ACT Policing and the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) have issued a warning on the dangers of leaving children unattended in parked cars, after a three-year-old child was rescued from a hot car on Monday 5 October.
“Most Canberrans will be familiar with the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car, but it doesn’t take a 40-degree day for disaster to strike,” said Belconnen Patrol Sergeant David Wills.
“It was only about 25 degrees on Monday but the inside of a car sitting in the sun can reach critical temperatures in a matter of minutes.
“Even if you only plan to be away from the vehicle for a short time, a young child can quickly dehydrate and lapse into unconsciousness with potentially fatal consequences,” Sergeant Wills said.
Police attended the carpark of a Belconnen business at about 3.50pm on Monday 5 October after reports a child had spent more than 20 minutes in the back of the parked car.
“While it may be difficult to bring your child with you, leaving them behind in a car is potentially extremely dangerous,” said ACT Ambulance Service Acting General Manager, Rebecca Lundy.
She said children are highly susceptible to the effects of heat, and in an enclosed vehicle, temperatures can rise very rapidly.
“If a child is showing symptoms of dehydration or heat stress it’s important to seek immediate medical attention, cool them by applying cool, wet towels around the neck and underarms and if conscious, to give cool fluids (preferably water) to drink, as soon as possible.”
ACT Policing said it is an offence to knowingly or recklessly leave a child unattended in circumstances or for a length of time that could result in injury, sickness or other danger. The maximum penalty for the offence is on year imprisonment or a $15,000 fine.