AUSTRALIA is about to swelter through its hottest weekend in years - which means inside our cars it’s going to be even hotter.
New figures released by the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) reveal a whopping 1198 kids were locked in hot cars last year.
And it wasn’t just kids who had to be rescued — sadly 720 animals were also left in cars in 2017.
On a hot summer’s day, the temperature in a car can hit 40C in seven minutes so even a short lapse in judgment can leave kids or pets in sweltering conditions.
RACQ’s head of technical and safety policy Steve Spalding said parents and pet owners need to be vigilant.
“The majority of cases where children are locked in cars are accidental and avoidable,” he said.
“Parents or carers will hand the keys to their child to play with while they unpack the shopping or load their vehicle, and they inadvertently press the lock button.”
And regardless of the situation, there’s never any safe way to leave your kids or pets inside.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re parked in the shade or your windows are slightly down,” Mr Spalding said.
Kids sitting inside hot cars are at greater risk of heat stroke, which can lead to a high fever, dehydration, seizures, stroke and death.
With 406 children and 161 pets trapped in cars last year, Brisbane recorded the highest number of rescues but Queenslanders aren’t the only guilty Aussies.
On one January day last year, emergency workers in Victoria rescued a whopping 13 kids from hot cars.
At the time, State Control Centre spokesman Graeme Baxter called the number “disappointing”.
“Children should not even be left in cars parked undercover,” Mr Baxter said.
“It’s just not a safe thing to do, no matter where you are. We really shouldn’t be leaving kids alone locked in cars. We should be taking them with us or finding someone else to take care of them. A car is not a place for childcare,” he added.
And in September, a Sydney barber was forced to call police after he noticed a distressed little boy locked inside a car on one of the hottest days of 2017.
“He was crying, he had wet himself in the car, poor thing,” Yagoona man Issa Khadem said.
Police arrived to smash the window and immediately treated the boy for dehydration.
The father was later found drinking at a nearby pub, the Hume Hotel, and was arrested.