‘It’s simple, don’t leave kids in cars’

Senior Wodonga paramedic Mike Fuery has reiterated that children should not be left unattended in a car. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN
Senior Wodonga paramedic Mike Fuery has reiterated that children should not be left unattended in a car. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

CHILDREN being left in cars will eventually have deathly consequences on the Border if people don’t change their behaviour.

That was the message senior Wodonga paramedic Mike Fuery wanted to get across to the community yesterday.

Wodonga paramedics were called to three instances of people being left in cars from September to January.

Three cases were reported also in Wangaratta, as well as one in Tallangatta East and one at Cobram.

Ambulance Victoria said almost two-thirds of the 620 statewide triple-0 calls reporting someone locked in a car involved a child under 13.

It said cases involving adults were often the elderly or people with medical conditions that prevented them letting themselves out of a car.

Mr Fuery — the Wodonga ambulance team manager — said it really took no trouble for people to avoid leaving their children in a locked car.

“All it requires is some forward planning,” he said.

“If people are going down to the shop, or going to get some petrol, think about what the options are.

“Think about ‘do I need to go and do that now or wait until a friend or family member is available’.”

Ambulance Victoria group manager Brett Drummond said it was tragic there had been cases of children dying in hot cars in recent years.

“It doesn’t have to be a scorching hot day for the car to quickly heat up,” he said.

“Tests by Ambulance Victoria found that even on a 29-degree day, the inside of a car can reach 44 degrees within 10 minutes and hit 60 degrees within 20 minutes.”

Mr Fuery said some people were still in denial.

“The fact is they think they’re only going to be away for two minutes,” he said.

“In that two minutes a phone could ring, they could run into a friend or they might be in a shop and not locate the thing that they want.

“Before they know it, two minutes blows out into 20 minutes and you’ve got an extremely distressed child locked in a car unable to help themselves.”

Mr Fuery said it was “very disturbing” and quite avoidable that such incidents continued to occur across the state.

“First of all in the case of a solitary child, they’re frightened as they wonder where their parent or carer is,” he said.

Mr Fuery said that was then exacerbated by the added heat.

“If they’ve been exposed to long periods of heat then kids are going to be physically distressed as well, and in great danger,” he said.

“Kids have immature heat regulation in their bodies and their brains.

“They’re more prone to being injured by extremes of temperature very quickly.”