PARENTS CONTINUE TO IGNORE WARNINGS ABOUT HOT CARS

Ahead of this weekend’s forecast hot temperatures, the Andrews Labor Government is urging parents not to leave children unattended in parked cars.

Paramedics have been called to 200 cases of kids being left in cars across Victoria since the start of the year, and new research shows one in three parents admit to leaving their child alone in a vehicle during hot weather.

The survey of 1,000 Victorian parents found that making a quick trip into a convenience store or takeaway food outlet was the main reason parents left children alone in parked cars.

Despite the risks, 44 per cent still believe it’s reasonable to leave their child in a parked car when the temperature is between 25 and 30 degrees.

However, the temperature inside a car increases as soon as the door is closed and can double within minutes. This means that when it’s 30 degrees outside, the temperature inside the car can hit 60 degrees almost immediately.

The survey also shows many parents underestimate the dangers of leaving children alone in a parked car during summer, with almost half believing it would take more than five minutes for their child to feel the impact of the heat.

Given that a young child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s, this places them at greater risk of life threatening heatstroke, dehydration and other health risks when left in a parked car.

The Labor Government has joined child safety organisation Kidsafe to try to increase parents’ awareness of the dangers of leaving children in parked cars during summer.

The ‘No Exceptions, No Excuses’ campaign features online and radio advertising as well as an information campaign coordinated through schools, children’s centres and community organisations.

The Government has also taken swift action to bring into force tough new penalties for adults who leave children unattended in hot cars, with increased fines of $3690 and/or six months jail.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos

“Parents are continuing to put their children’s lives at risk, by leaving them unattended in the car during summer.”

“I don’t know how we can make it any clearer: leaving a child in a parked car in hot weather can be fatal.”

“If you are travelling with a child and you need to get out of the car, even if it’s just for a moment, make sure you take them with you. It’s not worth the risk.”