Firefighters rescue child who accidentally got locked in hot car

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- Littleton firefighters broke into a car in a Target parking lot after a 2-year-old child accidentally got locked inside.

The incident happened about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Super Target on Lucent Boulevard in Highlands Ranch. It was 93 degrees at the time and the vehicle was not in any shade. Littleton Fire and Rescue responded within minutes.

“Temperatures will escalate very quickly inside of a closed car,” responding firefighter Capt. Tyler Turley said.

Fire and rescue crews used a device to unlock the door through the vehicle’s window.

The child was inside the vehicle with the windows up and the engine off for about 15 minutes. Turley said the child looked and acted fine during the rescue, and that it did not escalate into an emergency.

“The kid was fine. We were there in plenty of time,” Turley said.

According to Littleton Fire and Rescue, the child was locked inside by accident.

A nanny was caring for the child during a shopping trip. When they finished shopping, she put the child in the car and closed the door. Somehow, the child got a hold of her keys and managed to lock the doors while she was outside of the vehicle.

“The 2 1/2-year-old was unable to unlock the car from the inside,” Turley said.

Situations like this happen more often than you might think. Littleton Fire and Rescue estimates having to unlock about two vehicles per month because someone lost the key or locked the key inside.

“This happens to everyone,” Turley said. “Something gets set down, the door gets closed and all of the sudden there you are.”

Unfortunately, not all of the cases where children get locked inside cars end as well as this one did. This year, 23 children have died after being left inside hot vehicles.

“Tragic doesn’t really cover it any time a child pays the price for an adult not doing the right thing,” Turley said.

The best way to prevent accidentally locking a child in the car is to never let children play with car keys. Otherwise, Littleton Fire and Rescue suggests buying a hide-a-key device to store a spare car key under the vehicle in case of emergency.