Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Break Out: When An Infant or Child is Accidentally Locked in A Car With The Keys

If you drive or ride in cars regularly with infants or small children- or know people who do- you should be thinking about automobile lockouts as summer is arriving in our hemisphere.

While we were loading our cars after baby group, one mom (a wonderful, caring, responsible person) loaded her baby and toddler in the car and their stroller and ended up accidentally locking her kids, her keys, and her phone in the car. A few of the playgroup moms were still there, so she didn't have to summon strangers to assist.

With the help of the hospital's security staff (our baby group meets at a local hospital), we were able to get her car open in about 20 minutes. The kids and their mom were frightened and relieved, and no one was hurt.

This lockout happened to an excellent, attentive mother through an atypical series of events. This could happen to anyone- even a stranger you see in a parking lot- so be prepared to help if it does happen.

#1- DO NOT PANIC. This seems to be the first item on many an emergency/disaster checklist, but it's for a good reason. When you panic, you have a much harder time sorting through the actions you need to take. Occupy your mind with "What CAN I do?" rather than "What's going to happen?" or "Why did I let this happen?" This is not the time for reflection or blame. Those kids need you to be clear headed and proactive.

Also, your children are taking their cues from you and you need to help them stay calm. You know how your child gets hotter when they scream? That is the last thing you need now. Make faces, sing songs, hop up and down like a rabbit, try and engage your child in some distraction (the more you look like an idiot the better your odds of making the baby laugh). Your kids need to know that everything is okay- so put on your goofy face and keep them as mellow as possible.

#2- NOTE THE TIME. During an emergency time takes on a completely abnormal feel. For me this incident just flew by, but for the mom it felt much longer than the time it took to get the car open. Knowing how long the car has been closed lets you know when it is time to break the window.

#3- CALL 911. You're phone is in the car? You're alone? Enlist the help of strangers. Repeat after me: "Hey, you- please call 911 my baby's locked in this car with my keys. We need help." Who cares what they think- as long as they get help there fast. If there is more than one person there, pick one to assign the task to. Sometimes in groups people become immobile- if you single someone out, they feel more involved in the situation and are more likely to help.

I didn't call 911 today because I didn't think they helped with lock-outs and I didn't want to waste any time. Nor did I call my auto club locksmith service because that always takes at least 45 minutes. It turns out that 911 will dispatch police and/or fire emergency responders if a young child or infant is locked in a car. They have a special universal tool to open a locked car door. Their tool may break your car's lock or do damage, but who can compare that to your child's safety. Don't worry that you may get the child out of the vehicle before they arrive, if so, they'll understand why you called. It's very good to call 911- because if the child needs assistance when removed from the car, they can provide first line medical assistance.

#4- COVER THE WINDOWS WITH BLANKETS OR TARPS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE- then the roof if you can get enough blankets. Do this fast. The heat and light entering through the windows and absorbed through the roof are causing the temperature in the car to increase. Covering the windows can help slow the rate of temperature increase inside the car.

#5- REMEMBER YOU CAN BREAK A WINDOW- BUT DO IT ONLY WITH PLANNING AND EXTREME CAUTION. This is an important option to remember, but it should only be used as a last resort. Breaking a window poses some danger for the children inside the car as the glass can spray everywhere. That kind of auto glass is almost impossible to clean out of the car fully, and you'll probably be finding bits of it in the car for years after the breakage. This is obviously bad with toddlers or infants, so pick your window judiciously and AS FAR FROM THE CHILDREN AS POSSIBLE. Also, don't injure yourself breaking the window. You don't need another emergency situation to deal with.

#6- ONCE YOUR CHILDREN ARE OUT OF THE CAR- REHYDRATE AND GRADUALLY COOL THEM. Human bodies are not designed to go from one temperature extreme to another without transition, so make sure you don't chill your kids while cooling them down. Give them plenty to drink- room temperature to cool drinks, but don't load up on ice. Truly cold things can make them quite sick when overheated. A cool washcloth is fine- but a cold one can cause more problems. You can take their shoes and clothes off to cool them down. A drastic change in environmental temperature can be problematic as well, so don't rush them into a room the temperature of a meat locker. Call your pediatrician if their behavior is at all abnormal.

#7- MAKE SURE YOU'RE OKAY BEFORE YOU DRIVE. This can be pretty emotional and traumatic, so don't feel like you have to rush off immediately. Take some deep breaths, get centered, and if you're still too shaken up to drive- try and think of someone who can help you and your kids get where you need to go. It's okay to ask for help.

