Hot car can kill, warns Fuery

TOUGHER penalties and greater scrutiny should be placed on people who leave children in cars on hot days, says Wodonga ambulance branch manager Mike Fuery.

His comment comes after dozens of cases in last week heatwave have the government considering harsher penalties.

Ambulance Victoria said 39 children were left in hot cars as Victoria sweltered with four consecutive days above 41 degrees, and over the full week 60 cases had been reported.

“We endeavour to educate people the best we can, but it comes down to people being responsible and realising the outcome is likely to be fatal,” Mr Fuery said.

“Most people do the right thing but for those who don’t, there needs to be more deterrence.”

Among the most recent cases include two children under five years old left in a car while their father placed a bet.

There was also a man who left four children under 10 years in a car while he went to buy alcohol.

People can be jailed for three months or fined up to $2165 for leaving a child in a car on a hot day, but the state government is considering toughening penalties to further deter people.

“It’s not a glaring problem here on the Border, but from a state perspective, the problem is far more significant,” Mr Fuery said.

“Perhaps a greater level of scrutiny needs to be placed on their parenting skills, making sure neglectful behaviour does not happen in the home.”

Ambulance Victoria chief executive officer Greg Sassella urged parents not to lock children in cars.

On Wednesday, as temperatures reached almost 42 degrees, 13 children were left in cars.

Victoria had a record number of calls to triple-0, with 2553 calls received on Friday.

Cardiac arrest calls were up 700 per cent on Friday.

With 77 calls received, at one time, at one period they came in every six minutes on average.

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