Summer heat warning: Never leave kids in cars

​Australia is about to have a hotter summer than usual, so now it's important as ever to remember: never leave your kids in the car.

Every year, Ambulance Victoria is called out to respond to children left in cars. Leaving children alone in cars is dangerous anytime, but it can have serious consequences on hot days.

Never leave kids in cars

That's why every summer, we remind you to Never Leave Kids in Cars.

Kidsafe General Manager Jason Chambers says there's a common misconception that leaving kids in the car for a short time is okay, but it can pose a serious child injury issue.

'We often think, 'I'll only be a couple of minutes', just quickly going to the bank or post office or ducking into the supermarket,' Jason says. 'We think we're only going to be a couple of minutes, but once we get in, wait in line - it can be well over that five to ten minute period. Realistically, it takes a bit longer than that.'

But even in a short time, temperatures inside a car can double the temperature outside and put young children at risk. Jason says the inside of a car can be 20 to 30 degrees hotter than it is outside.

In Victoria, it is against the law to leave a child unattended in a car. Penalties include fines, or up to six months' jail. But the cost to families can be far higher.

'Young children can't regulate their temperatures like adults can,' Jason says. 'They can become dehydrated, they can get heat exhaustion and heat stress. For young children, that can even become  fatal.'

Jason says there's a few things that parents can do to make sure their kids stay safe:

  • Always bring your child with you, even when you're only running a short errand. 'Take them out with you at all times,' Jason says.
  • Always keep your keys on you. 'Kids are sometimes given the keys to play with and they might accidentally press the lock button,' Jason explains. 'And a lot of new cars are self locking – and sometimes the keys have been locked in the car with children.'
  • Keep cool. 'Try to travel during times of the day when it is a bit cooler,' Jason says. 'Make sure kids have plenty of fluids and are protected from sun coming through the window.'

The Never Leave Kids in Cars campaign has been running since 2014 to keep kids safe – and it's working. According to Ambulance Victoria the incidents of children being locked in cars has decreased from 1,696 to 1,587 between September 2017-August 2018. Stay informed at Never Leave Kids in Cars.