A summer warning

January 06, 2018

Parents are being warned not to leave their children in cars this summer as new statistics reveal the top postcodes for ambulance call-outs to children stuck in vehicles.

In Shepparton, local paramedics were called to 15 reports of people locked in vehicles in the 12 months to August 31, 2017.

Concerning new data shows Ambulance Victoria responded to 1696 call-outs across Victoria in the year to August, with the vast majority involving toddlers and babies left in cars.

‘‘It is never safe to leave anyone in a car and children are particularly at risk as they can’t regulate their body temperature as easily as adults,’’ Acting Western Hume Group manager Bec Hance said.

There were also five reports of people locked in vehicles in Kialla and one in Mooroopna.

‘‘Many of the cases we’re called to are accidents where the child and keys are locked in the car, but some appear to be deliberate,’’ Ms Hance said.

‘‘Given how much education there is now about the dangers it is disappointing that people still decide to take the risk.’’

Sadly, three children in Victoria have died in hot cars in the past few years.

‘‘Our paramedics are also mothers and fathers ... no paramedic wants to go to work and treat a sick young child who has been locked in a car,’’ Ms Hance said.

‘‘Ambulance Victoria has done tests which show on a 29°C day the temperature inside a car can reach 44°C within 10 minutes, and 60°C in 20 minutes.

‘‘Twenty minutes passes by faster than people think and can have disastrous consequences.

‘‘Even if you think you will just be a few minutes, there’s always a chance you can be delayed and that can put your child in danger.’’

In Victoria, it is against the law to leave children unattended with offenders facing fines of up to $3900 or jail for six months, or both.

The top five postcodes for call-outs were Werribee (43 call outs), Narre Warren (42), Tarneit (41), Pakenham (38) and Frankston South (34).

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