Toddler stuck in Tesla as battery dies without warning amid heatwave – ‘Safety comes last’ in Tesla, expert says

A 20-month-old female in Arizona recently had A Tesla was locked inside After the Model Y car’s battery died, creating a “life-threatening situation” in which firefighters had to break down the door with an ax to save her.

Renee Sanchez, the girl’s grandmother, put the girl in her car seat for a trip to the Phoenix Zoo. After she closed the back door, Sanchez walked around to the front of her car, only to find the door unlocked: the car was dead.

“I couldn’t get in. My phone key wouldn’t open it. My card key wouldn’t open it,” he told a local news network. AZFamily.

said Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Vehicle Safety Good luck A toddler trapped in a car in the Arizona heat can be in critical condition in 15 minutes. 30 minutes later, many children die in hot cars.

Faced with a “life-threatening” situation, Sanchez had no choice but to call 911. Scottsdale firefighters raced over and then became frustrated when they saw the car’s make.

“The first thing they said was, ‘Oh, it’s a Tesla. We can’t get into these cars,”’ Sanchez said. “And I said, ‘I don’t care if you cut my car in half. Let her out.

Firefighters broke the window with an ax, climbed through the window, and pulled the child out of the car.

Sanchez said the girl was “fine” for the first few minutes, and she became so scared that she started crying during the commotion. When she got out of the car her rescuers gave her a small fire cap to calm her down.

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After seeing that her granddaughter was fine, “then the anger” came, Sanchez said. “God, this could have been so bad.”

Her 12-volt battery—responsible for powering the car’s electrical systems—had died without warning. EV expert Mike Klimkoski said Teslas should have constant warning signs when its 12-volt battery is low.

The battery simply shutting down “seems very odd,” he said.

A Tesla service representative confirmed to Sanchez that they had not received any warnings. Tesla did not respond Good luckRequest for comment by press time.

“Safety Comes Last”

There is a mechanism— outlined in Tesla’s online safety manual — for drivers to unlock their cars while they’re stuck outside, which neither Sanchez nor the firefighters who came to rescue her granddaughter knew. Open the three-inch circle on the front of the car called the tow cover, pull out the cables inside, and connect those cables to an external power supply (like a portable jump starter). This allows the trunk’s hood to open, giving drivers access to the 12-volt battery, which they can then jumpstart.

Klimkoski, headed by A non-profit Dedicated to teaching EV safety to first responders, the onus is on firefighters who don’t know how to jump-start a Tesla. He says the process would have been faster and easier than breaking into the car.

“It’s the fire department’s responsibility to educate themselves,” Klimkoski said. Tesla and other car manufacturers make emergency response guides available to first responders on their websites. Those manufacturers don’t have a responsibility to continue educating firefighters, Klimkoski said.

However, he acknowledges that local fire departments do not have enough specialized training to deal with these incidents. That’s why he started his nonprofit: to provide a resource for fire departments to get outside help and “transition to the new world.”

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Brooks, executive director of the Center for Vehicle Safety, thought it was “ridiculous” to blame firefighters for not knowing how to open a car.

“It’s not the firefighters’ fault that Tesla chose electronic door latches without proper emergency protections,” he said.

Tesla has doors that release manually when you’re in the car and can’t get out, but they’re not marked unlike seat belts and airbags. Brooks said it was Tesla’s choice of “form over function” and was ultimately “unsafe.”

“In the absence of a federal standard that dictates how these vehicles must be manufactured, Tesla rarely chooses safe routes,” Brooks noted. “They usually choose something shiny: security comes last.”

Brooks said the incident contributed to an overall “failure in Tesla’s safety culture.” Earlier this year, Tesla had to recall nearly 2.2 million cars of every model sold since 2012. Last year, Angela Chao, a shipping industry CEO and sister-in-law of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, died while driving a Tesla. A lake and trapped.

However, Klimkoski found it unfair to blame Tesla for the problem faced by all vehicles with electric-door release systems. He said Tesla is showing its way to making toe-to-toe clear and obvious to first responders.

But there are thousands of first responders and at least 150 different types of vehicles; Firefighters can’t be expected to memorize every vehicle’s safety procedures, Brooks said. Tesla shouldn’t hide their safety features for looks.

Sanchez, for his part, sided with Brooks’ camp, saying Tesla needs better emergency systems and more education for first responders. He was an earlier fan of Tesla, but this episode turned him away from the company.

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“I give Tesla props. When it works, it’s great. But when it doesn’t, it’s dangerous,” Sanchez said.

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