Baby locked in car!
I just gave the keys to my toddler to keep him quiet when... A mom of 2 kids under 2 confesses and advises.

It was the end of a very long day with my favourite pint-sized megaphone, and I still had several chores to do before the sun went down. We were just leaving the supermarket when it started raining. I was fussing with the shopping packets and he was struggling to get out of his car seat, making noises that were attracting a variety of responses from other customers.

Driven by desperation, I made that fatal mistake: I gave my 14-month-old the car keys. Hell, at that stage I’d have given him a hand-held rocket launcher to shut him up.

It’s no wonder that tots are obsessed with keys. They’re shiny, interestingly textured, and are usually attached to a remote control with the Holy Grail of Toddlerdom: buttons. Young children are fascinated with how things work and fit together: locks, keys and butoons are the perfect window into this world. Finally, since we always seem to be using keys, naturally they will want them too.

No sooner had I closed his door that the inevitable happened. He pressed the button. Yip, the button. And the car was locked, leaving a damp and irate mother cursing in the parking lot while her little angel waved at her from behind the glass.

So what do you do if it happens to you?

• Don’t panic.
• Assess the situation. If your baby is still happily playing with the buttons, he will sooner or later likely unlock the car again. Then pounce on the door handle like a deranged kitten after a mouse.
• If he drops the keys, wait until your cursing has died down and then call for back-up. Phone someone to bring you your spare set, or call the Automobile Association (AA) or the police to help you.
• Obvious though it may sound, never leave your child locked in the car. Chances are you are in your driveway or in a parking lot somewhere, so holler for the help of a neighbour or kindly passerby.
• If it’s a hot day or your child seems distressed, you may need to smash a window to rescue him. Breaking the front window on the same side as your baby’s seat will mean less chance glass shards reaching your little one.
• Start thinking of a less embarrassing story to tell your partner, parents, and anyone else who will see you driving around with a smashed window. Muggers, aliens or a freak hailstorm that affected only your car should do the trick.
• Learn from your (or my) mistake. Aside from the screamingly obvious (don’t give your keys to the little critters), there are a few steps you can take to ensure this doesn’t happen to you: Keep other toys handy to distract your little one from the allure of the keys. Know where your spare key is. And finally, keep the number of a 24-hour locksmith in your cellphone. Just in case.

Ever had a mishap with your child and the keys? Share below.

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