‘leaving a child unattended in a hot car is a criminal offence’
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 statistics from the RACV showing that 1574 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 degrees 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 degree day with the car’s air conditioning having cooled the interior to a comfortable 20 degrees showed it took just 10 minutes for the temperature to more than double to 44 degrees and in a further 10 minutes it had tripled to a deadly 60.2 degrees.
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 and up to three months in prison.
Information for parents and carers about the impact of leaving a child in a hot car is available on the Kidsafe website at www.kidsafevic.com.au