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child locks on car doors

(31 Posts)
BouncingTurtle Thu 07-Aug-08 08:24:14

Actually I'm not too sure whether IABU or not!

I saw a car pull up near me as I was loading DS into my car, it was an old Vectra. I was quite taken aback to see two children aged I guess around 4 & 6 letting themselves out of the car. Now I have no idea whether their mum had actually said "You can get out of the car now" which would be sensible to me.

Now maybe 6, I think fair enough, but 4 seems a bit young to be able to open a car door by herself.
When DH got his current car about 18mo (DSS was about 5) he didn't bother putting the child lock on, and told DSS (who is capable of putting on and taking off his seatbelt now) that he should only get out when DH told him too. Plus also on his car all the doors lock automatically when the cargoes over 5mph, and don't unlock until either he unlocks the car with the button or he switches the engine off.

So I guess I am asking at what age should child locks be used too? Are they a good idea? Or could they be dangerous in an accident (i.e. preventing a quick exit). What do you do with regard to teaching your los when and where to take off belts/ get out of cars? I want to file this info away for future reference for when ds gets bigger!

I guess it struck me because once I was in my car with DH and DSS (usually we use DH's car but it just been written off in an accident and DH was awaiting his replacement), and we were in a car park. I pulled into a space, realised I was rather wonky, so put car into reverse and started coming out when I realised that DSS (4 atm) had undone hit seatbelt! I immediately stopped and made him put it back on, and explained that he should never remove his belt without permission.

Sorry it's a bit long and rambling!

more Thu 07-Aug-08 08:32:49

Depends on the child. A stroppy teenager is probably just as likely to suddenly be so angry that he/she wants out the car as a small 3 year old that has just discovered that he can actually open the door (because his parents can't afford to buy a car where the child locks work).

Anywhoo unless you know the children, asked them, or the parent/s somehow informed you of their age, you can't possibly know how old they were. My daughter looks younger that she is and my son looks older than he is, which leads a lot of people to think that they are the same age, when in fact my daughter is 17 months older than her little brother.

ghosty Thu 07-Aug-08 08:35:02

My DD is 4 and she can and does let herself out of the car. She would never open the door when the car was driving and only gets out when I say, "We are here now" or "Out you get" or something.
It totally depends on the child.

kslatts Thu 07-Aug-08 08:35:11

My dd's are 8 and 6 and know to only take their belts off once I've turned the engine off, they also open the doors themselves once I've told them to get out. If we are parked in a street they both get out on the pavement side.

tiggerlovestobounce Thu 07-Aug-08 08:39:13

My DDs are 5, 3 and 1.
We dont use car locks, but the doors do lock automatically when the car is going.
They dont ever open the car doors themselves. when the car has stopped the older 2 undo their straps, and wait for me to come round and open the door.
I dont know when I will get them to open the doors themselves. I think they would be too heavy for them to manage at the moment.

BouncingTurtle Thu 07-Aug-08 08:39:23

Thanks for the input - so it seems very much dependant on educating the child when they reach what you feel is the appropriate age.

More - yes I am well aware that is easy to guess ages wrong smile My friend's ds is the same age as my dss (in fact she is 2 mos younger) but as she is very tall she looks about 3 years older! It's only when you speak to her you get a true indication of her age.

BouncingTurtle Thu 07-Aug-08 08:41:40

I think more and more modern cars have the automatic locking - mine doesn't but when I lock the doors, they have to be unlocked by me. But they are reliant on me locking them in the first place.
The Vectra I saw definitely had child locks, as my Dh used to have that particular model 5-6 years ago.

littleducks Thu 07-Aug-08 08:43:06

dd is two and in a 5 point harness carseat and we have the childlocks on due to her nature, if anyone would do it she would! drives me mad when i sit in the back to entertain the kids though as i am trapped

i do worry about them in accidents so would take them off as soon as children are sensible, i dont like the automatic locking doors as i worry in an accident they wouldnt unlock

sil locks all car doors as she is worried abourt car jacking (a zafira) which isnt as bizarre as it sounds as there were a few cases of one guy doing it at a particular junction but he actully broke the windows to get in even at rush hour!

twentypence Thu 07-Aug-08 08:44:37

Ds is the only child in his class that doesn't let himself out. He hasn't noticed and I'm in no hurry to tell him. We have removed the child lock from the other back door though.

BouncingTurtle Thu 07-Aug-08 08:49:37

LD - I'm like your SIL as well blush but there had been a couple of incidence near where I work, plus the place where I work is prone to trespasses and is quite remote as well.

