Accidentally locking a child in the car is a stressful and scary experience for any parent. Moving child seats to the back was good for airbag safety, but it had one unfortunate consequence: the number of kids getting accidentally locked in or left behind skyrocketed.
Through our free emergency door unlock program in Tampa, Pop-A-Lock has rescued thousands of children who were accidentally locked in. From talking to their parents, we know just how easy it is to do. Being stressed, distracted, or just changing your usual routine can be all it takes.
Since November is Child Safety and Protection Month, we thought we’d offer our top tips to avoid accidentally locking a child in the car. Because — let’s face it — that panicked phone call to Pop-A-Lock is one you hope you’ll never have to make.
- Take your kids with you, even if you’re only going to be out for a few minutes. It’s not just a smart idea: Florida has an unattended child law that makes it mandatory. Being in the habit of taking your kids with you every time you get out of the car will help you remember to do so even on busy days.
- Don’t leave keys within reach of your children, whether at home or out and about. Auto lock buttons make it extremely easy for kids to lock themselves in the car.
- Keep a spare set of keys with you. Don’t keep them on the same key ring as your main set! Spare keys are a good idea for so many reasons. (P.S. Pop-A-Lock can duplicate most car keys for much less than your dealer.)
- Communicate with your child’s other caretakers. The most dangerous lock-ins occur when a child is forgotten in the backseat for long periods of time, such as a full work day. Often, one parent assumes the other has dropped the child off at daycare. Ask your daycare or preschool to call you any time your child is absent.
- Make sure your car trunk has a release mechanism on the inside. Older kids who are playing around your car might shut themselves in the trunk and be unable to get out.
- Teach your kids that the car is not a safe place to play. Unattended cars and kids are a dangerous combination.
- Have a plan to check the car seat every time you leave the car. Some people put an important item like a wallet or phone on the floor in front of the car seat so they have to look every time they leave the car. Others have signs on the dashboard. Never assume that you’re incapable of forgetting.
- Program Pop-A-Lock’s number into your phone now. Even with good precautions, accidents happen. Pop-A-Lock locksmiths around the country provide free, fast emergency door unlocks that save lives. Call 813-226-0423 if you need an emergency locksmith in Tampa. We work with first responders and emergency services to get there fast, work effectively, and rescue your child. And we’re open 24/7.
Every year in the US, there are an average of 38 fatalities from kids being locked in the car. Let’s work together to lower that number.
Even if you weren’t having a bad day before you locked yourself out, you’re probably having one now. You’re running late, you’re frustrated, and you just want the locksmith to show up and do his job already. But what if the locksmith you call shows up exhibiting every sign of being a scammer?
(Classic signs of a scammer locksmith: upping the quote you were given over the phone, arriving in an unmarked service vehicle, not having ID linking him to the company, refusing to give you a written quote. Scammer locksmiths are at work in Tampa and just about every major city.)
If you go along with this locksmith, be prepared to pay anywhere from twice to four times what you were quoted on the phone. We’ve even heard horror stories about these scammers ruining locks and charging you the full amount to replace it with a new one. It’s a classic bait and switch, and unethical locksmiths who know you are desperate to get back in take full advantage of your situation. So what can you do to keep this situation from getting worse?
- Insist on an itemized written estimate before the locksmith starts to work on your lock. Having that in writing protects you from the worst of the added on fees. However, if it’s already significantly higher than what you were quoted over the phone, be aware that it’s only going to get worse from there.
- Refuse service. Florida law says you only have to pay for the product or actual service. They can’t make you pay for just coming out. You will have to wait for another locksmith, but it could save you $50 or more.
- Refuse to pay ridiculous fees. Scammers may threaten to call the police to intimidate you into paying. If you agree, they will back down and offer a more reasonable price. They definitely don’t want the police on the scene.
- Know what a reasonable price for your locksmith service is. If you have a good idea what a reasonable price for service is (Pop-A-Lock offers free, inclusive quotes), you’ll feel more confident in standing your ground and have more leverage.
- And if you do end up getting scammed, contact your local State Attorney’s office, along with the Florida Attorney General. By reporting scammers, you can help us keep bad locksmiths out of Tampa.
Scammer locksmiths are at work in every major city and come equipped with false business names and seemingly local numbers that route to distant call centers. They’re not limited to auto locksmiths or home locksmiths, either. Protect yourself from them by researching locksmiths before you ever need one and programming that number into your phone.
