Queensland Ambulance Service says there is no safe time to leave children locked in a car.
Queensland Ambulance Service says there is no safe time to leave children locked in a car.

1200 children rescued from locked cars

MORE than three children a day are being locked inside cars in sweltering Queensland weather where temperatures inside vehicles can soar past 80 degrees.

Almost 1200 children were rescued from locked cars by RACQ staff in 2017, with the service called to 13 separate cases on just one day recently.

Pets also are not immune to the problem, with two dogs a day rescued from vehicles across the state on average.

RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie said the majority of cases were accidental but said it only took minutes for temperatures inside cars to become life-threatening, regardless of whether they were in the shade or had the windows down.

Most times when children are locked in cars, it’s accidental. But conditions can turn deadly quickly, the RACQ says.
Most times when children are locked in cars, it’s accidental. But conditions can turn deadly quickly, the RACQ says.

"In the summer months this is a big concern, especially with those really warm days," Ms Ritchie said.

"The vast majority of them are accidental lock-ins and they're due heavily to parents and caregivers giving the child the car keys to play with while they put groceries or a pram in the boot. It happens so often."

Brisbane was the biggest problem area with 406 children and 161 animals rescued from cars in 2017.

It was followed by the Gold Coast with 169 children and 101 pets, and the Sunshine Coast with 94 kids and 92 animals.

Ms Ritchie said it was important people called for help immediately with temperatures spiking in just a few minutes.

"Our tests show cars going up to 85 degrees," she said.

"No adult would want to be in there, let alone a small child or a pet."

Queensland Ambulance Service senior operations supervisor Chris Perera said hot cars were a major health hazard, especially for children.

"There is no safe amount of time to leave children alone in the car," he said.

"Children are more susceptible and at a higher risk for heat-related illnesses and injury than adults."

Almost 1270 kids were rescued from cars in Queensland in 2016.

"A car parked in the open sun can become 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the outside ambient temperature," Mr Perera said.

"Research shows 75 per cent of heating occurs in the first five minutes and 90 per cent in the first 15.

"Therefore, in a few moments the car environment can get extremely dangerous, if not fatal for a small child."

Children being left in hot cars is far more prevalent in the Sunshine State, with data showing Queensland more than quadrupled South Australia, where about 250 cases were reported last year compared to Queensland's 1198.



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