#8- LEARN WHAT YOU CAN, ADAPT FOR THE FUTURE, AND FORGIVE YOURSELF. Yes, this whole situation sucks. And, yes, in hindsight any series of events could have been prevented, but you didn't want this to happen and you didn't intend for your kids to be at risk. Learn what you can from the incident and adapt so that it won't ever happen again and move on emotionally. Guilt alone gets you nowhere- and it can obscure actual insight into the situation.

And no matter how other people react or what they say to you, remember that accidents happen even with very good parents.

It hasn't happened to you yet? BE PROACTIVE:

-Stash a spare key on your car. My parents' cars always had magnetic key boxes on them while we were growing up. There's even a new powerful rare earth magnet one from GE with a combination lock and a connection point for a zip tie or wire cable. If you use a magnetic key box, make sure to put it somewhere inconspicuous (people will know exactly what's in it if they see it) and somewhere that it won't be bounced loose during travel on bumpy roads. You can use zip ties or a strong wire to secure a magnetic box (or even a naked key) to your car's superstructure. With the naked key method make sure the key isn't somewhere it will get a lot of exposure to corrosive elements (water, road salt, etc) or where it could get too hot and melt the key or the tie (close to the exhaust system, etc.).

-Stash a spare key in your wallet. If you always carry your wallet on your person, then this might be the best solution for you. At many locksmiths you can get a plastic key cut that fits into a credit card sized holder that fits discreetly in your wallet. This key won't work to get the ignition started if your car has a microchipped key, but they will probably get your door open. Consult the locksmith on this before ordering a plastic key. These wouldn't work for me as my bag is very likely to be wherever my keys are.

-Hook the keys to your person. I carry a billion keys, so many that my pants visibly sag when I shove them in a pocket. I always use a carabiner to attach my keys to myself, bag exteriors, and Ranger's stroller. This can be great when I clip them to my clothes when buckling Ranger in- or it can be disastrous like the time when I left them clipped to the diaper bag in the front seat while taking Ranger out and then closing the locked door. Ever since that storytime lock out that left Ranger and I stranded at the library (good place to be stuck during business hours) until another key could be delivered, I've been very conscious of hooking the keys to my pants when I put him in the car and not closing his door until I have my hand on the keys.

My mom, an elementary school teacher, can't afford to lose track of her keys at work, so she keeps them with her at all times with a stretchy coil wrist key chain.

-Load a couple useful items into your car in case this happens to someone near you. It was very frustrating to know that the lack of a simple wire coat hanger stood between us and those kids. We tore apart two umbrellas to try and get enough wire to open the doors, but it turned out neither wire was strong enough. Definitely stick a wire hanger in your car- preferably one with the paper tube at the bottom so you don't absolutely need pliers to cut/shape it. Pliers can come in handy too, and you should always have a general toolkit in your car (see Dad, I did periodically listen!).

Carry a large blanket or blankets (again, your should keep one of these in your car anyway) to cover windows and windshields.

I would also go so far as to recommend a safety hammer designed for breaking tempered auto glass (a third item that's always good to keep in reach of the drvier's seat). There are a number of brands and even some keychain models. If we'd had to break a window today, the safety hammer in my car would have been used. You don't want to be swinging a heavy object against the vehicle containing your children- that just creates additional risks and might cause the glass to spread further.

Does anyone have more tips to offer on automobile lockouts?


Anonymous said...

Call Pop-A-Lock
The will unlock you for free when a child is inside, they have 24/7 dispatch center. The response is quick

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing this great list of suggestions -- hope i can remember them by the light of day! (up for a 4am feeding)

Anonymous said...

Even a compulsive safety freak like myself can have this happen to her. It happened to me after a music class during a huge rainstorm in the winter (thank goodness). It was probably the biggest storm of the season, and I came away from the experience humiliated and soaked to the bone.

I packed my daughter into the backseat and threw my keys in the front seat in my haste to keep dry, and didn't hear the doors lock as my keys landed freakishly on the lock button.

Now it is my habit to always have my keys in my hand before shutting any door. I often keep at least one door open as I am packing anyone in, even if I look like a freak to the casual observer.

I called a tow company and not 911 (since it was winter).

Anonymous said...

Thank you so, so much for this post. I had this happen to me today with my 7 month old and because I had read this, I knew to call 911 right away and to keep the baby as happy as possible so he wouldn't overheat. Thanks again-you really helped us out!

