Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Kid, heat, car keys - DANGER

A friend of mine who works at a daycare center e-mailed me with an interesting account of something that happened there yesterday. I told her that I would post it on my blog for the "whole world" to read as a public service announcement.


Today at work, a woman came and picked up her sixteen-month-old, carried the child (holding her car keys) to the car, strapped her into her carseat, and, hoping to avoid a tantrum until the last possible second, let the child continue holding the car keys while she got herself into the car, intending to reach back and retrieve them after sitting down and buckling her own seatbelt.

In the split second between the mother shutting the back door and opening the front door, the child pushed the "lock" button on the remote. The heat index here today was something like 110 deg F. (43 deg. C.).


The mother at first tried to get the child to unlock the door, but the little girl laughed and threw the keys onto the floor. The mom ran back to the building, and we called 911. It took five minutes for the police to respond, and then they said that due to some kind of civil-liberties b.s. from our buddy Dubya, they were not allowed to have "Slim Jims" anymore. They didn't want to break the window except as a last resort, because they were afraid of injuring the baby with flying glass. They wanted to wait for the fire department to arrive; apparently the fire department still has "Slim Jims." It took another five minutes for the fire department to get there. They tried the "Slim Jim." No luck. They tried a very long, fluorescent plastic thingy, which didn't work either. The director of the center ran inside to look for a hammer, because we were all starting to think about those ads that say how your dog can die in a hot car in something like fifteen minutes, even WITH the window cracked (the windows of the car in question were fully closed; fortunately the woman had parked in the shade, but it was still f#@*%+# HOT). I have a rescue hammer in my minivan, and mentioned that, and we were just on our way to get it when, after nearly ten minutes of trying, the fire department guys were able to pop the lock on one of the doors and get the baby (who was sweating profusely and not all that happy, but fully alert and apparently none the worse for wear) out of the vehicle. Fortunately, our staff R.N. and L.P.N., and a parent who is a doctor were all standing by; they took the child inside and put ice packs under her armpits, and gave her a bottle of Pedialyte. Everybody neglected the front desk and swarmed into the nursing center sniffling and cursing the useless police and our idiot president, and assuring the distraught mother that we had all, countless times, done pretty much the same thing.

Never again. My kids aren't touching my car keys until they are old enough to drive. Maybe not even then. And don't you let yours, either.





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21 Comments:

At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 12:19:00 PM, Blogger Mary P. said...

Oh, my. My kids liked playing with keys so much, I gave them their own real (but uncut) keys on their own real ring. They loved it, but it never occurred to me I was protecting them! I thought I was just keeping my keys where I could find them!

I'm going to link to this today.

 
At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 1:54:00 PM, Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

I've been fortunate and learned through others' stories. I like to go ahead and start the engine and roll the windows down the minute we get to the car, that way the car can cool off a bit before we get in and I'm sure I always have a way back in if the kids figure out how to lock the doors on me.

 
At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 2:40:00 PM, Blogger MommyOutOfControl said...

Wow, scary thought as to what may have happened. I didn't have remote entry when Matthew was younger (he's 5.5 now). But now that he is older, he would know how to unlock it, but I can't remember him ever having my keys since we got the new car (as before we pulled it off the lot he had already discovered the Panic button! LOL) This is such an important PSA that I stole it and put it on my blog....hope you don't mind!
Jamie

 
At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 3:41:00 PM, Blogger Granny said...

I have an extra set hidden outside the car (where any determined thief could find then I suppose).

I can see how this could happen. It's nothing like leaving a child in the car to go shopping.

I'm glad the baby was okay, no thanks to government bureaucracy.

 
At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 4:57:00 PM, Blogger KTP said...

Holy crappity crip-crap! That is a nightmare, in fact one of my worst waking nightmares...I am terrified of this happening so I always make sure I know where the keys are when with my babe. I am sorry this happened to this person.

 
At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 7:07:00 PM, Anonymous marsha said...

wow, what a scary story..!!! This could give a mom nightmares.

