Officer Rocco Mellott noticed that the child was sweating inside the car and decided to rescue the child himself instead of waiting for backup.
Leaving children or even pets alone in the car is unsafe. On average, 38 children under the age of 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle, according to National Safety Council. Cracking the window hardly does any good because though there may be air circulation, the temperature inside the vehicle will keep rising and will cause a heat stroke. Cars heat up quickly and in less than 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees. So it is necessary to act quickly if children get locked in the car by accident as well. And one officer knew the seriousness of the situation and took swift action when he saw that a child was trapped in a car.
Officer Rocco Mellott from Island Heights, New Jersey was dispatched to River Ave when he found a distressed mother standing outside her car. She explained that she had accidentally locked her child inside the car. She had secured her child to the seat and left her keys on the seat. It was only when she tried to open the car again that she realized it was locked, with the baby inside. She had then dialed 911 for assistance. Mellott assessed the situation and immediately called in for first aid as a precaution. He even dispatched a tow truck to help unlock the doors.
But after waiting for a few minutes, officer Mellott noticed that the child was sweating inside the car. The Island Heights Police Department NJ, in a Facebook post, explained that from his training and experience he knew that the child could be in grave danger in this heat. So he decided they could no longer wait for the tow truck to come. Mellot decided it would be better to break the car window and with the mother's permission, he smashed the window of the driver's seat door. He then quickly unlocked the door and carried the child out.
First aid arrived a short while after the rescue and cleared the child of any medical issues. But the officer's heroics did not end just yet. "As if rescuing a child wasn’t good enough, Patrolman Mellott went above and beyond the call," the police department wrote. The mother spoke to Mellot and extended her gratitude for his valiant effort. She also shared about the financial difficulties she would face to repair the window that was smashed. Without hesitation, patrolman Mellott made arrangements to pay for her window. "In conclusion, the Island Heights PBA and the Island Heights First Aid squad donated enough funds to help cover the costs of a new window," the post read.
After the incident was shared on Facebook, social media users were all praise for the officers' quick thinking as well as his generosity. One Facebook user commented, Great job Officer Mellott your quick action saved that baby. A window can be replaced but a life cannot. I hope your Sgt. wrote you up for a Departmental Commendation. Barbara Evans wrote: All in a day's work, Officer Mellott! It's officers like yourself that honor & lift up the Institution of Law Enforcement & those you serve! Our community thanks you!!
"Hot car deaths continue to take place because nobody believes this could happen to them," Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Car Safety, said in a statement. "The unfortunate reality is that this has happened to even the most loving, responsible, and attentive parents. Factors such as fatigue, stress, or a sudden change in routine can contribute to parents unknowingly leaving a child alone in a car." In 2021 alone, there have been seven child hot car deaths.