Recently released figures from AA Rescue found that the organisation dealt with more than one case a day on average where a child had been locked into a car accidentally in 2018. While keys being locked inside the vehicle has long been an annoyance for motorists, the figures from the breakdown assistance provider found that Irish motorists were guilty of accidentally locking both passengers and animals in their car on a regular basis.
In 2018 alone, AA Rescue attended to 460 cases of a child being locked into the car, along with 359 times where a dog had locked itself into an owner’s vehicle. In addition to the high volume of callouts to trapped children and dogs, the breakdown assistance provider was also called out to 5 cases where a member’s spouse was accidentally locked into a car, along with one case of a trapped lamb.
“For any parent I think there are few things more worrying than when you accidentally lock one of your children into your car but it’s something that can happen more easily than you think. Quite often these cases start off with a parent innocently giving a baby or child they keys to play with while they pack some shopping into the boot,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated. Next thing the parent knows they close the boot, the child presses a button on the fob that they shouldn’t and panic ensues. The good news is that we are used to dealing with incidents like this and will always give priority to a case where a child or animal is locked in the car.
“While people locking their spouse into the car doesn’t happen that often, it is something our patrols still see. It is embarrassing for anyone but it has a funny side, unless it causes rows after we leave!”
Despite changes in modern technology, AA Rescue still attended to 2,038 cases of keys being locked into a car, with many of these occurring between May and September. The figure represents a slight decrease on 2017, where the AA attended to over 2,300 such cases.
“Modern cars make it more difficult for the driver to accidentally lock the keys inside, it is still something that we are seeing on a regular basis. On average we deal with cases of keys being locked into the car six times a day and despite our reassurances, everyone who finds themselves in this situation feels like they’re the first person to have ever done it,” Faughnan added. “Every time a member calls us to let us know they have locked their keys into the car you can almost hear in their voice that they feel like they’ve taken over the role of the village idiot. However, the good news is we’re used to dealing with these cases and our experienced patrols are more than happy to help.”