Leaving children in hot cars ‘unacceptable’

AUTHORITIES have warned of the serious dangers of leaving children locked inside hot cars.

A number of call-outs in Bendigo in recent weeks have prompted a reminder of the consequences of when children are left inside cars on days of extreme heat.

Sergeant Tony Kekich said people need to be aware of the risks.

He said most call-outs were to supermarket carparks and were completely accidental, but said they had the potential to be far worse on days when the temperature soared up to 40 degrees.

Between January and December 2012, RACV patrols were called out to 1644 cases across Victoria of children and animals locked in cars.

RACV general manager of public policy Brian Negus said leaving children locked inside cars was extremely dangerous.

“In these extreme temperatures the interior of a stationary vehicle, even when parked in the shade, can become a death trap,” he said. “Temperatures can skyrocket to a lethal 60 degrees within minutes regardless of whether windows are left open.”

Mr Negus said it was extremely disappointing motorists were failing to heed the message that locking children in cars was a life-threatening decision.

“Particularly with vulnerable small children, it is extremely dangerous and clearly unacceptable,” he said.

“Many parents give their keys to their child to play with but this is a dangerous practice as children can accidentally lock the car.”

Kidsafe Victoria President Robert Caulfield said it was something that needed to be a topic of conversation among families and communities.

He said on a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature.

“The clear message is to take the children with you, even if you think you will only be gone for a few minutes,” he said. 

Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a baby girl who was found inside a car in Bendigo in December.

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