Vic paramedics warn of hot car danger to children

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TAGS Safety kids and cars Vic paramedics warn of hot car danger to children

17 December 2015 by Grant McArthur · News Corp Australia network

Three Victorian children have died since 2011 after being left in hot cars.

The number of children having to be treated after being trapped in hot cars has soared by more than 40 per cent in the past year.

As the mercury rises again, the can reveal paramedics were called to a record 1531 instances of children being locked in hot cars — up more than 30 per cent from the 1165 in 2014.

Even more alarming were the 194 serious cases where Ambulance Victoria paramedics had to treat children at the scene after freeing them from cars — up 42 per cent from the 136 last year.

In the eight worst incidents children had to be taken to hospital due to serious illnesses and injuries, prompting a blunt warning from Ambulance Victoria's director of emergency management, Paul Holman.

"If people continue with this complacent attitude that we have in sections of the community, where they knowingly leave their kids in the car, we are going to see to see fatal consequences," he said.

Children are especially vulnerable as their body temperatures rise up to five times faster than those of adults

"Even though you think you're only going to be a couple of minutes anything could happen, and people are just taking chances with their children's health and wellbeing," he said.But in a positive trend, Mr Holman believes part of the increase in overall reports is due to the greater awareness of the dangers, allowing paramedics to arrive before their condition deteriorates further.

More than 370 babies under a year old had to be freed by paramedics between September 2014 and August 31 2015, up 50 per cent on the previous year. Nine out of 10 people locked in cars were under four.

Paramedics warn kids will die in hot cars unless parents heed warnings.

In the hottest months of the year, between November and March, paramedics received an average of five calls a day.

On a 29C day the temperature inside a car can rise to 44C within 10 minutes and above 60C in 20 minutes.

Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos said children were especially vulnerable as their body temperatures rise up to five times faster than those of adults.

"Research shows that many parents just don't realise how quickly the temperature jumps in a parked car," she said.

"Hot cars can kill. I urge all parents to never leave kids unattended in cars — there are no excuses and no exceptions."

Offenders can face a fine of up to $3960 and even jail.

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