North Texas Mom Wants Answers to Keyless Remote Issue After Child Locked in Car - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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North Texas Mom Wants Answers to Keyless Remote Issue After Child Locked in Car

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    One Mount Pleasant Mom wants answers after her child was locked in her vehicle, with her keyless remote inside. Dealerships say, that's not supposed to happen with this technology. (Published Monday, Nov. 7, 2016)

    Keyless remotes are becoming more and more popular. Many manufacturers say that when a keyless remote is left inside the vehicle, the car will not lock unless the lock button is pressed.

    As one North Texas mom found out, that may not always be the case.

    "My Doors just locked and my baby's in there, and I don't know why they're locked," Kala Stewart said on an August 911 call.

    "It was 110 degrees outside; it was one of the hottest days we had this year," said Stewart.

    A normal trip to church turned into sheer panic for the North Texas mom. It started in the parking lot, when Kala Stewart got out of her car to unbuckle her 2-year-old daughter.

    "I killed the ignition, I shut the door, all my stuff was still here. My key was in my purse, and I started walking that way to go and get her. When I got maybe 4 or 5 steps, I heard 'click click.'"

    The doors to her 2014 Volkswagen Jetta locked. The keyless remote was lying on the passenger seat. Her daughter, Kelsie, was buckled up in the backseat.

    "As a mom, hearing her cry, I couldn't take it anymore. There's no way I could take it anymore."

    Mount Pleasant Police posted a video of the incident to the department's Facebook page, and it caught the attention of another North Texas mom who says the same thing happened to her and her baby last year.

    "As soon as I saw that and I heard her voice, I remember thinking the same thing. I felt terrified. I felt hopeless."

    Celina Gomez says her 2015 Buick Enclave locked her out her last year with her 2-week-old son in the backseat.

    "As soon as I closed this door, you could hear everything just lock," Gomez said.

    Like Stewart, Gomez says her keys sat in the front seat, and the car had a mind of its own.

    "The car's not supposed to be able to lock unless you either manually push the lock down or push it on the key fob, neither of those situations happened," said Gomez.

    Vehicles with a push button start are very common these days, and they usually come with a keyless remote. Oftentimes drivers will lay it on their car seat, or put it in their cup holder. But if you ever leave it in your car, it's not supposed to lock you out.

    Buick confirmed that information, saying "it is impossible for the vehicle to lock without human intervention."

    Volkswagen also said their vehicles should not be able to lock when the keyless remote is inside the vehicle.

    "Don't tell me it can't happen or it didn't happen, or it's impossible that that happened, it's not impossible, it happened," said Stewart.

    We spoke with an automotive instructor with over 40 years of experience, who says outside interference could have caused the sporadic lock.

    "All the computers and modules on the car are networked. With the amount of electronics we have in our life, in our environment, I think anything is possible," said James Martin of Tarrant County College.

    But still, there's no clear explanation from either car company.

    "Two totally different cars, two different people, in two different places — it just shows you that something happened," Martin said.

    "I didn't do it, but it happened. And I couldn't trust my vehicle to walk around the car without it locking," Stewart said.

    It's a problem she wants an answer to. As for her daughter Kelsie:

    "I didn't want to be that news story of the child that had terrible heat related consequences."

    Luckily, Kelsie is healthy and happy. However, Stewart says something needs to be done before she'll put her little girl back in that car again.

    "To hear her say "mommy get me out, mommy get me out," it gets me kind of choked up 'cause I couldn't get her out." Stewart said.

    "I was just so happy to have her, and for her to be there, and for her to be safe. And just thankful, just thankful," said Stewart.

    Stewart's car was inspected by a local Volkswagen dealership. They said they couldn't find a problem with the locking system. Stewart says she does not want that car back and she has left her vehicle at the dealership hoping for some kind of resolution.

    As for Gomez, she still drives her car to this day and has not been able to replicate the locking issue.

    Our auto expert says that no matter what a company says about those keyless remotes, make sure to keep it on you at all times, and never leave it in the vehicle.


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