LUCKY ESCAPE: Nicolette (left), Chloe, Joseph (middle left) and Audrey Stewart, both seven months. Baby Joseph was trapped in a car after a locking fault. Picture: Linzie Russo Photography (Inset: Contributed)
LUCKY ESCAPE: Nicolette (left), Chloe, Joseph (middle left) and Audrey Stewart, both seven months. Baby Joseph was trapped in a car after a locking fault. Picture: Linzie Russo Photography (Inset: Contributed)

Parents’ nightmare as baby caught in hot car death trap

A YOUNG Sunshine Coast family has slammed car manufacturer Nissan after their baby son "could have died" when the car self-locked with the keys still inside.

Chloe Stewart had taken seven-month-old Joseph and his twin sister, Audrey, to the doctor on January 14 after he came down with a fever.

After visiting the GP, she returned to her Nissan Pathfinder in the carpark and unlocked it using the smart button on the door, placed her bag and key on the front seat and closed the door, which she said was a regular routine. She then secured Joseph into his baby seat and closed his passenger door. But when she went to put Audrey in her baby seat, Mrs Stewart realised the doors had all self-locked.

Seven-month-old twins Joesph and Audrey Stewart.
Seven-month-old twins Joesph and Audrey Stewart.

Panicked, Mrs Stewart called her local Nissan dealer, who she says told her to call emergency services.

"I was in tears and feeling helpless as Joseph was clearly getting more distressed with each passing second," she said.

Fifteen minutes later, police arrived and smashed through the front passenger window to gain access to Joseph. The relieved mother held her son to her chest as a police officer poured water over his head to cool him down. Luckily, he was unharmed.

Police smashed through the window to gain access to baby Joseph.
Police smashed through the window to gain access to baby Joseph.

"We were the lucky ones, Mrs Stewart said. "Joseph is still with us and unharmed."

Mrs Stewart said going through Nissan to repair the car had been "another trauma all together".

She said she and her wife, Nicolette, had spent more than a week trying to sort the issue, having more than 30 phone calls with "incredibly frustrating arguments".

Mrs Stewart told the Daily, Nissan had told her the locking mechanism was faulty and they were repairing it under the car's warranty. But she says she feels "let down in every way" by Nissan and felt the fault was a serious safety issue that should be examined, claiming the lockout protection "cannot be trusted".

Chloe Stewart and her seven-month-old son, Joseph. Photo: Solis Photos
Chloe Stewart and her seven-month-old son, Joseph. Photo: Solis Photos

"I also feel a responsibility to inform other families about this incident as it's a serious safety issue for others with young children," she said.

A Nissan Australia spokeswoman said the company had agreed to repair the locking mechanism and were in regular contact with Mrs Stewart to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

While the family waits for a solution, local business RaD Car Hire Sunshine Coast has offered a hire car to the family until their car is repaired.



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