July 14, 2024

Tesla inadvertently leaves toddler trapped in hot car after battery dies in extreme heat

An electric vehicle trapped a young child inside due to a dead 12-volt battery this week, leading Arizona firefighters to rescue the child.

The incident occurred in Scottsdale, Arizona, where temperatures exceeded 100 degrees all week. Renee Sanchez and her 20-month-old granddaughter were en route to the Phoenix Zoo. Sanchez mentioned that after securing her granddaughter in her child seat, closing the door to her Model Y, and attempting to enter the driver’s seat, she realized that the door to her electric vehicle wouldn’t open. Sanchez attempted various methods to gain access to the car, but it remained locked. From Arizona Family:

“Upon closing the door, walking around the car, and trying to enter the front seat, I discovered that my car was unresponsive,” she explained. “Neither my phone key nor my card key could unlock it.”

As On Your Side recently reported, when the electric vehicle’s battery powering the electronics fails, there is a concealed latch on the driver’s side armrest that can manually unlock the door. Many electric vehicle owners are unaware of this latch.

In this particular situation, Sanchez found herself outside the electric vehicle while the child was stuck inside, fastened into a car seat.

Sanchez recounted to On Your Side that she had no choice but to dial 911, prompting Scottsdale firefighters’ immediate response.

“Upon their arrival, the first thing they remarked was, ‘It’s a Tesla. We can’t easily access these vehicles,’” she specified. “I insisted they do whatever it takes to extricate her, even if it means cutting the car in half.”

It was discovered that the electric vehicle’s 12-volt battery had depleted, rendering the car inoperable. This situation has been witnessed previously. When such an event occurs, there is an emergency switch that few individuals are aware of, situated near the driver’s side armrest, which can be used to unlock the doors. However, in this case, that switch would have been ineffective; as Sanchez was outside the vehicle, and it would be unreasonable to expect a toddler to operate an emergency latch.

Aware of the rising temperature inside the electric vehicle, Sanchez contacted the fire department:

Firefighters had to break a window using an axe, but they first covered it with tape to prevent glass from shattering. “Initially, she was composed,” Sanchez remarked. “However, once the firefighters arrived, the commotion began, and the windows were being shattered, she became frightened and began crying.”

A firefighter entered through the window and freed the child. They even gave her a tiny firefighter hat to soothe her nerves.

Sanchez expressed gratitude that the firefighters were able to rescue her granddaughter. Nevertheless, she suggested that the manufacturer should enhance efforts to educate individuals on how to handle such scenarios. “First responders need to be better informed because they were just as clueless as I was,” Sanchez remarked.

There is a method to jump-start an electric vehicle from the exterior; however, it is so complex that it would not be practical in a situation involving a child trapped inside. Regarding Sanchez and her electric vehicle, she expressed her affinity for the brand but admitted to AZ Family that this recent experience has shaken her confidence.

Regrettably, the risk of children overheating in vehicles is a significant concern, particularly in the sunny and hot Southwestern United States. Approximately this time last year, three children lost their lives in three separate incidents due to being left in hot cars. On average, 37 children perish in overheated cars annually, as per Consumer Reports.

## FAQ

### Q: Is it common for electric vehicles to have issues with dead batteries trapping individuals inside?
A: While not common, incidents like the one described in this article can occur when electric vehicle batteries fail unexpectedly.

### Q: What should one do if they find themselves locked out of their electric vehicle with a child inside?
A: It is crucial to remain calm and contact emergency services immediately to ensure the safety of the individuals inside the vehicle.

### Q: Are there any preventive measures that can be taken to avoid such situations?
A: Regular maintenance and monitoring of the electric vehicle’s battery health can help prevent unexpected battery failures that may lead to individuals being trapped inside.

## Conclusion

The incident involving a child being trapped inside an electric vehicle due to a dead battery serves as a reminder of the potential dangers associated with modern technology. Manufacturers and first responders alike should work together to raise awareness and educate the public on how to handle such emergencies effectively. It is essential for all individuals, especially electric vehicle owners, to be prepared and informed to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. The safety and well-being of all individuals, especially children, should always be a top priority.

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