New Victorian laws could see parents who leave children in unattended cars face a six month jail term – or a fine of up to $3690.
Changes to the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, introduced by the Victorian Coalition Government, will double the jail time for leaving a child unattended.
Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell said the changes would also increase the maximum fine from 15 penalty units to 25 penalty units, with fines increasing from $2214 to $3690.
“Despite a No Exceptions No Excuses awareness campaign with Kidsafe Victoria earlier this year, a significant number of parents still leave their children unattended,” Ms Lovell said.
“This is especially relevant ahead of months with extreme weather, when leaving a child in a hot car – even for a few moments – can have devastating results.”
Ms Lovell said parents could lose track of time while shopping or unloading their car, or don't want to wake their child while they are sleeping in the back seat.
“Whatever the reasons – there’s simply no excuses for leaving a child unattended,” she said.
Ambulance Victoria is called to around 1000 cases a year of children left in cars. Around 30 of those end up in hospital, and tragically two babies have died in recent years.
Research has found that on a 29 degree day the temperature in a locked car rises to 44 degrees in 10 minutes and to 60 degrees within 20 minutes.
“The Napthine government is taking decisive action and sending a message to parents that it is never okay to leave a child unattended in a car."