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Summer typically has many positive elements. We often think of the season as a time for vacations and relaxation. However, summer has the dangers of heatstroke when kids and pets get locked in hot cars. PALSavesKids, a locksmiths program, addresses this problem by opening cars for free for children and pets in need. 

PALSavesKids locksmith program to save kids and pets locked in cars

Baby sitting in a child seat in a car, highlighting locksmith program that opens locks for free to save kids and pets
Baby in a child car seat | Fernando Camino/Cover/Getty Images

Pop-A-Lock offers the PALSavesKids program in communities throughout the United States, as reported by Fox 10 Phoenix. For the program, locksmiths drop everything and rush to a hot car if there is a child or a pet locked in it. PALSavesKids, founded in 1991 by law enforcement officers, opens locks on a 24/7 basis, free of charge, in participating locations.

Brian Borden, a locksmith from Pop-A-Lock, stated, “I’ve got my lock pick. We’ll come in. I’ll get it set up, and I’ll work my way through the lock.” He followed that with, “Every second counts. That’s why we prioritize that job and head straight out to unlock it. We also recommend if the vehicle is not running and it is an emergency to also contact the authorities.”

Many children and pets die each year of heatstroke when locked in a car

PALSavesKids addresses a serious problem. According to the National Safety Council, 38 children under 15 die every year in the U.S. from heatstroke while trapped in a hot car. PETA claims that in 2021, there were 59 known instances of animals and other pets dying in the U.S. from heatstroke in cars. However, that latter figure is likely higher due to many unreported cases.

“Several times a month, we get calls for kids. We prioritize that call and head straight over, and get it open obviously. As it heats up, getting that kid out or pet out as quick as possible is ideal,” said Bordon. Another locksmith from Pop-A-Lock, Page Chase, said, “In 2021 alone, we saved 8,000 kids.”

Avoid relying on smart keys

Also, Borden warned against completely relying on smart keys. “People with smart keys think it’s impossible to get locked with their key in the car, but as I can attest, we’re out there every day unlocking those cars.” He continued, “If the key is in the car and someone tries to enter it, the car will sometimes lock itself, thinking it is protecting a passenger from an attempted carjacking, meaning owners of cars with smart keys will need to be vigilant as well.”

The PALSavesKids program is a noble endeavor for saving kids and pets in locked cars. As Chase said, the program saves 8,000 children each year. Given the success of PALSavesKids, let’s hope that it or similar programs spread to other communities in the country, as well as other regions of the world.

This article was updated on 7/24/2022.


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