NRMA says there’s been a more than 20 percent increase in the number of people accidentally locking their keys and kids in the car, with more than 160 callouts in October 2020 alone to rescue babies and children locked in cars across NSW and the ACT.
And it can be more than just an inconvenience, with summer’s scorching temperatures it could be a fatal mistake.
The organisation conducted an experiment to see just how quickly the interior temperature of a car can spike. It took less than an hour for the temperature in the car to become unbearable.
“On the 28-degree day the inside temperature reached 48 degrees but our camera overheated at 45.5 degrees and stopped working – fortunately, this was an experiment and not a real-life scenario with a child in that seat,” NRMA Road Safety Expert Dimitra Vlahomitros said.
Ways to avoid accidental car lock-ins
Firstly, you need to know how your car keys work with your car. Different models have different features, which can catch you out.
“With some car models, as soon as the key is inside the car and the door is shut, the car automatically locks, leaving shocked parents outside and children or pets inside,” NRMA Roadside Patrol Kosta Karavanas said.
“Even if you don’t think your car will self-lock with the key inside, don’t put yourself in the situation to find out, especially when kids are involved. We can’t always rely on technology to work.”
Here are three simple steps you can take to avoid accidentally locking the kids, or pets, in the car:
- Open the windows before you put the shopping, kids or pets in the car
- Before buckling the kids into seats, pop the keys in your pocket
- If you don’t have pockets put the keys on the roof as the car won’t start without the keys inside