Arizona toddler rescued after getting trapped in a Tesla with a dead battery

A Tesla Model Y.
Image: Tesla

A 20-month old child was rescued after being trapped in a Tesla Model Y in Scottsdale, Arizona — where temperatures have exceeded 100 degrees this week — after its 12-volt battery died, according to a report from Arizona’s Family.

The child was safely removed from the car after firefighters used an axe to smash through a window. But the issue raises concerns about why there isn’t an easy way to open the car from the outside when its 12-volt battery — the one that powers things like its door locks and windows — loses power.

The car’s owner, Renee Sanchez, was taking her granddaughter to the zoo, but after loading the child in the Model Y, she closed the door and wasn’t able to open it again. “My phone key wouldn’t open it,” Sanchez said in an interview with Arizona’s Family. “My car key wouldn’t open it.” She called emergency services, and firefighters were dispatched to help.

It is possible to open doors in a Model Y if you’re inside the vehicle when it has no power; there’s a latch to open a front door and a cable to open a back door. But that wasn’t an option for the young child, who was buckled into their carseat while Sanchez was stuck outside the car. You can jumpstart a dead Tesla to be able to get into it, but it can be a complex process.

Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment; it has dissolved its press office.

Earlier this week, Arizona’s Family reported on an instance of a woman getting trapped in her Model Y, though she was able to get out of the car once she learned of the latch. Last year, an Arizona driver said he was trapped in his Model Y on a hot day and got out thanks to help from his sister.

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