By Hayley Derwort
An incident over the weekend in which a young child was allegedly left locked in a car for more than half an hour in suburban Palmyra while his mother did her shopping could be far more than an isolated case.
Statistics released by Kidsafe Western Australia show that over the past 12 months, 570 WA children, or more than 10 a week, are being left inside locked cars.
It’s a practice that experts warn could be extremely dangerous.
On a typical Australian summers day the temperature inside a locked vehicle can rocket up to at least 30 degrees higher than the outside temperature.
At least 50 per cent of this temperature increase happens within the first five minutes.
Scott Phillips, president of Kidsafe WA, said quite often it is people’s busier lifestyles that can lead to the increasing regularity of such incidents.
“There’s a huge embarrassment factor and the huge legal factor and quite often we wonder how much we miss,” Mr Phillips said.
The younger the child the higher the danger, according to Kidsafe, with children’s smaller bodies losing water a lot quicker than an adult or teenager.
This staggering statistic comes just as WA starts off into its warmer weather this spring with temperatures expecting to be in the mid 20’s for most of the week.
Maida Vale mother of three Mel Fleming called the idea of leaving kids in a hot car ‘stupid’.
“In a hot country such as ours why would you leave your kids in a locked car?” Mrs Fleming said. “It’s just a stupid thing to do.”
Scott Phillips believes there’s a very simple solution.
“It’s just smarter not to leave kids in the car at all.”
A video from Kidsafe WA about kids and car safety.