Just found this forum discussing child locks, and it seems that some people do think they can be dangerous in an accident - in fact some cars are being fitted with child locks that release automatically in the case of an accident.

AFAIK the locks on my DH's car do the same.

BouncingTurtle Thu 07-Aug-08 08:49:54

trepassers I mean!

Oblomov Thu 07-Aug-08 08:50:25

I don't use the car locks on mine. Dh does. Don't know why.
Ds has always been very good and gets out when I tell him. He has been doing this for a long time, and is 4.5, so age 4 does not seem odd to me.
Like others have said, depends on child.

VictorianSqualor Thu 07-Aug-08 09:01:26

We've just bought a corolla verso and I was quite pleased to see it had child locks.
DS(3.9) will only open the door when we have stopped but I still don't think that's safe, not with him.
TBH, I don't want any of the DC's opening the doors in car parks incase they bang into another car.

4andnotout Thu 07-Aug-08 09:04:25

We have a dihatsu hijet so the 2 bigger dd's sit in the back row and cant get out until the middle seats are moved anyway. But in my grandparents car (citroen c3) the door handles are just in dd2 (3) reach so he uses the child lock just incase she gets a case of fiddle fingers!

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe Thu 07-Aug-08 09:06:20

Mine are 7, 5 and 3 and I strap them all in myself but they let themselves out of their seatbelts when we have stopped and the engine has been turned off. I usually open the doors myself.

VictorianSqualor Thu 07-Aug-08 09:08:53

4andnotout, we've been doing the same, DD&DS1 are in the very back seats, makes it nice and quiet, almost as if they aren't in the cargrin

4andnotout Thu 07-Aug-08 09:11:42

I know and i cant pass sweets,drinks,toys back, i just turn the music up and let them fight it out themselves! DD3 lloks a bit lonely on her own in the middle, people probably think no one likes her!

Pitchounette Thu 07-Aug-08 09:52:29

Message withdrawn

Hecate Thu 07-Aug-08 09:55:27

My kids re 7 and 9 and I still use the child locks and will for the foreseeable future! Not worth the risk, imo. grin

MmeLindt Thu 07-Aug-08 10:02:32

I still use child locks for my DCs, 4yo and 6yo although after reading this thread I may take them off. They are both quite sensible, they know not to take seatbelts off till I tell them to.

I wonder what is more likely, them being hurt because they opened the door at the wrong time or not getting out fast enough in an accident situation.

Really, the only reason that you would have to get them out fast would be if the car bust into flames, and that is very unusual, afaik.

Ripeberry Thu 07-Aug-08 11:47:16

Kid car locks are different to automatic car locks, at least on my car and DH's.
The kid lock stops the car door being opened from the INSIDE, but you can still open from outside.
The automatic lock stops all doors from being opened from the OUTSIDE but you can open from the inside.
I would not trust the automatic lock once you have opened your door as they will be all unlocked.

BouncingTurtle Thu 07-Aug-08 12:23:45

MameLindt - yes I would agree with which is more likely.

Ripeberry - that is an important point to note.

tootyflooty Thu 07-Aug-08 12:50:05

my twins are 10, and I still normally say "i'll let you out" but only if we are parked between cars as I don't want the doors swinging out and hitting someones car. I don't actively have the child locks on now as I can lock all the doors electronically from the front, If I have had my neice (3) in I put on the child locks as she is unpredictable and i couldn't guaratee she wouldn't open the door when the car was moving.I think 6 is still a bit young, if only for not being able to stop the door swinging in cars parked next to you.

Fizzylemonade Thu 07-Aug-08 14:44:51

I do not let my ds1 aged 5 open the door himself, because I don't want him crashing my door into someone else's car.

I have been hit by a car door being opened by a child whilst I was on the pavement

Ripeberry - you may have the same car as me grin but when I press the keyfob to open the car we have set it so that only the driver's door opens. I have to press it again for the other doors and boot.

Before seatbelts in the back of cars my sister fell out of our car going round a corner!!!!

Seeline Thu 07-Aug-08 14:52:03

Mine are 6 and 4 and both undo their seat belts when I stop the engine. DS does his own belt up, although I do lways have a quick look over my shoulder before driving off. I always use the child locks. DS fidgets too much and fiddles with everything, and I worry that the door may open when we are moving. also I would worry, as DS is somewhat impulsive that he wouldn't think about which side of the car he was and would just fling the door open and launch himself into a stream of traffic. I will be keeping the child locks on for the foreseeable (my doors can still be opened from the outside).

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