A three-year-old girl was trapped inside an automated portable toilet for over an hour in extreme heat until police forced the door open.

Hannah Hoyne, three, was with her nanny and two sisters, aged five and six, in Ward Park in Sydney’s Surry Hills when she became trapped in a toilet block just after 4pm as temperatures reached 32 degrees.

Her mother, Senta Hoyne, told Daily Mail Australia the family’s nanny was standing outside with the other two girls as Hannah used the toilet when the door closed, switched into its ‘out of service’ mode and locked.

Ms Hoyne said she rushed to the park as her nanny frantically tried to open the door and called the toilet’s contractor JCDecaux for help.

‘She was screaming quite loud for quite a long time before I arrived,’ Ms Hoyne said.

‘It was a hot day and she was stuck in a stinky toilet.’

Ms Hoyne said she became worried when the provider’s technician had not arrived after a while and claims they did not show up for over an hour.

The mum-of-three said the provider on the emergency line repeatedly told her a tech was almost on site and discouraged her from calling the police.

‘I was really disappointed that it wasn’t handled as an emergency,’ Ms Hoyne said.

‘There is an emergency number on the door and the person who answers it should know how to act.’

Ms Hoyne said she became increasingly worried about the ventilation inside the toilet and her frantic daughter so she called the police.

‘Within a few minutes they [the police] had arrived and used their baton to crack a hole in the door – Hannah was a bit happier when she could see and hear us better.

‘She was covered in urine when she came out,’ Ms Hoyne said, but said her daughter is pretty tough and feeling fine now.

A contractor technician showed up around 5.25pm – almost half an hour after police had broken Hannah free from the toilet.

‘I just wish that the person on the other end of the phone had told us the truth about how long a technician would be so we as her caregivers could make an informed choice,’ Ms Hoyne said.

Poor little poppet. It must have been quite frightening for her.

Have you experienced anything similar?

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Image via Daily Mail

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  • That poor little girl who was very frightened. How dare those technicians take so long to respond. I’m appalled by the phone operator and glad eventually they called the police who were able to fairly quickly let her out.


  • What a terrible thing to have happen – bet that poor child will be worried in public toilets for the rest of her life.


  • I have always had concerns what would happen if there is a power failure while somebody is in one of them. It would be even harder to break into a eco friendly permanent structure. I think the doors of them are metal. I hate using them. There is 4 playgrounds within walking distance of my place. Only one has a toilet. Some people who visit the other playgrounds wouldn’t be aware that there’s a toilet in the area.


  • What a frightening experience !! Not acceptable they had to wait this long, good they called the police !


  • Oh how scary. Poor darling. As they get older they like to have a bit of independence but it looks like the toilets are different from your usual toilets. I guess its computerised if it can just switch to out of service mode like that.


  • my 3 year old wouldn’t have been in there by himself and if he did get locked in i would break the door with anything I could find, i would not have sat there waiting for over an hour


  • Glad she’s ok. I used to hold the door ajar for my daughter and hide her from view as she wouldn’t go in a portaloo otherwise – can’t say i blame her.


  • Poor child. I would have expected the contractor technician to come earlier. It was an emergency after all!

    • A horrible situation and I would have thought this would be the case too!


  • I am not a fan of port loos for a good many reasons. A horrible experience for the poor child. As a child was trapped I would have called the police for assistance. Traumatic for the adults too.


  • I am paranoid about those porta loos, always have been. Now I have a good reason to back up my paranoia


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