Discovering your child locked inside a car with the keys can be a terrifying experience for any parent.
Last year alone, the NRMA rescued 889 children from locked cars, emphasising the need for awareness and preventive measures.
Read on to better understand the potential dangers of such incidents and learn some invaluable insights on what to do in such situations and how to most effectively prevent them.
Understand the Risks
First, you will need to better understand the dangers such a situation presents. Locking your children in the car is no temporary inconvenience–it’s actually a matter of life and death.
The temperature inside a closed car can escalate rapidly–even on a seemingly mild day–which can cause heatstroke and other life-threatening conditions. While staying calm and assessing the situation is vital, knowing who to call for help first can make all the difference in the world.
How to Prevent Lock-Ins
The first thing you can do is quite obvious–you’ll have to be mindful of your keys.
Next, you can develop the habit of always taking your children with you. This becomes especially crucial in the summertime when leaving a child inside a car can quickly turn life-threatening.
Before leaving your parked vehicle, make it a routine to check the back seats, ensuring your children aren’t left behind. Some parents even leave a sign on the dashboard as an extra reminder.
We understand the numerous things on your mind, from groceries to work tasks and household chores, but remember – taking your kids with you is the safest choice.
Make a Spare Key
To prepare for unexpected situations like locking your children in the car, consider making a spare key. This key can be kept in your pocket or purse at all times, providing you with an instant solution in emergencies.
Locksmiths can quickly and effortlessly duplicate your ignition car key, ensuring you always have a backup.
But remember to never leave the key in the ignition, especially when your kids are in the car. This can increase the risk of getting stuck or, worse, playing with the car’s controls, leading to unforeseen consequences.
Keep your car keys out of children’s reach at all times. Keep a toy or distraction handy to keep your child occupied, reducing the chances of them playing with car keys.
Use Childproof Locks
Childproof locks can be a lifesaver as they significantly reduce the risk of accidental lock-ins. These specially designed locks prevent children from opening car doors from the inside, and installing them is quite simple.
You can use the power of the following tech advancements to better protect the safety of your children:
Car Alarms and Alerts
Modern car alarm systems have evolved to include features that can alert you if a child is left in the car. Alarms can detect movement inside the vehicle after it has been locked and then send a notification on your phone, providing peace of mind and ensuring your children’s safety.
In today’s digital age, there are smartphone apps designed explicitly to prevent child lock-ins. They can remind you to check the backseat when you exit the car or send alerts to your phone if your child is still in the car, ensuring you never leave your child behind.
Educating Your Child
Establishing some ground rules when taking your children with you is a fundamental aspect of child safety in and around vehicles.
Teach your child car safety rules from a young age and make them aware of the risks associated with vehicles. For example, teach them never to play in the car and always to exit the vehicle with you.
Ensure your child understands clearly the reasons behind the rules and encourage them to ask questions so they learn why that’s important.
Additional Lock-in Prevention Tips
Here are some other tips to consider:
- Ensure you have a spare key accessible, either in your pocket or purse.
- If you don’t have a spare key, consider getting one cut. For cars with keyless entry, a non-remote key, service key, or valet key can be a cost-effective alternative.
- Ensure that a trusted family member or friend has access to your house or garage to collect your spare car key in case you get stuck.
- Save your emergency locksmith or roadside assistance number in your phone for quick access during emergencies.
What to Do During a Lock-in
Despite all precautions, accidents can still occur. If your child is locked in the car, it’s essential to remain calm and take decisive action.
Here’s a step-by-step action plan:
- Assess the Situation. First, stay calm and check if your child is in distress and needs immediate attention. Evaluate the interior conditions of the car, especially the temperature.
- Call for Help. If the situation is urgent, such as a hot car, dial emergency services immediately by calling 000. They will dispatch Fire and Rescue promptly, equipped with the necessary tools. In less dire situations, contact your roadside assistance, and they will prioritise your case.
- Stay with Your Child. While waiting for help to arrive, stay with your child to provide reassurance and comfort. Ensure they are safe, and do your best to keep them calm.
Can I Break the Car Window?
This is a frequent question that arises in such situations, especially whether it’s safe to break the car window to rescue your child.
While it can seem intuitive, newer cars are designed to be highly secure, making it challenging even for professionals to break into them without the necessary tools. Not to mention that attempting to break a car window yourself–especially with your child inside–can be dangerous.
Emergency window breakers, the small red hammers often seen on buses, are designed with a metal tip to break safety glass. Some are spring-loaded and require minimal force, while others demand more effort.
While these tools seem straightforward and safe to use, there is always a risk of injuring yourself or others when broken glass is involved.
Your child’s safety is the most important thing in the world and should always come first. Use the tips above to ensure that and significantly reduce the likelihood of such distressing moments from ever happening.
Remember, the risk of locking your child in a car is real and can be quite dangerous. Locksmiths and emergency locksmith services are critical in such moments because their expertise and timely intervention can make all the difference in the world.
Ultimately, remember that preventing accidentally locking your children in the car is a shared responsibility between you and your child.