Anonymous said...

Amazing advice - thank you so much!! I linked to you on my site for Des Moines, IA-area parents. Like my Aunt always said, "Lord Forbid," but if it happens, these steps may make the difference.sm

Anonymous said...

thank god i read this! my sister accidentally locked her keys and my baby in her car last nite. we were away from home, but luckily we had friends nearby who called a AAA and actually ended up unlocking the door with a coathanger before the pro's got there.

i remembered the advice to stay calm and try to entertain the baby so they don't know anything is wrong. as i was doing itsy bitsy spider, peekaboo and patty cake through the rear window i also counted my blessings that she was strapped safely in her seat, it wasn't hot out, we had cell phones, we were in the city and not in the middle of nowhere, etc. miraculously, dd enjoyed her silly mama's "show" for 20 min and didn't seem to notice anything was wrong. PHEW!

THANK YOU for posting this advice.

Anonymous said...

I locked my daughter in our Jeep after a storytime at library. The engine was running (it was cold outside)and the heater was on full blast "to heat up the car" while I got her in her seat. Well, with the engine running the Jeep locks itself when the doors are closed. Who knew? At any rate, the police came and COULD NOT unlock the doors with their "special tools" so we had to wait for our Jeep dealership to come to the rescue with a key they made from computer records. Thankfully this all took only about fifteen minutes - but it felt like fifteen years. I was very shaken up, even hugged the dealership hero for bringing the key so quickly. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking back on the incident. Now I keep a key attached to the frame of the back of the Jeep underneath. It's in a plastic bag attached through the key with a wire. I've used it twice for other reasons but never again with my girls inside. Since then I keep my keys on a carabiner on my belt loop ALWAYS (along with my cell phone) until I'm ready to drive away from wherever we are.

Anonymous said...

Well, I wish I had read this before today. I live in Phoenix, Az and I locked my infant in my car, without the car running, this morning. The temp. outside was already over 90 degrees and the AC had been off for a few minutes. Temps here can reach over 120 in cars in less the 20 minutes. I truly fell into a panic, found the nearest rock and bashed in the drivers side window. The temp in the car had already reached 100 according to the temp. reading. I did not even think about the glass going all over the car, but I new the baby was blocked because of the rear facing seat and I had the shade up to block the sun on the seat. He was fine and I was bloody. If I had been told these items before, I probably would have given myself some more time before rushing for a rock. It cost me $200 to replace the window, some stiches on my arm and a feeling of going over board. Please, be prepared for this happening. It all happend by mistake. BE CALM if it does because the pure adrenaline that flows through your body will make you go into panic mode.

adrienne said...

Oh my, Phoenix!

I cannot imagine how freaked out you must have been in that amazing heat. You got your son out okay, and that's what matters most.

Repeat after me "I am a good parent. I am a good parent. I am a good parent." Seriously, 100 degrees is really hot and you had real cause for concern.

If you need penance to forgive yourself the stitches (ouch!), just make sure to tell other parents to put keys on their cars (this also gives the opportunity for some great joyrides later).

MetaMommy said...

Great post! Thanks for all of the info. As a preventative measure, I would add that you hold your keys in your hand until you're in the drivers' seat. Seriously, the minute you set them down, they will get forgotten. Even my idiot-proof Jetta has almost locked me out (almost!).

La beauté de la pensée. said...

These are all really great ideas for when you lock your keys and children in the car. I'm a 911 telecommunicator and my husband is a Paramedic. We often get calls of this nature and due to upgrades in locking mechanisms in vehicles, slim jims (which some police carry) don't work on all vehicles anymore. We usually send out officers, call tow companies and send out the fire department when we get calls like this. An idea that my husband shared with me is unscrew your antenna, aim for the corner of the window, pull the antenna back and pop the window. Sometimes it will take more than one pop, but it works. Just make sure that your child is not in harms way of any flying glass. If you need to use a rock, try to cover your hand and arm with a shirt or blanket to attempt to minimize any cuts. I for one like the combination hide a key and will be getting one. Thanks for all the great tips and be safe!

Anonymous said...

