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Alarm at number of children locked in vehicles

22 Nov 2017


With temperatures rising, NSW Ambulance has issued a warning following a spike in the number of children locked in cars, including four today.

Since September 1, paramedics have been called to 81 children trapped in vehicles across the state, an average of about one child a day.

NSW Ambulance Chief Inspector Brian Parsell said temperatures inside vehicles can soar to well over 50 degrees.

“I recorded the temperature inside a car for some internal research last summer and it reached 78 degrees in just minutes,” he said.

“Babies and small children are unable to regulate their body temperature as efficiently as adults. They absorb more heat from the environment than they can dissipate.

“This situation can quickly cause damage to body cells leading to unconsciousness, shock, organ failure and death. Even in milder temperatures, children and babies can get sick very quickly.”

Chief Insp Parsell said in some cases children had been locked in cars accidentally and urged parents to be extra vigilant.

“Be mindful of vehicle security systems, in particular the location of keyless fobs which can lock cars if left inside the vehicle,” he said.

Inspector Parsell was on scene at Glenwood on Christmas Eve last year when a three-year-old girl died after being left in a vehicle. “It only takes a few minutes and the consequences can be catastrophic,” he said.

Chief Insp Parsell said no matter how quick a person thinks they are going to be, they should never intentionally leave a child – or pets - unattended in a car.

“The effort it takes to bring your child with you is nothing compared to the trauma of your child being left in an overheated vehicle.”

If people find a distressed child locked in a car dial Triple Zero (000) immediately and ask for Ambulance. Stay on the line until paramedics arrive.


Incidents since September 1, 2017

1/9 Beecroft 2 year old boy Distressed. Locked in car.
5/9 Mt Druitt Child Locked in car
7/9 Haywards Bay 19 month old baby Locked in car
12/9 Church Point 15 month old baby Locked in car
13/9 Oatley 4 year old and 21 month old Locked in car
13/9 Kings Park 1 child Locked in car
18/9 Sydney Olympic Park 3 year old boy Sweaty
22/9 Scone 2 x children Locked in car
22/9 Old Toongabbie 7 month old girl Child screaming, locked in car
23/9 Singleton 12 month old baby In car, assessed by paramedics
23/9 Yagoona 2 year old boy Hot, vomiting, transported to hospital
24/9 Hurstville 7 month old baby Child hot
24/9 Lugarno 15 month old boy Uninjured
25/9 Casula 4 month old baby Locked in car
25/9 Glenwood 2 year old girl Child inside with car keys
28/9 Wiley Park 10 month old baby Crying