What to do if your child is locked in a car?
DO NOT PANIC.
These tips will help you act fast and effectively in the event your child is ever locked in a hot/cold vehicle.
- Call Police and Fire Department for help. They will help you assess the situation and will be immediately dispatched to your location. Locking a child inside a car is a serious emergency and depending on weather conditions a vehicle may get really hot or really cold very quickly causing your child to be at risk of hypothermia or heat stroke very quickly.
- Call an emergency Locksmith. Locksmith companies know the very high risk your child is at while locked in a vehicle and will typically drop everything they are doing to assist you. Often times they arrive before fire or police and are able to unlock your child in a few minutes after arrival.
- Block the sunlight. If you have access to towels or blankets, please block the sunlight as much as possible This tip is crucial in the summer months since the inside of a car can reach temperatures of mid-100s. Block as much sunlight from getting into the car to help keep the car as cool as possible until help arrives.
- Stay Calm. Whatever you do, do not panic. Acting calm in situations of extreme danger like is the most valuable tool you have. Panicking can cloud your judgment and cause you to have difficulty making decisions. Making sure you stay calm will also help to keep your child at ease. If the child sees that you are handling the situation in a relaxed manner, they’re more likely to remain calm themselves.
- Make note of the time. This is important as it is the first thing the police, fire department, or locksmith will want to know is how long has the child been locked in the vehicle. Not only is this a good thing to note in order to keep track of how hot or cold the inside of the car is getting, but it will also help determine when and if you should break a window. On certain occasions, it’s best to go ahead and break the window to ensure the child’s safety.
- Don’t feel ashamed. Locking a child in a car can invoke many emotions – it is important to take time afterwards to process. It is so easy to beat yourself up and feel guilt or shame after the incident, but it is key to remind yourself that you’re only human. Mistakes happen and things like this happen more than you may realize. There are many professionals committed to helping you navigate this stressful situation, and it is not an indication of your parenting skills. Once the dust settles, make sure you give your child a big hug and take a moment to reflect on how to prevent this from happening again.
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