smashed a window to free a child, sheriff’s deputies respond regularly to similar calls about children and pets locked in cars, she said.

Researchers at San Francisco State University found that 23 children have died in hot vehicles across the country so far this year.

In 2010, at least 49 children died of hyperthermia from being left in hot vehicles, the researchers report.

Temperatures in the Santa Clarita Valley are expected to be above 100 degrees each day for the rest of the week, according to forecasters at the National Weather Service in Oxnard.


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