Little girls left in a hot car

EDITORIAL: How many times must parents be warned? 

TWO young children were left in a car in searing temperatures at Cobram yesterday while their mum went to get bread and milk, police said.

The mother, aged in her late 20s, could face charges of leaving her children unattended.

She was among 20 cases of parents reported leaving their children in cars across Victoria in the past two days during a heatwave.

Sen-Constable Mary-Jane Kane said staff or shoppers at Woolworths at Cobram reported seeing a girl, 5, and a baby aged 18 months in the car alone about 12.30pm when temperatures nudged 40 degrees.

Police, firefighters and ambulance paramedics found the car had been left running with the air conditioning on.

“The car was running and air conditioning was on, not that you could tell that when you first arrived,” Sen-Constable Kane said.

“The younger one was distressed and hot, the older one seemed to be quite mature but certainly concerned when they were suddenly surrounded by the ambos, firies and police.”

Sen-Constable Kane said the girls had been left in the car unattended for about 10 minutes.

She said the mother allegedly told police she left her children in the car while she went into the supermarket to pick up bread and milk.

“It is an offence to leave children unattended in Victoria and particularly on a hot day like today, you shouldn’t be leaving children or even pets,” Sen-Constable Kane said.

Investigations were continuing.

KidSafe Victoria’s Melanie Courtney said there had been 20 such cases this week.

“Leaving a child alone on any day can be dangerous, but particularly when we’ve got the heatwave this week,” Ms Courtney said.

She said temperatures can reach 20 to 30 degrees hotter in a car.

Even leaving children in cars with air conditioning on presents issues such as cars stolen with children inside and children accidentally releasing handbrakes.

Ms Courtney urged anyone who sees children left unattended to call triple-0 straight away.

“Don’t waste any time, particularly in this heat,” she said.

“It doesn’t take long for children’s systems to shut down.”

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