Kids In Hot Cars: Locals put to the test

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, July 31, 2014

(MGN Online)

HARLEM, Ga. (WRDW) -- The thought of a child left in a hot car, can send anyone's blood to a boiling point. Especially after a year where 25 children died after being left in cars. Even a few in the CSRA rescued before it was too late.

So, what would you do if you noticed a baby locked in a car? You might not know until you are actually in that situation.

It's 12:30pm on a hot summer day. The temperature outside is95 degrees.

Inside of our test car is a baby doll. It's cries, just a recording, but the reactions you're about to see, are real

The driver is an actor is a News 12 intern. He gets out and disappears. Five minutes pass and temperature inside already reaching 120 degrees.

Jo-Anna Stocks and Samuel Rivera come out of the store, heading to their car, bags full of groceries.

Almost immediately, Stocks notices something's wrong. For the next three minutes, her eyes are glued to our car and the test baby inside. In a panic, she finally heads inside to get a manager.

"I was like, oh my god, they left a baby in the car," Stocks said.

After we let her know about our heated experiment, she walked us through what was going on in her head, while face to face with what could've been a life or death situation.

[Stocks] "I started hearing it, and I was like wait a minute and I looked and I was like there's nobody in there and the baby's crying,"

[News 12] "I saw you all looking to see if you were going to open the doors."

[Stocks] "I told him, don't touch it, I'm going inside to get somebody. It scared me, it brought tears to my eyes."

And for our next passerby, tears were the least of our concerns. Chelsea Dixon's windows are down as she pulls up and is already aware of what's going on in the car next to her. She gets out of the car, making a b-line to our test baby.

The mother-to-be picks up her phone and dials 911.

"Don't go into labor darling, come on, come on. It's okay. It's okay," Dixons mother frantically said.

She's nine months pregnant, due in just a week...

[News 12] "What was your first thought?"

[Dixon] "There's a baby in there momma."

Barely able to speak, Dixon explains just what she was about to do to save a life.

[News 12] "Where were you about to go?"

[Dixon] "I was about to go call the law, because her phone's not working, I was going to bust the window but I was going to call the law first."

[News 12] "I saw you panicking."

[Dixon] "Ok, ok...I'm good now."

[News 12] "Can you ever fathom leaving your child in a car?"

[Dixon] "No, no...with that Atlanta story, I just don't understand it."

[News 12] "You happened to pull up as this baby was crying."

[Dixon] "Yes."

[News 12] "You could've saved this baby's life if it was a real one."

[Dixon] "I would've done something."

But not everyone. In the same scenario, some people turned their heads and kept walking...

Two men pass by checking our car out. But they continue to go into the store. One of them pointing back as he keeps walking.

Another man walking to his car, passes ours. He hears the baby, stopping a total of four times, even opening up his door to listen. But eventually, he pulls away.

So, what if our fake baby was a real baby? What would you do if put to the test?

"Act, act, I mean, do something," said Nick Ortalaza, who saved a baby's life just two weeks ago.

For him, it was about being at the right place, at the right time. He had just gotten to an apartment complex in Augusta after a hot day at the pool.

"I wasn't even supposed to be there," he said. "You know I'm watching my kids and my wife, we're going back to the car."

He says he then glimpsed over and saw a baby in the backseat of a car."

"I pushed him and he flopped over," Ortalaza said.

His role as a bystander quickly turned into rescuer.

"I just stuck my arm through to about my elbow," he said. "When I grabbed him, he was, his body was limp."

The child was able to recover but Ortalaza's memories of the hot summer day, still heats him up. But he knows he did the right thing, at the right time.

"Don't be scared to get into that car, I mean all the officers, everybody that I spoke to, has told me that we did the right thing," he said.

But what is the right thing to do? How far would you go to save a life?

Watch Kids In Hot Cars Part 2 here.

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