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Mom urges use of child locks after toddler's escape

Little girl ended up a mile from home in middle of night after she got door open

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A young mother hopes to draw attention to the importance of child locks in homes after her 2-year-old daughter managed to slip away in the middle of the night and wander all the way outside the neighborhood.

Caitlin Crosby said her daughter, Kapri, was found a mile from her home after almost being hit by a driver. That driver spotted the child and called police.

Crosby said it was a terrifying ordeal, and she doesn't want other parents to have the startling experience happen to them.

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Crosby said she'd describe Kapri (pictured) as a handful.

"She's very strong-willed, as you can see," Crosby said. "If she gets her mind set on something, she's going to do it."

Just last week, the toddler did something Crosby said she'd never done before.

"She was sleeping here, and she walked out right here between the bed and the dresser, out the bedroom door, through the living room, and out the front door," Crosby said.

She said last Monday she and her husband were woken up by the police department.

"They asked us if we had a little girl with blond curly hair, and I looked at her down in her bed, and she wasn't there," Crosby said.

At 3:45 in the morning, little Kapri had left her bed, traveled through the living room and managed to unlock the front door. According to police, the toddler made it a mile down the road to a subdivision where her grandmother lives before she was spotted by a passerby, who called police.

"By the grace of God, they found our house," Crosby said. "They said he ended up riding by, saw our front door was wide open and figured that's where it was."

Kapri was returned safely, but now Crosby wants others to take precautions before the same thing happens to them.

She said she and her husband installed padlocks and chain locks on all their doors the day after Kapri's frightening adventure.

"We made sure she wasn't able to squeeze through the door when you opened it, so if she did get it open, she definitely can't squeeze through that (with the chain lock now)," Crosby said.

She even secured the knobs with child restraints.

"It's hard for her to get, because she doesn't know how to put her two fingers in and twist to open it," Crosby said.

Crosby said she's grateful to the person who called police and saved Kapri's life.

"I don't know what I would say if I saw him in person right now," Crosby said. "I would want to hug him and thank him for giving me a chance to have my daughter back home with me and my husband."

After the incident, the Department of Children and Families was called to the home to make sure things were safe.

DCF said parents should use any lock that says "child safety lock" on it. They can be purchased at hardware stores like ACE.

DCF officials also recommend parents place an alarm or something that will make a sound outside the door, so they can tell when the door is opened.