I had a facepalm moment yesterday. A really big one. One that I’m still trying to completely recover from.

I locked Delilah in the car.

2012-12-15 12.02.54

It was only for 15 minutes but they were close to being the longest 15 minutes of my life.

We had just left family daycare and she was excited to go home. I guided her to the car, holding her hand, my keys, her bag and her baby doll.

Somehow after opening the car she got a hold of my keys and had a bit of a play. I was distracted trying to secure her in her car seat and once I prised them off her I automatically threw the keys onto the front seat unaware that she had locked the doors.

I made sure we had everything (bag – check, baby doll – check, toddler – check) and closed the door ready to leave.

Except we couldn’t leave. I couldn’t open my door. Or any other door.

With rising panic I surveyed the front seat of my car to find my keys sitting there, mocking me, alongside my mobile phone.

I tried to stay calm. I didn’t need Delilah catching onto my growing concern and becoming upset in the car but I was struggling to think of the best thing to do.

It was hot again yesterday and I knew I couldn’t leave her in there indefinitely.

I considered for a brief moment trying to break a window to get to my keys, so very tantalisingly close to my grasp. That would have certainly been the quick option but I didn’t want to harm her or the car, if I didn’t have to.

I have to admit here that I never gave a thought to ringing my husband, who would have had our second set of keys and would have been only a 10 minute drive away.

It’s curious (and damn inconvenient!)  how stress renders your mind completely blank in moments of panic, isn’t it?

So instead, I dashed back to the door and asked her daycarer to use the phone to ring the NRMA (roadside assistance for those of you outside of NSW or Australia) and then darted back to the car to make sure that Delilah was doing okay.

She was doing fine. She even pulled some faces at me – thank goodness she thought it was part of a fun game…

The NRMA roadside patrol then rang back to let us know they were about 10 minutes away and suggested that we hose down the car while we waited to keep it as cool as possible.

So while Delilah’s wonderful carer and her husband helped hose down the car, I tried to keep Delilah entertained by singing nursery rhymes about the rain.

Despite my efforts, I could see her starting to become upset and confused and it tore me up to see her put her arms up to me and not being able to scoop her up and comfort her.

Thankfully the NRMA turned up soon after and quickly set to work breaking into my car. It’s quite confronting to see how easily it can be done but I could not have been more relieved when the doors unlocked and I was able to get to my baby girl again.

She was fine, a little upset and hot, but otherwise unharmed. A big drink and some cuddles saw her smiles return and good humour restored.

As for me, I felt like the biggest failure alive. It’s a pretty stupid thing to do. I should have kept hold of my keys. I should not have let Delilah touch them. I should have paid more attention to what I was doing.

It was a dumb thing to do but if you focus on the “should haves” you then quickly move onto the “what ifs” and they are ten times worse.

What if the NRMA had not been so quick to come to my aid? What if I hadn’t have parked in the shade? What if Delilah had become more distressed?

I know I feel incredibly guilty for locking my child in my car.

I know I feel unbelievably relieved that she did not come to any harm.

I know I feel amazingly grateful to the NRMA and to Delilah’s carer and her husband for their help in my time of need.

I know that stress and fear and anxiety do not help you think straight.

I know that I will NEVER let something like this happen again!

It’s Friday so I’m flogging with Grace, flashing with Bree and knowing with Miss Cinders.

fybf   Twinkle in the Eye   smom-things-i-know-meme

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45 Responses

  1. I locked us out of the house once … and sent my 3-y-o through the cat door … while making a B plan on what to do if he DIDN’T open the door (he opened the door). The NRMA are fabulous (although in Tassie it’s the RACT)
    Enid Bite’Em recently posted..You Do Not Have a Shoe Fetish! (Unless You Do!) Frick.

