The Victorian Government have launched an advertising campaign focussing on the harmful effects of heat on children.
No Exceptions, No Excuses highlights the risks of leaving children in cars even for a few minutes.
The campaign’s safety messages remind families and care givers that:
•A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s because of their underdeveloped immune system.
•On a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the temperature outside.
•Leaving the car windows down slightly has little effect on the inside temperature.
Families and care givers are most at risk of ‘fatal distraction’ (when a child is unintentionally left in the car with fatal consequences) if stressed, fatigued or there is a change in routine.
Drivers are advised to leave essential items such as handbags or wallets in the back seat to remind them to take their child with them.
Ambulance Victoria figures show paramedics were called to 225 cases of children left in cars last month. That is just in Victoria. Every year across Australia, over 5,000 kids are left unattended in cars.
Kidsafe spokesperson Kellie Wilson said “It’s estimated that each year approximately 5000 children nationally are rescued from hot cars.”
“Seventy-five per cent of the temperature rise occurs within the first five minutes of parking the car and 90 per cent within 15 minutes,” Ms Wilson says.
Parents or carers who leave their children unattended in a car can face fines up to $3700 and six months’ jail.
Acting Premier James Merlino said the community was being urged to take the safety message seriously.
“We continue to face hot conditions this summer – there are no excuses for leaving kids in cars,” he said.
UPDATE 13 January – Rebecca Judd backs the latest campaign
Rebecca Judd has joined the latest campaigning, urging parents not to leave their children in hot cars even if it is to get ‘a litre of milk or a loaf of bread’ as temperatures can double within just minutes inside a vehicle.
‘I know getting kids out of cars is not the most fun of times,’ Judd told Channel Nine’s Today.
‘It can be very awkward at times but the consequences can be fatal.
‘Kids can get very sick, their little immune systems can’t deal with the heat as well as adults.
‘They can get very sick in a very short amount of time.
‘It’s just a risk we can’t take for what – a litre of milk or a loaf of bread from the shop? It’s not worth it.’
Temperatures are forecast to exceed 40 degrees on Wednesday. PLEASE don’t take the risk. Get the kids out and take them with you no matter how long the errand will take.
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