As the weather warms up, one family’s story offers a timely reminder of the dangers of accidentally locking your keys in the car.
Busy Mum-of-two Shannon describes her family car as very reliable, never causing a problem. Then one day, out of the blue, a system malfunction caused the keys to be locked in the car – leaving her two year old daughter Charlotte locked inside, and the frantic Mum stuck outside in disbelief.
The family’s ordeal plays out on the latest episode of Channel 9’s Paramedics, highlighting the risks associated with cars accidentally locking and kids being trapped inside.
2-year old Charlotte is rescued after the family’s self locking car malfunctioned, trapping her inside.
Shannon’s call to Triple Zero (000) prompts police, firefighters and paramedics to race to the scene to help free Charlotte and the family dog from the car. Thankfully both child and pet are found to be fine.
“I put Charlotte in the car, and the car locked itself, on its own,” says Shannon on the show.
Shannon’s car keys were in her bag, which she placed on the front seat after strapping Charlotte into the back.
Describing the panic she felt, Shannon says: “I walked around wanting to smash the windows. Just absolute panic. Thinking I can’t believe I’ve done this.”
Last year, Ambulance Victoria received almost 1,600 calls about people locked in cars, 95% of them being children under 13. Kidsafe estimates that around 5,000 children are rescued after being locked in cars in Australia each year.
“Shannon was confronted with a situation which could have been absolutely horrendous, and could have definitely ended differently. However, thankfully we’re all good, and Charlotte’s just fine,” says paramedic Amanda on the show.
Summertime poses the greatest risk to children (and furry friends) locked in cars.
The family dog Minx is also found to be fine – and wondering what all the fuss is about.
On a typical Australian summer day:
- the temperature inside a parked car can be 20-30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature
- 75% of the temperature rise occurs within the first five minutes of closing and leaving the car
- a child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s
- leaving the windows down has little effect on the inside car temperature.
Shannon is keen to share her story to help remind other people with children in their care to check they have their keys before shutting passenger doors.
“I just never thought about the possibility of the car malfunctioning,” says Shannon.
“I’m now wearing my keys on a lanyard around my neck – so they’re always in sight and it means the kids can’t play with them either.”
Putting keys on a lanyard is a great way to avoid an accidental lock-out – the RACV gives out freebies at its stores across Victoria.
Other tips to avoid kids getting locked in cars include:
- wind windows down before children get in the car, so you can access the locks if needed
- never give your keys to children to play with
- avoid distractions when loading the car, such as your phone
- have an easy way to hold on to your keys.
Catch-up on recent episodes of Paramedics at 9Now.