    • Kirsty says:

      I’ve locked myself out of the house too. I remember having to introduce myself to my new neighbour so I could use their phone to call for help. Now I come to think of it I don’t have the best history when it comes to locks and keys…

  2. oh hun, don’t beat yourself up. It is easily done! You acted quickly, and really, if she was getting overly distressed or if they were not able to come so quickly (massive kudos to them!) you would have smashed a window. It is a sickening feeling, but thinking about the should haves and what ifs doesn’t help anyone! Nick locked me out of our house when I took the rubbish out once. In my PJ’s, no phone, panic set in quick. Thankfully he stayed by the door and unlocked it within a few minutes. Needless to say, a spare key now resides outside somewhere!
    Aroha @ Colours of Sunset recently posted..The Heroes In Our Lives

  3. Do not be too hard on yoruself! You did an awesome job in a very difficult and dangerous situation. Crazy things happen all the time, epseically when children are invovled, and the circumstances that unfolded once the keys were locked inside the car, prove how awesome youa re at being a parent! You stayed calm and handled the situation with logic and care
    I’m glad your little one is ok, and I have no doubt this won’t happen again, so go easy on yourself, you did great xx

    PS If it helps, I worry about locking my kids with the keys inside the car – all the time!
    Josefa @always Josefa recently posted..Aloha

  4. Alicia says:

    How unsettling for you. Silly things like this happen to ordinary people all the time, you handles it well. Reminds me a couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from hubby, the dog locked him out of the car at the car wash!
    Alicia recently posted..Iceburg

  5. Nathan says:

    You’re both safe, and that’s all that matters, babe. Of course, now someone is going to have to clean that messy stuff the NRMA guy left on the window. Bags that being your job!
    Nathan recently posted..Flashback: Spokey Dokes

    • Kirsty says:

      I do feel I still need to do some penance so cleaning that muck from the window seems like the least I can do…just don’t ever mention this whole thing to me again, okay?

  6. Cassandra says:

    It must have been so horrible for you, I can’t even imagine!
    So wonderful that everything turned out fine and you are both safe and happy now. 🙂 xxx
    Cassandra recently posted..Shameless self-promotion

  7. Rhianna says:

    oh you poor thing I can only imagine how that must have felt. I looked myself out the house the other day. Thankfully Mr Awesome was asleep upstairs so it was just a matter of yelling, but at least you know you are not the only facepalmer around!
    Rhianna recently posted..Things I Know About School Holidays

    • Kirsty says:

      It is reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who has done something silly but it will take some time for me to completely forgive myself for it…

  8. Emily says:

    Oh Kirsty that must have been so scary. But she’s fine now and will forget quickly, but thanks for the lesson, I’m guilty of rushing a lot and this could so easily have been me.
    If it makes you feel better my youngest leap into a friend’s pool this morning, twice and I had to sprint to pull him face-first out of the water, very freaky! It only takes a second for things to go wrong. Hugs. Em x
    Emily recently posted..It’s taken me a year to get my shit together, but I finally have

  9. I bet every mum has at least one narrow escape and a lot of “what ifs”. I could share mine but I still feel shame and fear and there’s probably no point in rehashing them. But locking keys in the car – with the child – is something I’ve always been very careful to avoid, only because I once read another story from a mum who did this too, so it’s been at front of mind for me. You sharing this story may help lots of other parents think twice about where their keys are too x
    Rachel @ The Kids Are All Right recently posted..What online gaming taught my Asperger’s son

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks Rachel – I certainly hope my story can help others think about what they do with their keys so this does not happen to them too.

  10. Salz says:

    That would have been so scary. to me it looked like she locked her self in the car. You didn’t know she locked the car. Mycar is awesome like that you can not lock the car if the car isn’t on and the keys are in it or if there is a door opened. it’s a safety thing.
    Salz recently posted..How I Stay Cool!!

    • Kirsty says:

      That is an awesome safety feature Salz – that would have avoided this whole sorry saga if I had’ve had that functionality in my car. Something to definitely consider for the next car.

  11. Janet says:

    I know what you mean – the mind goes blank in situations like this! I probably would have rung the police!
    Janet recently posted..Pink Pamper Packs

    • Kirsty says:

      I can’t quite believe that it didn’t occur to me at the time to ring Nathan – it is curious how the mind works (or doesn’t work) under stress.

