ABC's "Primetime" investigates.
Imagine walking down a busy street and suddenly hearing a cry coming from a parked car. When you look closer, you spot a baby in the backseat and notice that all of the windows are closed. It's a hot summer day, and the parents are nowhere to be found. What would you do?
Tragically, almost 40 children die every year after being left alone in hot cars. Thankfully, many more kids are saved when strangers come to their rescue. ABC's "Primetime: What Would You Do?" wanted to see what ordinary people would do if they saw a baby in the backseat of a parked car on a hot summer day.
For the experiment, ABC parked a car on a busy suburban street for two days. Inside, they left a doll called a "reborn," which is a doll that looks almost exactly like a newborn infant. The doll's battery-operated breathing mechanism made the scene all the more convincing.
With the help of a dozen surveillance cameras, show producers monitored the action from a nearby building. Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Cars (a group that promotes car safety for children), also offered commentary as the events unfolded.
After two days of filming, they learned that while many people were simply too busy or distracted to notice a sleeping baby, many others simply didn't know what to do once they spotted our child. Many of those who did act said that they had seen news reports and knew about the dangers of leaving children in locked cars.
Those who came to the rescue and called the police did what one should do in the situation, said Fennell. She hopes that our experiment will "empower people to understand, that when you see a child in distress you don't walk the other way. You get involved and you do whatever it takes to make sure that the child is safe."
Tune in to ABC Tuesday night to watch "Primetime: What Would You Do?"