Pop-A-Lock Tampa is proud to be one of the good guys. We stand behind our 100% inclusive phone quotes and are devoted to answering your questions, showing up when we say we will, and providing friendly, competent service at a fair price. Check out our Tampa locksmith testimonials to see what previous customers have said about us!
In the past few years, locksmith scams have gone up — way up — thanks to out-of-town scammers who pose as legitimate locksmiths in your city. Tampa is no exception. Maybe you’ve seen some of the news stories on shady locksmiths, or heard about a friend’s bad experience. Everyone is being urged to do the research, find a trustworthy Tampa locksmith, and put the number into your phone now — before you lock yourself out of the car at 1am.
Haven’t gotten around to doing this yet? Let’s talk about what could go wrong if you hire a bad locksmith. Getting ripped off is a given, but that’s just the beginning. These are real and common risks of hiring a locksmith without first checking up on the company.
Hire a scammer, and you could:
- Pay 3 to 5 times as much (or even more) for locksmith services. Not only do scammers use a bait and switch (low quote, high final price), they also sometimes do more work than necessary in order to charge you more, like drill a lock they could have picked. What should be a $45-$70 lockout service in Tampa can end up costing you $300+ if you pick a dishonest locksmith.
- Risk damage to your doors, locks, or windows from an inexperienced, untrained, or unequipped technician. Pop-A-Lock often gets called to repair damage done by other locksmiths, such as poorly installed hardware and damaged seals and locks.
- Have to pay for a legitimate locksmith to fix the damage. Add this to the inflated prices you’ve already been charged, and you’re facing a major total bill.
- Face intimidation or threats from shady locksmiths who use strong arm tactics to get you to pay up. We’ve heard about locksmiths who arrived in tow trucks, unlocked the door, and threatened to tow the owner’s car unless he agreed to ridiculously high fees. These scammers take advantage of your anxiety and vulnerability when you’re locked out.
- Get ripped off with no way to get your money back. Dissatisfied customers often find that the company name and address turn out to be bogus and no one responds to their complaints. These companies aren’t interested in customer service; they’re just out to scam you.
- Have your keys copied and your house or car broken into. Unless you hire a locksmith with a good reputation and ALOA membership, you can’t make assumptions about the technicians it hires. Are they trained and uniformed? Do they undergo background checks? Are your keys safe in their hands? Not always.
And the hallmarks of a good locksmith? A well-established, locally owned and operated company with a strong reputation, ALOA membership, free 100% quotes, and highly trained, uniformed technicians. (And yes, Pop-A-Lock performs background checks on all technicians.) It’s not hard to avoid the bad apples if you take a little time now to do your research.
Getting locked out doesn’t have to be a nightmare. If you’re in Tampa, put Pop-A-Lock’s number into your phone now: 813-226-0423.
It’s official. We have just launched the new website for Pop-A-Lock Locksmith of Tampa Florida — the leading Tampa Locksmith! There are many changes from our old website. Primarily, we have tried to capture the flavor of the work we do around Tampa better than we did before. There are a lot more photos and links to places you can go to find more information about us.
As a reminder, we service the entire Tampa area, including Brandon Florida and Riverview Florida, along with the many other smaller cities and suburbs surrounding our city.
We continue to offer our FREE car lockout service to all residents if a child is locked inside a vehicle. Believe it or not, we’ve almost done 10,000 emergency door unlocks to date for free. Find out more about our service on our emergency door unlock page.
Please take a look at our new site. We’d appreciate hearing your feedback. If you’re longtime Pop-A-Lock clients here in Tampa, please feel free to send us a note, or even better write a nice testimonial for us on one of the review websites.
We look forward to continuing to help the residents of Tampa.
Alright, we are listening! Many of our loyal customers have requested that we launch a Facebook page so that they can keep up with what’s happening with our company here in Tampa.
Please go here and like our page! We’ll be posting specials and updates as to what we’re doing around town.
An example would be our local partnership with Lowe’s hardware stores in Tampa.
One of our customers noticed us at Lowe’s, and was quite impressed that our two companies were partnering together. We hope to more proactively share this kind of information with you so you can more easily access our services.
Please let us know what other kinds of updates and information you’d like to see.