  12. Nee Say says:

    Can be so easily done! Glad it all ended well. Especially in this hot weather. x
    Nee Say recently posted..Happy holidayz

  13. A happy ending 🙂 Sounds like this was more traumatic for you than your daughter! My boys always play with my keys- fortunately, it’s impossible for me to lock the car with them in there. But they have lost my keys on two separate occasions.
    Housewife in Heels recently posted..2nd Birthday Barnyard theme….

    • Kirsty says:

      I think you’re right, it was way more traumatic on me than on her. I also think I need to get one of these unlockable cars…. 😉

  14. Shari says:

    Oh you poor thing Kirsty, what a fright you’ve had but from the sounds of it you handled it really calmly at the time – that couldn’t have been easy. I bet as soon as those arms were around your neck the world was ok again. Hugs x
    Shari recently posted..Free apps each day? Why thank you!

  15. Kim@FallingFaceFirst says:

    How scary for you. Thanks for sharing – you have reminded me to be more mindful of my keys, as I do the same, quite often, throwing them directly on to the front seat while buckling the girls in. And after today’s 44 degree weather, it doesn’t really bear thinking about. Glad it turned out ok Kirsty. X

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks Kim. I’ve been more mindful of what I do with my keys ever since – it’s definitely been a lesson learned so far for me.

  16. Robomum says:

    You kept so very cool in a situation that could have easily escalated. I admire your strength and courage. This is a blessing in disguise – a good reminder to all of us to take extra care.
    Robomum recently posted..My Top 5 Media Men

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks for calling me cool and strong in the situation Robomum – that’s certainly a description I would not have used at the time though!

  17. Don’t feel so bad Kirsty. We’ve all done things that we wish we hadn’t, and I have no doubt that had the situation turned into an emergency, you would have broken that window in a flash!
    Delilah was ok which is the main thing. And it never will happen again because it will always be in the back of your mind how scared you were.
    Big hugs lovely 🙂
    Tracey @ Bliss Amongst Chaos recently posted..365 Days Of Grateful – Day 18.

  18. These things happen because we are just human, don’t beat yourself up thankfully all turned out ok. I know exactly how you feel about the what ifs, not long ago my son ran off in the museum, I lost him for what seemed like hours and I have NEVER let him out of my sight since then. We live and learn. Glad all is ok though.
    Rhian @melbs recently posted..An insight into a second

  19. Rita says:

    Don’t be too hardon yourself. I’m sure you are a wonderful mum Kirsty. I can imagine it was a scary moment but you had such a good reaction considering this very stressful situation.
    Rita recently posted..Casting on (Part 1 – The knitting series)

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks Rita. I really did have to make a conscious effort to stay calm when all I really wanted to do was yell and scream and break that window in!

  20. Ness says:

    It was an honest mistake, which any of us can make. I’ve locked myself out of the house many times. It’s not like you deliberately left her in the car to go to the pub, like some feral bogan parents quite shockingly do. (Yes,I’m a bogan, but I’m not THAT bad.)
    Ness recently posted..Hot Topic

  21. Grace says:

    Gee, Kirsty…I felt your panic throughout the whole post! That’s amazing that the NRMA came so quickly. They’re pretty awesome like that. And for someone who was stressed out, that was quick thinking!
    You did a fab job in getting yourself out of the situation. x
    Grace recently posted..Baby, you can drive my car…

    • Kirsty says:

      The NRMA are amazing Grace. They ended up getting in contact with me after the post and stating that they attend to roughly 150 cases like mine each month. So I can console myself with the knowledge that I am not the only one to have ever done this!

  22. In summer it is such a frightening thing!
    Bree @ Twinkle in the Eye recently posted..Vietnamese Prawn Salad with Bent on Food

    • Kirsty says:

      That’s what worried me the most Bree – I just wanted to make sure she didn’t dehydrate, it happens so quickly and easily in a hot car in summer. But I didn’t know about the trick to hose your car down, I didn’t think it would have made much difference but it certainly helped in our case – something to keep in mind for the future!

  1. March 16, 2015

    […] made an appearance – they are worth their weight in gold! However the biggest fail was with Delilah. It was a hot day and somehow I dropped my keys while strapping her into her seat. I closed the […]

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