More than 1200 kids locked in cars last year: RACQ

Queensland : More than 1200 children were rescued from locked cars in Queensland last year, prompting the RACQ to warn parents to be mindful of safety and not give children car keys to play with.

Between three and four children were locked in a car every day, according to RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Richie.

In most of these cases, the RACQ found children were being locked inside because parents had given their kids the car keys to play with.

"The vast majority of these cases are due to accidental lock-in, so that's when parents more often than not are giving the car keys to a child to play with when they're putting the groceries in the car," Ms Richie said.

"By the time they've shut the boot the child has hit the button to lock the car and they're locked inside with the keys.

"We implore motorists not to do this – keep your keys on you and give your child a toy to play with instead."

While the number of lock-ins for 2016 was high, Ms Richie said it was an improvement on the numbers from the previous year.

"We actually saw 51 fewer call-outs for babies locked in cars this year compared to 2015 but we can't forget there were more than 1200 children who had a close call," she said.

Given the recent heatwave and general high temperatures at this time of year, Ms Richie said there was no safe time to leave children unattended in cars.

"It takes just minutes for temperatures in a car to soar above 40 degrees. These temperatures can cause long-lasting brain damage to children and even result in death."

Ms Richie said there had already been a number of incidents this year, and asked carers to be more careful.

"Already this year, five babies have been rescued from inside locked cars in Queensland," she said.

"So unfortunately we're just not learning, and we really need to know that there's just not a safe time to leave a child in a car, and to keep those car keys on you."