Great posts - Thank you to everyone for sharing their experiences and tips.... I searched and found this site AFTER my incident of this morning. I am a mom of three - 5, 3 and 23 months.... I am posting just to remind moms that even when you're being cautious or usually cautios this could happen to them - I strapped my 23 month old into her carseat, she was having a rough morning and wanted my keys to hold (she does that sometimes)... In a weak moment of just wanting to get them in the car, I let her have them... I turned to put my 3 year old in his carseat and did something that I NEVER DO - I shut the door... I didn't think much about it because I was in a hurry and as I was walking around the back of my Tahoe... I heard the click... Yes, there are 5 buttons on that electric key thing (one to lock, unlock, pop the trunk, sound the alarm, and one to start the engine)... A toddler who i didn't even realize could hit the botton, managed to hit the botton to "lock" the doors... I was horrified... My 3 year old son and I walked over and started talking to her... I tried to get her to hit the other botton - yeah, right??? She laughed and threw the keys on the floor - Now, panic mode... unfortunately - I was in Florida.. it was morning but still cars warm up fast when there is no air flow.... The tough thing about this sort of situation is that you don't want to leave your child at that point - you feel responsible for causing it and you don't want them to be upset - fortunately, I had people in a YMCA parking lot that were very supportive but it was very chaotic and the adrenaline was pumping in me... In the end, we called AAA and 911... 911 was waiting a bit and advised us to let them know if the child was in distress ... well, a mom doesn't even want to consider her child in "Distress"... what is distress? How concerned should I be - How long to I have - these were the questions that I was unsure of - You just don't want to risk anything on your child - in the end, the fire department broke the window - I have another one in now to the tune of $ 277 but it's a small price to pay and I consider it a little lesson to stay on my toes as much as possible to safeguard these little ones from them any harms that could easily come their way - Good advice to loose the guilt, I immediately went into a self criticism mode and panic mode - if nothing else it made me realize that I need to develop some better skills at handling emergencies - my real question was just how long do I have... AAA showed up about 3 minutes after they broke the window - But, I just didn't want to risk anything - My daughter's hair was soaking wet from sweat but she was acting fine so I don't know how much longer I had to mess around - you don't really want to mess around with that sort of things - Good luck, Moms - Stay attentive but be EASY on yourselves - it CAN happen - Don't underestimate the possiblity of a child being able to hit the button is my motto of the day

Anonymous said...

This happened to me with the car running during the summer. My locks on my subaru forester locked automatically with the key in the ignition. Don't know why. I had gotten out of the car to help my niece and heard the locks go -click click click. My 11 month old was in the car.I called AAA and they sent someone asap-it took about 10 minutes. They were great. In fact, I heard the dispatcher telling someone in the background to send out "the van" right away-they didn't call the locksmith like they do when no one is in the car. I was nervous, but the air conditioner was on so I felt a little better about that.I did bring the car to the subaru dealer and they couldn't find the problem. The locks also do this similar thing after going through a car wash, so I am concerned this may happen again.

Unknown said...

Thanks-this is a great list and confirms that our God-given motherly instincts are pretty good (with the exception of PANIC). My story today is similar to you other mothers- my 20 month old got locked in the car today(along with my purse, phone,etc). It was 80 degrees outside but rising temps in the car (we're in the middle of summer in S. Cal). I found someone right away who called AAA for me. About 10 or so minutes later as we were waiting, unfortunately I panicked as I saw sweat dripping off my daughter and then I just SCREAMED for additional help and went into a full panic! My daughter noticed it too, so rule #1 is important. Someone else came immediately and called 911. I screamed for someone to get a hammer and another person did, even though we didn't use it. Another person knew to put a towel over the window (all things listed on your site). AAA came first. BUT I tell you, I think we were fortunate AAA got there in under 20 minutes and was able to get my daughter out right away - I was seriously ready to break the window. (To the mom who did that in Phoenix, I wouldn't regret that decision with the temps out there). Once my daughter was out, someone had bottled water-that happened to be lukewarm and hydrated her (another good tip). The only thing I'd change about my situation is NOT waiting to call 911, I think I would have had a little more peace and less panic if the paramedics were called right away (not waiting until I saw sweat)- even if we still had to wait for AAA they could have reassured me that everything was okay. Also, I drove off in a traumatic state, not realizing it. Luckily my home wasn't far, but I was crying out of control! So, the last tip about waiting to go home is good too. Going to look into the proactive measures you suggested. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

