Thinking of leaving your child alone in the car while you nip into the shops? Tasmania Police have a message for you: “It’s illegal, don’t do it.”
Inspector Darren Hopkins said it was not only against the law to leave a child alone in a car, but it also risked their health.
“Even on a 25 to 26 degree day, cars can still heat up in the sun to the point of being fatal,” Inspector Hopkins said.
“It’s not ok to go for two minutes or to just leave the windows down.”
While it was rare to receive an alert about a child in a car, police would attend straight away, while trying to contact the car’s owner, he said.
If they could not be contacted, police would force entry if necessary, he said.
Ambulance Tasmania aero-medical and special operations manager Garry White said staff were called to help a child with heatstroke who has been left in a vehicle on a hot day from time to time.
“Parents or guardians need to be aware that on a hot day, it can only take minutes for the interior of a car to heat to temperatures that can cause heat stroke,” Mr White said.
Treatment was focused on cooling the child to reduce their core temperature to a safe level as quickly as possible and re-hydrating them, he said.
Younger children were more vulnerable to harm from excessive heat.
“Severe heat stroke can cause seizures, brain damage and even death.”
If a child was in a locked vehicle, Ambulance Tasmania worked alongside Tasmania Police and Tasmania Fire Service to gain access to the child, he said.