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Holiday brains lead to lost keys and lock-ins

26 January 2017
Holiday brains lead to lost keys and lock-ins

Taking your car keys for a swim, leaving them in the bush, burying them in the boot under the groceries or giving them to the kids to play with – these are just a handful of the ways Kiwis managed to lock themselves out of their cars so far this summer.

The AA has attended nearly 100 lockout jobs every day since December 1 – that’s a total of more than 5100.

AA Roadservice National Manager John Healy says summer is when many people throw routine to the wind, alongside remembering where they left their keys. But he warns that while it can be inconvenient, it can also be dangerous.

“Holiday brain definitely takes its toll at this time of year, but the real danger is when there are children and pets locked inside the car,” says Mr Healy.

The AA has been called to more than 150 emergency jobs involving children or pets locked inside vehicles since December last year.

“There are still parents who think rolling down their windows a crack is ok – but it’s not.

“A sliver of air doesn’t provide enough ventilation to combat soaring temperatures which can climb up to 40 degrees within a few minutes,” says Mr Healy.

More often though, Mr Healy says the biggest cause of AA’s emergency jobs is people accidentally locking their keys inside the car.

“We had a mum who ended up in a situation like this just before Christmas,” he says.

“She dropped her keys into her handbag on the passenger seat and left it there so she could get her baby out first. She shut the door behind her and the vehicle locked with her baby, keys and phone all inside the car.

“Thankfully she managed to borrow a phone and get in touch with us and we had her baby out of the car within minutes.”

He says that parents and caregivers need to make sure they always have their keys on them when they’re in and around their vehicles, especially if kids and pets are inside.

“Remember to check your boot for them before you shut it and never give your keys to the kids to play with – it often leads to them getting locked in, and it’s so easily avoided.”

“The good news is we’re doing better as a nation than we were at this time last year, but it’s important to remember that a lot of vehicles have automatic deadlocking which makes it easier to get caught out and harder to get into.”

The AA immediately prioritises any calls involving children or pets locked inside a vehicle. Where possible, two AA Roadservice Officers arrive at the scene regardless of whether the person is an AA Member or not. If the situation is deemed to be serious, the AA also notifies the Fire Service in case there is a delay in arrival.

To call the AA for emergency lockout assistance, dial 0800 500 222 or *222 from mobile phones.

By the numbers:

Total lock out and lost key AA callouts from December 1 – January 22: 5107
Total lock out and lost key AA callouts in 2016: 34,672
Total emergency jobs involving children and pets locked in cars from December 1 – January 22: 152


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