this happened to me yesterday. It will forever be remembered as the "worst day of my life!" I locked my 23 month old son in the car in 100 degree weather in southern CA. We had just arrived to walmart to do some much-delayed grocery shopping. I was gathering out things to get out and went to unbuckle him, when I saw the passenger of the car parked next to me waiting impatiently to get in. I told him to go ahead since it would take me a minute to get my son out. As I moved to let him by I leaned against the car, bumping the door shut. I turned around to open it and freaked when I realized the door was locked. Then my brain went into panic mode. I though ok call the husband and get AAA here. Then it clicked. The cell phone is in the diaper bag. Agh! So I asked the passenger of that car if he had a cell phone before they pulled away. He said no im sorry, I have somewhere to be. I looked at him with eyes of rage and said my baby is locked in the car! He immediately ran through the parking lot screaming for help. We got the cart guy to give us his cell phone and I called my husband and told him to call AAA. Next thing I know, tons of walmart managers were out there dispatching 911. They called the security patrol to see if they had a slim jim. Negative. I was trying to stay as calm as possible and thankfully my son had no clue what was going on. he was just talking to people through the window and singing. One I saw sweat pouring down him I went into major panic and lost it. I was crying and just kept thinking how could I do this to him? Why cant anyone break into my honda civic?! People were trying all their keys just hoping we would get lucky. nothing. FINALLY the sheriffs came and tried to convince me to wait for a tow truck company down the street but it had already been 30 minutes so I said no just break my window. And of course they couldn't break it with their mag-lite or baton. We found a window punch and broke the window. I got my son out and immediately they put us in the ambulance. Fire department was there too and a ton of people were checking his vitals and giving him water and sadly, questioning me why I had done this to him. They advised me to take him via ambulance to the hospital since he was in there so long in such high temperatures. I know how expensive an ambulance bill is no I opted not to after another firefighter and emt pulled me aside and said that he seemed fine enough to take on my own. They both had children the same age so I trusted their advice. After we were cleared to go, the AAA truck showed up. Lets see, that puts him on location ONE HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES AFTER WE CALLED!!! My membership is up for renewal and I am 1 million % sure I'm NOT renewing it. I have never used it and the one time I needed them most, they let me down. If I had waited for them my son would have been unconscious. Needless to say, he is fine as acting completely like himself. The lessons I have learned are 1. dont care about the impatient people waiting on me anymore! The worst that could happen is they get mad. much better than my son being in danger. 2. hide a key on the car. I had a spare in my wallet but when that gets locked in the car too, not much help. 3. dont pay for AAA. 4. Truly the most important part was staying calm so I could act quickly to save my son.
The guilt I dealt with all last night was horrible. I felt miserable. I couldn't believe I put my son in danger. I have never felt so helpless in my life. Thank God he is ok and I just have to forgive myself and realize we are all human and even the best parents make mistakes.

adrienne said...

anonymous (June 16): Your instincts were good and you did everything right following the lock out. It's astounding that the AAA tow service took so long even when they knew a child was locked in the car on a hot day.

I'd definitely complain to AAA directly. In this area they contract independent services, so a complaint might change who they contract with in the future. Your complaint might help someone facing the same situation down the road.

You showed a lot of resourcefulness, and you should be proud of your presence of mind.

Anonymous said...

thank you for your advice and support, i locked my baby in the car and was in an empty car park with nothing to break the windows. i did everything i could the police wouldnt help me and i managed to get my hands on a hammer and i got my baby out alive.
im not a bad mother im not a time waster i dont give a crap how much money i have to spend fixing my car im not in it for the compo or anyting like that and i really wish people would stop having a go i love my baby more then life itself.

adrienne said...

anonymous 6/27:

Putting kids in the car can be one of the most distracting times in a caregiver's day. Accidentally locking your keys in the car is such an easy thing to do.

I'm sorry people are being very critical of you. It sounds like you did well in an exceptionally tough situation and kept your baby safe.

Unknown said...

Just reading the post from the woman from CA and it makes me start crying all over again. Today was the worst day of my life! I locked my 3 month old in the car! She hates cars and so I get out every 10 - 20 minutes sometimes when travelling to console her. I had parked at a gas station and was getting out of my van to feed her and it locked!!!! I was already extremely sleep deprived and anxious over her car crying. When I realized what had happened I went into panic mode! I called my husband and 911. Fortunately I had the air on and it was a cool day. The police and fire came. Some really nice people were consoling me as I was crying my eyes out. The worst memory I will ever have in my life is my little baby girl who was already crying wailing in the back seat and locked in. My husband got there and opened the car before anyone broke in. I feel so sorry for those who had babys in the heat locked in the car. You must have lost your minds. It is also nice to know so many mommys love their babys enough that they are willing to brake in and damage their cars. We almost went that route but in the end I'm glad we didn't as if glass had shattered on her I would have never forgiven myself. Worst memory and day of my life. She is home now having a two hour nap in my arms as I type this on my eye phone.

adrienne said...

