Basin Locksmith Says Parents Accidentally Lock Kids in Cars Every Day

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN- Each day, parents in the Basin are accidentally locking their kids inside their cars.

It only takes Frank Yarbrough II about a second to get into your car. He's with Pop-A-Lock, a 24 hour locksmith service in Midland-Odessa. He says the area is facing a serious problem with accidentally locking kids inside vehicles. Lately, he's been getting one to two calls each day from parents who've unintentionally done this.

Yarbrough says, "It's something you don't take lightly. You go do it."

They unlock these car doors for free, as a service to the community.

With temperatures in the 90's on Thursday and summer rolling in, the problem is becoming more dangerous.

Medical Center Hospital Trauma Outreach Coordinator, Lisa Earp, says, "When a child is left in a car, even if it's 75 degrees outside, within 20 minutes the degree in that car jumps to over 120 degrees."

Texas leads the nation in this problem. We accidentally lock more kids on our cars than any other state.

Earp says, "We have a lot of near misses."

That's why Medical Center Hospital is joining a statewide campaign to educate families.

"What this task force is doing is it's trying to prevent hyperthermia injuries related to leaving your child in the car," Earp said.

Hyperthermia happens when a person gets too hot. Kids are at a higher risk than adults. Dr. Bruce Becker is the Chief Medical Officer at Medical Center Hospital.

He says, "They heat up faster than adults do because of the way their bodies work."

Initial signs include dizziness, confusion and sluggishness.

"Ultimately, it could cause seizures and ultimately, if the temperatures get high enough, it could cause a deadly complication," Becker said.

Experts say it's a good idea to keep and important object in the backseat of your car, like a briefcase or a cell phone, so you won't forget your child when you're rushing off.

Experts admit most of these adults are good parents but just too busy.

Yarbrough says, "In my experience, 80% of the parents are not negligent. Things just happen."
Earp adds, "Most of these deaths are [secondary to] people that are driving to work and they forget to take their children to daycare."