In the past 12 months NRMA patrols across NSW and the ACT have rescued almost 2,500 young children accidentally locked in cars, a 16 per cent increase over the last four years. But what is causing this increase?
“Human error is not always to blame. Over-zealous pets knocking internal door locks and auto lock car technology result in calls to the NRMA,” says Dimitra Vlahomitros, NRMA Senior Policy Adviser, Road Safety.
“More than 40 per cent of survey respondents that have driven with a young child in the last year said they had felt anxious or pressured by another driver waiting for them to put their child in the car or load shopping.
“This additional pressure can often lead to accidental lock-ins with the majority of calls for help coming from car parks. Residential driveways are also notorious locations for lock-ins,” Ms Vlahomitros said.
With this in mind, The NRMA encourages parents to follow these tips may reduce an accidental lock-in:
- Find an alternative to car keys being used as a ‘distraction toy’ for a young child.
- Try and place keys in a clothes pocket.
- Focus on where you put your keys, particularly when taking a phone call, loading the boot or placing a child in a car seat.
- Leave the driver door ajar or window down when packing the boot or moving away from the car.
- Don’t rush because another driver is waiting for the parking space.
The NRMA call centre receives an average of 12 anxious calls every day from Members and non- members.
“We are the primary responder to these situations, taking almost half of all calls for help for kids or pets accidentally locked in cars,” Ms Vlahomitros said.
“NRMA Members and non-members alike, think of us first when they find themselves in this stressful situation. The other half call friends or family to bring a spare key, carry their own spare key or call 00.”
Have you ever accidentally locked your keys in your car? What caused you to do it?