Hi Laurab-

It sounds like you did everything right. Today I am reminded how easy it is to lose track of things when dealing with young kids and cars. I just lost track of (and lost) my cell phone in an amusement park parking lot when trying to get everyone buckled in and all the gear stowed.

On the anxiety scale, my situation is nowhere near locking your keys in with your kiddo, but the distraction and tiredness parents feel can be really overwhelming.

I'm glad everyone is safe. You did well in a tough situation.

Ashley Johnson said...

Thank you for this website and the tools and experiences shared. I am reading this after my experience today where my 2 year old accidentally got locked in the car while she was strapped into her car seat. The weather all week had been in the 50s and 60s, but I didn't realize until after I had called my husband that it was a warm day (80 degrees). It felt cool outside with the breeze, but after 10 minutes of waiting, my daughter was starting to sweat. She was completely calm and acting normally, but I was getting worried. I was parked in the driveway of my friend's house--she had the sense to get a blanket and shade my daughter, which I am so glad for. I was also playing peek-a-boo with her with the blanket, trying to keep her calm (amazingly she just sat there and stayed calm anyway, but I didn't want her to think something was wrong--inside I was terrified). By the time I realized how warm it was, my husband was already on his way from work with a key. I debated calling 911, but figured they would take as long as my husband. In the end, we got her out in about 30 minutes--I wish now I had just called 911; of course they would understand if my husband got there first. I also wish I had realized sooner how hot it must have been inside the car, since it didn't feel hot outside. I've been beating myself up ever since, but this site has helped me to feel good that we did some of the things on the list (the blanket, making silly faces; we also got her gatorade and a cool washcloth as soon as we got her out and cooled her gradually) and that it has happened to other parents. Thanks again for all the tips and the posts--I will surely be more careful with my keys in the future!

Anonymous said...

Always having a spare key is a good idea in such emergencies.

A good secure, key storage solution if you have a 2" hitch receiver is the HitchSafe. We have one and it is the best secure solution for our spare keys. We bought it off of padlocks4less.com but their website is hitchsafe.com

I was with a friend while they were house hunting when this happened with their infant crying in the back seat. They called the police, locksmith, etc and no one could arrive in time so they understandably freaked out and started trying to smash windows out which was causing the baby to be scared and cry even more. After about 30 minutes they were in after the parents and the child being totally traumatized.

Anonymous said...

I did this today :( My 8 month old son was in the car for I have no idea how long - 15 or 20 minutes - it felt like forever. I woke him up from a nap for a stupid swim class, so I was rushing and after getting him securely in the car seat, I threw my keys onto the driver's seat. I got out, closed the door, and went around to get in. It was like time stopped when I realized what I'd done - the house keys, car keys, cell phone, etc all in the front seat. I wanted to scream. I started freaking out and got a neighbor who called 911 while I went searching for something to break the window. A cop showed up who tried to jimmy the door unsuccessfully while waiting for his supervisor to come to break the window. They said a tow truck would take 10 minutes - I just wanted in! I didn't care how! Luckily it is 60 today and not humid at all, but it was stuffy and warm inside the car. My son was so sweet just smiling and giggling at me while I tried to smile and play while crying and freaking out inside. Finally the AAA tow truck came and opened the door. My son was smiling, not sweating, and just had rosy cheeks. He nursed a little bit later - I should have tried to nurse him right away but so much was going on (police, neighbors, tow guy/AAA!). Now I'll know to do that right away next time even if it didn't seem very hot and he seemed fine. I'm so relieved and so embarrassed. A couple of friends I've told have found the humor in it knowing he's okay, but I'm still a bit shaken up and have just been hugging him all day. It's scary how quickly things can go from normal to urgent... I will be hiding a key, a house key, and anything else I can think of to be a more prepared mom. Thanks for letting me share.

calgary alarms said...

very nice topic

Feste said...


