Heroic teen with autism saves mom from burning car

Jul 17, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. ET

They say the love between a mother and child is oftentimes unbreakable. The swift thinking of an 18-year-old son ensures he and his mom will have more chances to say "I love you."

It's pretty hard to imagine what you would do in a life and death situation, but hopefully our response would be like Tyler Gianchetta. The autistic teen did not bat an eye as he pulled his mother out of the car moments before it was engulfed in flames.

More: Car accident claimed life of pregnant woman, baby saved

Newsday reports the two were traveling together before Tyler's mom, 50-year-old Susan Gianchetta, blacked out while driving and hit a tree. "Really, just out of nowhere, she just started shaking and then we hit a tree," Tyler recounts. Even with a broken hand, Tyler was able to remove his unconscious mother from the car, but only a few feet. With the help of a few good Samaritans, they were able to take Susan to safety.

Tyler's mom is recovering at a local hospital after suffering multiple injuries — including a broken hip, pelvis and ribs.

I am so happy this family is OK as this accident could've easily turned deadly. It's scary to think a situation like blacking out and hitting a tree could happen, but thankfully this young man's actions occurred in the nick of time. Police say his mother suffered a medical episode that caused her to pass out at the wheel. I don't know if she was aware of any conditions — or potential risks of driving for that matter — but am glad to hear she's recovering.

This should inspire us all to have a talk with our children about what to do in an emergency. Obviously you can't always plan for the unexpected (after all, it is unexpected), but having some thought to a course of action can hopefully make the outcome a more positive one. While most kids wouldn't find themselves in this life-or-death situation, they should feel empowered to act.

More: Heroic toddler rescues 68-year-old man trapped in a car

As a parent, it's very easy to want to do everything for your child. Rather than shield them, we should encourage them to become more proactive. Whether you dial 911, yell for help or call a friend or family member, little actions can be life saving.

More: How not to be a helicopter parent

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