Baby gets trapped in self-locking car
A mum has relived the heartbreaking moment her child became trapped in a car after its lockout protection system failed, in a bid to warn others of the hidden danger.
Chloe Stewart recently took to Facebook to explain how her car had self-locked with the safety key inside her car, resulting in police needing to smash a window to free her baby.
Recalling the harrowing incident, Ms Stewart, from Queensland, said she had been at the doctor with her eight-month-old twins, Joseph and Audrey, on January 14.
After returning to the car, which was parked uncovered in a shopping centre carpark, the mum said she did what she had always done and placed her purse containing her smart key on the front seat and closed the door.
"I then opened the rear drivers-side door and secured Joseph into his capsule and closed that door," she said.
"As I walked around to the other side of the car to put Audrey in, the car locked itself with Joseph trapped inside.
"As you can imagine… I panicked."
Lockout prevention systems are designed to stop the car from being able to be locked when safe keys are inside the vehicle.
Ms Stewart said reportedly contacted the car manufacturer and was told to phone emergency services as there was "nothing they could do".
"We called 000 and police were dispatched. In the meantime, Nic (Ms Stewart's wife) obtained assistance from a passing tradie who gave her a hammer which failed to break the window or successfully pry open the window or door," Ms Stewart said.
"At this stage, I was in tears and feeling helpless as Joseph was clearly getting more distressed with each passing second.
"After 15 minutes, the police arrived and smashed in the window with a sledgehammer of some sort and freed Joseph from the car."
As soon as Ms Stewart's baby was released from the car, she said she held him closely to comfort him while a police officer poured water on his head in an attempt to cool him down.
"We feel incredibly lucky that he was otherwise unharmed by the ordeal. "My initial reaction was one of guilt so I was greatly relieved that no harm had fallen upon my hands," she said.
The mum-of-two said although she is currently in discussion with the car manufacturer over the locking mechanism, she remains grateful the situation wasn't worse.
"We were the lucky ones - Joseph is still with us and unharmed," she said.
"I fear that If the day had been slightly hotter, we didn't have onlookers who offered assistance, or perhaps the police didn't get there in time - this would have been a very different post.
"I couldn't live with myself if I sat back and said nothing … scared of big business and read about a fatality due to this fault in the future."
The mum said she hoped her story would act as a warning to others who also own cars fitted with lockout prevention systems.
"Even if your car has a safety feature that prevents the keys from being locked inside. don't trust it," she said.