A deputy sheriff saved the day when he freed two kids trapped in a hot car using a sledgehammer on Friday morning.
On a street next to the Honolulu First Circuit Courthouse, a mother parked her car and got out to pay the meter, leaving her two children, a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old, in the backseat, according to KITV.
As she was putting money in the meter, the toddler, according to a report from KHON2, locked the car from the inside. The engine was off but the keys were still in the ignition.
"She frantically made every effort to get the car open, but didn’t want to leave her children," Toni Schwartz, Department of Public Safety public information officer, said in a statement.
The woman then asked for help from a bystander, who ran into the courthouse and retrieved Deputy Sheriff Grant Auna. The mother told him that she tried for 15 minutes to open the car, but was unsuccessful.
"At that point, I'm thinking the main concern is to get the kids out of the car," Auna told KITV. "It's a hot day, the windows were up."
Auna also said the kids were crying and sweating profusely, so he asked the mother for permission to break open the window of her car in order to let the kids out safely.
Once the mother agreed, the deputy broke the car window with a sledgehammer, unlocked the doors, and pulled the kids out of the car. Firefighters arrived shortly after to check on the kids -- they were hot, but OK.
Officials say the incident was an accident and the mother was not charged with any crime.
To prevent these types of situations from happening, safety website SafeKids.org recommends never leaving your children alone in the car -- not even for a minute. They also recommend teaching your kids that it is not OK to play inside of a car when you're not using it.
"If your children are locked in a car," SafeKids.org notes, "get them out as quickly as possible and dial 911 immediately. Emergency personnel are trained to evaluate and check for signs of heatstroke."
Read more of their heatstroke safety tips here.