RACV rescues more than 1400 children and babies from locked cars every year

·       More than 1400 children and babies are rescued from locked cars each year by RACV.

·       On a hot day, the interior of a car can easily be more than 30 C° higher than outside.

·       In most cases, the cause is accidental. Children playing with keys, distracted parents on phones, and cars locking automatically are among the most common reasons.

·       RACV initiated the Check Keys Check Kids campaign to reduce the number of incidents of kids locked in hot cars.


Why are children locked in hot cars in danger?

Children who are in a hot car can be in a very dangerous situation. Younger children are more sensitive to heat compared to older children and adults as their body temperature rises up to five times faster than an older child’s. In addition, the risk of dehydration and even heatstroke increases if they’re in a hot car for a long time. If untreated, heatstroke can quickly damage the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles.

The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed which increases the risk of serious complications or death. Fortunately deaths are very rare in Victoria.

On a hot day the temperature inside a car can be more than 30 degrees hotter than outside, and the situation can become extremely dangerous really quickly.

Watch this video to see how the temperature inside a car changes on a 30 C° day. In this experiment, the temperature rises to over 70 C° degrees in a matter of minutes! You'll also see how easy it is for a lapse in concentration to lead to keys and children being locked in a car.


Check Keys Check Kids tips

Check Keys Check Kids tips - animation

More than 1400 children and babies rescued each year from locked cars in Victoria

In the last 3 years, there have been 4,291 babies and children rescued by RACV from locked cars (1,467 in 2014, 1,418 in 2015, 1406 in 2016). That’s an average of 4 children a day rescued from a locked car.”

To get a better understanding of why children were being locked into cars, we spoke to RACV patrols who attend the incidents to find out more.

The patrols described incidents where parents were distracted on the phone and forgot where their keys were, the car automatically locking or the keys being given to kids to play with before they locked the car. We were told that children were locked into cars often and most of the cases they attended were accidental.

This scenario was highlighted by a Pakenham Mum who realised her mistake the moment she shut the door on her car. Fortunately her daughter slept through the whole ordeal but it did highlight that accidentally locking your keys in the car could happen to anyone, anytime and anywhere.

Check Keys Check Kids to avoid locking your keys in a hot car

The fact that most incidents RACV attended were accidental led RACV to develop the Check Keys Check Kids campaign. Check Keys Check Kids aims to address cases of children being accidentally locked in a hot car by providing parents with practical tips to help avoid accidentally locking their keys in the car.

The video above shows tips to help avoid locking your children in the car, including:

  • wind windows down before children get in the car
  • never give your keys to children to play with
  • avoid distractions when loading the car
  • have an easy way to hold on to your keys


Get your free lanyard

Free lanyards to avoid an accidental lockout are available from RACV shops.

It's simple - just find your nearest RACV shop.


By Elvira Lazar, Education Programs Coordinator.
Dec 1, 20017