A series of recent reports of children being left in hot cars has led to calls for more campaigning to be done to educate people about the dangers.
In Victoria alone, 225 cases of children being left in hot cars were reported by paramedic figures in December of 2015.
That figure looks to be rising too, with 161 call outs made during December in the year prior. On one particular day, when 13 calls were made to paramedics, the mercury levels hit 37 degrees.
Considering the temperature inside a car left in the sun can be between 20 and 30 degrees hotter than outside, the temperature in the car on that day could easily have been from 57 to 67 degrees.
The most horrifying thing about all this, though, is hearing that there has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of babies locked in hot cars unattended. More than 370 babies under the age of 1 had to be rescued from hot cars in Victoria between September 2014 and Aug. 31, 2015.
One woman has been charged after leaving her 2-year-old in a car for approximately an hour in Bankstown.
It was a particularly hot day of around 35 degrees when police were called to the car park where the child was trapped. They forced entry into the car, after which the child was taken to hospital by paramedics.
The mother, who was inside a shopping centre at the time, was paged and alerted, while her child was distressed and treated for dehydration.
It takes just 15 minutes for a child to suffer from brain damage, kidney failure and ultimately death in a hot car, that’s about just as long as it takes to run into the shops and grab a loaf of bread and some milk.
“There is no safe amount of time to leave children alone in the car,” says Nathan Allen, an emergency medicine doctor at the University of Chicago.
“Kids are more susceptible and at higher risk for heat-related illness and injury than adults because their bodies make more heat relative to their size and their abilities to cool through sweating are not as developed as adults’ [abilities].”
According to Kidsafe Victoria, this is what the public should do if we ever see a child alone in a car.
- First, look for the parents and see if they are close by
- If not, call 000
- Wait for paramedics to arrive
If you do need to leave the car, no matter how long it’s for, always keep your child with you.