Every year approximately 5,000 Australian children are rescued from parked cars. Three-quarters of these children are under four years old. Leaving children unattended in the car, even for a short time, can be fatal. Even on a cool day the temperature in a parked car can be over 30 degrees hotter than outside. In fact, 75 percent of the total temperature rise can occur within the first 5 minutes of parking.
Children are at greater risk as they do not tolerate heat as well as adults and tend to feel the effects more rapidly. This could lead to dehydration and
other health risks. Children may also become emotionally distressed when left alone.
Here are some of the key ways you can reduce the risk:
- Never leave your child unattended in a car.
- Plan to complete quick jobs when you don’t have children with you.
- Seek ‘pay at the pump’ fuel stations.
- Provide plenty of cool fluids, preferably water, on car trips.
- Plan journeys for the cooler hours of the day.
- Ensure cars are locked and the keys are out of reach of children to prevent them gaining access to the car.
To raise awareness and reduce the number of children left unattended in cars, Kidsafe WA have designed car park signs that can be purchased by organisations. These are ideally suited for car parks at parks, recreation centres, community centres, libraries, beaches, swimming pools, entertainment venues, shopping complexes and schools. The signs can be installed to remind community members to take their children with them.
Car park signs take approximately 2-3 weeks to manufacture and can be ordered via the order form on the Kidsafe WA website.