 
At Thursday, August 03, 2006 4:55:00 AM, Anonymous Naomi said...

Wow, scary. I do let my son hold my keys when I'm strapping him in, but generally I also leave the front door open, where I put my own stuff in. Didn't realize the safety issue, but now I"ll be sure to keep a door open when he has the keys...or not give them to him at all!

 
At Thursday, August 03, 2006 7:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story bothers me not because of the uselessness of the emergency services but because the idea of breaking the window was a last resort. Breaking windows on a car is not hard, and windows aren't expensive. Glass may hurt the child but most windows are safety glass they either have a layer of plastic in them to keep them from shattering into large pieces or they are designed to break into a million tiny harmless pieces. Have you ever handled the remains of a broken car windows? I used to clean up this stuff regularly as I worked at a local bar where windows were broken regularly by drunks who locked their keys in, the stuff will cut you but it is not razor sharp, I used to scoop it up by hand (mind you I have tough skin)

Its not hard to break a window. The hammer is a very good idea but short of that, find a rock or hard object and a piece of cloth, your shirt will work, cover the back door window and give the window a short quick blow with a pointed part of your rock or hard object. Using a pointed part will focus the energy on one spot and increase the likelihood of the window breaking in a radial pattern that will decrease the amount of flying glass. Hold tight to the rock so it does not fall into the car. If the window does not break repeat harder until the window gives.

In this case the child would have been out in less than a minute and if the child did get cut then EMS was already there. What were they thinking?

 
At Thursday, August 03, 2006 7:22:00 PM, Anonymous san said...

These slim jim prohibition are -- or at least are also -- local policies. Protects against warrantless searches. Police here haven't been able to carry devices to open cars without keys for about 15 years. Predating the current administration. After all, you wouldn't expect the Bush White House to have anything against a little illegal search and seizure would you?

 
At Sunday, August 06, 2006 4:15:00 PM, Anonymous Jennifer said...

I agree completely and have made a very conscious effort to never, ever allow my three-year old to play with my keys in lieu of a fussy tantrum. I did that a few times before realizing that dealing with his kicking and screaming was far better for my nerves than realizing he was in a locked vehicle.

Thank you for reinforcing this!

 
At Tuesday, August 08, 2006 2:11:00 AM, Anonymous adwina - insparenting.com said...

Hi, Jerry! Thanks a lot for sharing the story... I linked you up in my blog post, Never Let Your Kids Hold the Car Keys!.
Hope you like it..

Cheers,
Adwina

 
At Saturday, August 12, 2006 2:22:00 PM, Blogger Andie D. said...

Oh my gosh. I know what the heat's like here. Thankfully I have a combination entry keypad on the driver's side of my car.

And I made SURE to memorize it. I even use it every now and then instead of my key fob to make sure I still know it.

 
At Thursday, August 17, 2006 8:46:00 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

Hi Jerry,
Thank you so much for visiting "To Love, Honor and Dismay" and for leaving such a supportive comment. See you next time.

And I saw that story somewhere else recently. Scary, for sure.

All the best!
Andrew

 
At Wednesday, October 11, 2006 5:57:00 PM, Anonymous Alissa said...

Good thought--never occured to me. However, my truck does not have power door locks, so it never was an issue in my case anyway.

Funny--my husband is a police officer and he has not one but 4 slim jims, and that's just in his cruiser. They have more at the station. I wonder if he's not supposed to have them?

 
At Friday, December 08, 2006 1:44:00 PM, Blogger StBlog said...

I'm sure glad this turned out ok. I have to wonder about your friend -- the bits about "civil-liberties b.s. from our buddy Dubya" and "idiot President" are more opinion than fact. Typically those you find sweating the civil liberties are liberals and ACLU types, not usually conservatives or Republican types. Seems to me her hit at President Bush was just a tad to the illogically biased side. Nevertheless, a good lesson for those with kids and cars!

 
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