With a hotter-than-average summer on the cards, and sophisticated car-locking technology making accidental lock-ins more likely, RACV is urging parents and carers to Check Keys – Check Kids to prevent accidentally locking children in hot cars.
Melbourne has had its hottest spring on record, with the first seven-day streak of temperatures higher than 28 degrees in November since official records began.
RACV tests show that on a day when the outside temperature is 30 degrees, it takes only minutes for the temperature inside a vehicle to exceed 70 degrees.
So far in 2017, there have been 1150 call-outs by RACV patrols to rescue young children locked in vehicles – an average of four incidents per day. Most of these were accidental, and sophisticated locking technology is making accidental lock-ins more likely.
RACV manager of road user behaviour, Melinda Spiteri, urges parents not to give keys to children to play with, and to keep keys secure on a lanyard while on all car trips over summer. Through the Check Keys – Check Kids campaign, RACV is offering free car-key lanyards, available at all RACV shops.
“After a long day at the beach, or a backyard barbecue with family and friends, any parent can become easily distracted,” Ms Spiteri says.
“The RACV car-key lanyards give drivers a convenient solution for easy key storage, and give parents one less thing to worry about while they enjoy the summer.”
Research shows that a younger child’s body temperature rises five times faster than an older child’s, putting them at high risk of dehydration and heatstroke if trapped in a hot car.
“Knowing the dangers vehicle lock-ins pose to young children, RACV treats call-outs of this nature as urgent. However, drivers should be aware that the few minutes it can take for a patrol to reach the scene can make all the difference in extreme temperatures,” Ms Spiteri says.
Tips to avoid locking your children in the car
- Wind windows down in case the car automatically locks.
- Never let children play with keys as they can accidentally lock the car.
- Avoid distraction when loading and unloading the car.
- Have an easy way to hold on to your keys, such as using RACV’s free lanyard, to avoid an accidental lockout.