In Health

Victoria Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell

Minister Issues Warning On Leaving Children In Hot Cars

Victor P Taffa

Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell has urged parents not to leave their children in cars during hot weather with the attendant risk of death or serious injury.

With a forecast for New Years Day of 35 °, a forecast temperature of 40 ° tomorrow, and statistics from the RACV showing that 1,574 children were rescued from cars in Victoria in the last 12 months, Ms. Lovell warned that over summer children’s lives can be endangered within a couple of minutes during a hot day.

“Due to their smaller body size and underdeveloped nervous system, children are unable to cool their body temperature down, leaving them more exposed to risks of dehydration, serious injury and death.” Ms. Lovell said.

“The temperature inside a parked car during the Australian summer can be 20 to 30 ° hotter than the outside temperature.”

“I urge parents, grandparents and other carers to always take their children with them and never leave them in the car even if you think you’ll only be gone a few minutes.”

Tests conducted by Ambulance Victoria on a 29 ° day with the car’s air conditioning having cooled the interior to a comfortable 20 ° showed it took just 10 minutes for the temperature to more than double to 44 ° and in a further 10 minutes it had tripled to a deadly 60.2 °.

Leaving the window down a few centimetres does little.

Victorian legislation now makes leaving a child unattended in a car a criminal offence, with penalties ranging from fines of up to $1,652 to three months in prison.

Victorian President of Kidsafe Robert Caulfield echoed Ms. Lovell’s call for ongoing action on kids in hot cars.

“The clear message is take the children with you, even if you are just going to the shops for a few minutes. It could save their life or avoid them suffering severe brain damage.” Mr. Caulfield said.

The fact sheet Kids in Hot Cars provides information and advice for parents about summer safety issues including:

  • Always take children with you – even if you only intend to leave the car for a brief time
  • Keep the keys with the driver – never leave them with the child, in the ignition, or place them on a car seat
  • Never let children play with keys or access an unattended vehicle
  • Check the vehicle is empty before remote locking – it is easy to make a mistake and unintentionally lock children in the car

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