Parents in northern Victoria are being warned not to leave their children in cars this summer as temperatures rise.
Concerning new data shows Ambulance Victoria responded to 1696 call-outs across Victoria in the year to August 2017.
Acting Sergeant Tania Hall at Cobram Police Station said commonsense must prevail when it came to leaving children in cars.
‘‘Not long ago I witnessed a kid left on his own with the car still running while his mum was in the supermarket doing her shopping. Not only is it dangerous, it is also illegal,’’ she said.
In Victoria, it is against the law to leave children unattended, with offenders facing fines of up to $3900 or six months’ jail, or both.
Sgt Hall said she had also encountered situations in which distressed animals were left in cars.
She said even in lower temperatures, there was no excuse for leaving children or animals in cars and police would not hesitate to smash a car window to free them if necessary.
The Victorian Government is heavily promoting the Never Leave Kids in Cars campaign, designed to increase awareness and remind parents just how easy it is to underestimate the time it can take to run a quick errand.
A car’s temperature can more than double within minutes, meaning on a typical summer’s day the temperature inside a parked car can quickly become 20°C to 30°C hotter than outside.
A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than that of an adult, meaning they are at greater risk of life-threatening heatstroke, dehydration and organ damage when left in a car.
On average, four children a day are put at risk of serious heat-related injury or death by being left unattended in parked cars.