GROWING numbers of drivers are accidently locking their children, dogs and keys inside their cars.
AA rescue patrolmen are being called out to an average of three car key lock-ins every day, due to a lack of concentration by motorists.
Noel Keogh, AA Patrol manager, told the Herald: "Children are getting locked in cars every two or three months. We had one case in Cork where someone ran into the shop and her child got locked in.
"The lady handed the bunch of keys to the child to occupy her while she was waiting, but the child accidentally put the deadlock on which is nearly impregnable.
"Eventually it took a lot of coaxing through the window of the car and the baby eventually pressed the button and the car was opened."
So far this year, AA has been called out to 774 distressed drivers who were locked out.
Its patrolmen attended a third more incidents in 2009 than in the previous year, and a total of 56pc of keys were locked inside the main passenger section of the car, followed by 40pc in the boot and 4pc in the engine itself.
The summer became a distressing period for motorists who locked their children or pets in their cars, since vehicles become like greenhouses during the hot weather, according to the AA.
Mr Keogh said: "You do get the extreme where the child is left in the cot in the car, and the person is getting out and closes the door with the keys inside. We may have to break the quarter glass but that's very extreme.
"The problem is that in the summer months the car gets very hot, and the temperature rises up because it's all glass, it's like a greenhouse. If there's no windows open or ventilation, it can get very warm very quickly, and you can imagine if a child is in there, how worried people can be."
Golfers are the "worst culprits" for locking their keys inside the car, especially if their car has high-tech locks.
Mr Keogh added: "A lot of modern cars have keys with three buttons and they can just specifically open the boot but not the entire car, and they accidentally slam the boot down with the keys inside and forget that the whole car isn't open."