Like the first guy said... Pop-A-Lock offers that free service in emergency situations. Makes sense that they care about public safety being that they were founded by police officers.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I am not the only one that has done this! This is my story of my morning today!..... I have a 2 year old (25months) My hubby followed me and the baby in his car, we were going to get lunch before he had school. I got out and went to go to the passenger side and the wind closed the door. When ever I get out I ALWAYS unlock the doors just so something like this wouldnt happen, and for whatever reason, I didnt (WORST MOTHER OF THE YEAR WON HERE) The keys in the ignition and the car/heater on. It was a cool day. We were in the Big Lots parking lot so I ran in since hubby knows how to open cars and they didnt have wire hangers. Our Mechanic is not too far from there so he called him while I ran into Big Lots. I guess the people at Big Lots thought I was the worlds worst mother because she told me well you should call the police the number is blah blah blah blah blah (I was already just figuring on calling 911, those numbers are easier to remember in an emergency lol) so I ran back out to hubby and locked in baby and just told hubby I was gonna call 911. So there I stood crying while hubby told me to get in his car (my jacket was in the car)... I refused, I wasnt gonna leave my baby!!! The 1st Police man showed up and got his tools out to jimmy it opened, (our windows dont roll down so this made it more difficult) and that didnt work, even with hubby trying, thats when I noticed my baby (who sweats very easy) sweating then the 2nd police showed up and just kinda stood around was checking out the car and my son Shortly after the Firetruck showed up. They had to use a balloon type thing to get our door open enough where they have space to "work" then the sound of pure amazement... the doors unlocked! Took about 30-40minutes total... I immediately gave my son his water he threw on the floor shortly before we pulled into the parking lot, hugs and kisses (and the rest of the day devoted to him). I am so greatful that everything worked out the way it did, we dont have a spare because they are expensive for our key (about $120) but we WILL be getting one now and maybe one of those magnet boxes!! They invited my son to play in the Firetruck and invited him to come visit their department for a hat and stickers (we will be baking cookies and awesome things for them)... I hope I dont get a bill for this though!!!!

adrienne said...

What a long morning.

Moms live in a constant state of distraction. It actually a marvel that this doesn't happen more often.

My dad recently pointed out that on most cars you can get a cheap duplicate key (without a chip) to hide on the car. It'll open the car, but it won't start it. I've had that on my to-do list ever since, and your morning reminds me that I should get on that right away.

Forgive yourself- no matter how the Big Lots folks acted.

Anonymous said...

This happened to me an hour ago. I had my baby in a carrier and my keys in my pocket. When I leaned down after removing him from the carrier I dropped the carrier on my seat.. and apparently the keys fell out underneath it. I climbed onto that seat to get my 4 month old into his car seat, strapped him in and closed the door. Went to grab my keys and they were gone. I had kneeled on them and locked the door. It was already a hot day and the car was in the sun. I immediately ran into the business I was at and told them I just locked the baby in the car and to call 911. Seemed like forever but they arrived in about 5-7 mins and within a couple minute he was out, a little sweaty but ok. Of course I had a huge audience of people I knew and strangers which made me feel like the worst Mom in the world, although they were all very helpful and nice. So glad I didn't hesitate to call 911.

adrienne said...

Anonymous 10/2- Sounds like you did very well. Good job!

Sarah said...

Thanks everyone for your post. This happened to me few hrs ago. I locked my 3.5 yr old son with keys inside the car. We just arrived from the school. I asked him to pull the door knob, since he was fastened on the car seat he was unable to reach the door. Sometimes he unlocks he seatbelt by himself but since he was crying he was unable to do it. For 5 mins I was instructing him to unlock his seat belt but he was unable to do it. I called my husband and he started searching for locksmith on Internet. Two of my neighbors also came for help with all the possible tools. 17 mins were passed so I decided to call 911. Within 7-8 mins fire persons arrived. Since it was not very hot (temp was 70 F ) they decided to wait for locksmith before breaking the lock or window. In the meantime they started talking to my son telling him how to open the seat belt. He was just crying in panic and was not listening. They suggested me to again instruct him calmly. This time I told him to take the seatbelt off the shoulder. Now he did it. He took his hand out and stretched it to open the door knob. Thank God, finally he was out after 40 mins. I will suggest everyone to stay calm and just call for help and dial 911 right away. Presence of my neighbors helped me to stay calm. Any stranger at public place may prove to be of g8 help. We are new in US and I am thankful to 911 service, this is something that we don't have in our country.

adrienne said...


Good job!

I'm so glad you mention 911 availability. Isn't it wonderful? Many Americans can benefit from reminders that it is special and important.

Welcome to the US!

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