4th Feb 2014
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Father leaves baby in car in 37°C
Father leaves baby in car in 37°C

News that a father left his 10-month-old daughter locked in the car on a 37°C day for up to half an hour over the weekend has left many questioning why such dangerous incidents are still occurring.

The baby girl was left in the car park outside Bunnings in Tuggeranong, ACT. She was in the car for an estimated half hour, during which time authorities say the inside of the car could have reached temperatures of up to 55°C.

Passers-by noticed the child crying hysterically in the backseat while her father shopped inside. The window had been left slightly down, allowing the passers-by to force the window open, unlock the door and rescue the girl while emergency services were on their way to the scene.

Ambulance officers were able to stabilise the girl’s condition on the scene, before transporting her to Canberra Hospital.

Members of the public found the father still shopping inside the hardware store. He was then brought out for questioning by police. ACT Policing Operations Superintendent Kenton Turner said that the father had been unaware of the danger he had put his daughter in, and that he was genuinely concerned for her welfare.

Police are still deciding whether to charge the father with child neglect. “Depending on the state of the child … [we] will make a decision at a further date to whether any charges could be laid,” said Superintendent Turner. A charge of child neglect can carry a sentence of up to two years in jail.

ACT Ambulance Service acting chief officer Howard Wren spoke about the dangers of leaving young children in unattended cars. “The temperature was around the forecast top of 37 degrees at the time, which means it could have climbed to approximately 55 degrees within minutes inside the car,” he said. “There is no safe circumstance when a child should be left locked in a vehicle, especially on a day like today.”

Earlier this summer a baby boy was left alone in a car in the Westfield Doncaster car park, while his mother attended the Boxing Day sales. Security were able to remove the boy from the car at 10am, half an hour after the car had entered the car park, however, the mother could not be located until 11am, when she spoke to police.

The RSPCA has also released a statement saying it has been inundated with calls this summer from concerned citizens about dogs being locked in cars. They explained that on a 29 degree day, in a car which had been cooled to 20 degrees before being turned off, it takes just 20 minutes for the inside of a car to reach deadly temperatures of up to 60°C.

Read more about the father who left his daughter in the car at the Canberra Times website

Visit the RSPCA website to find out more about the dangers of leaving dogs in cars

Opinion: Why is this still happening?

News stories such as these beg the question; why is this still happening? How are these parents and dog owners so unaware of the dangers? The father who left his daughter in the car had no idea it could be dangerous, and yet there was no mention in the media of his being new to the country.

We live in Australia. Australia gets hot, really hot, every single summer. We regularly and frequently experience temperatures so high they can be deadly to the elderly, the infirm and children. Even the young, fit and healthy can die from heat exhaustion if they aren’t carful during a heatwave. During the 2009 heatwave in Victoria there were 374 excess deaths caused by the heat. That’s 75 times higher than the number of deaths caused by sharks every year.

The state governments and animal rights groups often run campaigns about the dangers of leaving children and animals in cars, as they can heat up so quickly. It seems like it must take wilful ignorance to reach adulthood and parenthood in Australia without becoming aware of the dangers.

It’s not rocket science. Australia gets hot and cars get hotter. Heat can kill, so don’t leave your baby in the hot car.

If you see a child or an animal left alone in a car, call 000 and explain the situation. Don’t spend time trying to find the parent first – it can take just minutes for the temperature in a car to reach deadly highs. And perhaps the police turning up and talking to the car driver will be enough of a wake-up call to ensure the father or mother never leaves their child unattended in the car again.

What do you think? What more can we do to ensure parents and pet owners are aware of the dangers? And should leaving a child unattended in the car incur an automatic penalty?





    COMMENTS

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    Jezemeg8
    4th Feb 2014
    10:32am
    I travel around on a mobility scooter and often pass cars where animals are left inside, maybe with a window cracked open, more than likely not...and the sun beating down outside. Yes, my dog travels with me everywhere too, but I always have water for her with me and I NEVER leave her alone, let alone locked somewhere where she cannot escape the heat.

    I can't understand how anyone can still be unaware of the dangers of children/animals being left in cars. Have the parents not noticed how hot the car is when they return on a hot day, how then can they think that their child or pet will be okay to leave (even for the minute they think they are going to be in the air conditioned shop)???

    There is no excuse whatever for leaving any child or animal in a vehicle, sure it may be inconvenient to wake a sleeping child when one is only going to be 'a minute' but it is far better to wake that child then to return to the car (invariably having taken longer than intended) and find your child or pet dead because of heat exhaustion.
    Penqueen1949
    4th Feb 2014
    1:41pm
    Jurassicgeek, I totally agree with you. I bet you'll never forget that woman at Margate who found it inconvenient to take her small twins grocery shopping so she left them locked inside the car......
    Pass the Ductape
    4th Feb 2014
    10:34am
    The father had no idea that leaving a baby in a car is dangerous? Absolute nonsense! It would seem this guy is simply way short on common sense, with a healthy dose of 'DUH' factor thrown in. That being the case, how on earth did the moron manage to obtain a driving licence?
    To cater for these fools, perhaps it should be mandatory to have huge signs erected at car park entrances etc. to indicate the dangers of leaving animals and people in locked vehicles out in the open.
    Jurassicgeek
    4th Feb 2014
    11:58am
    yea Ductape, he says he was "unaware of the danger"..what a crock! these people who leave kids and animals in cars need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law....Judges and lawmakers are part of the problem...
    HOLA
    4th Feb 2014
    11:13am
    It's no use fining these idiots for their complete lack of brain matter, the best way to sentence these people is to lock them up in a car, in heatwave weather for at least one
    hour, then they might know how it feels to suffer., then throw the book at them.
    poppsy
    4th Feb 2014
    11:58am
    That's a brilliant idea Hola.
    Gra
    4th Feb 2014
    3:39pm
    I think you're on the right track HOLA but I don't think it would take that long for the fools to get the message. Tie their hands behind their back so they can't wind the windows down or open the door and just leave them there until it is quite obvious they understand the torture they have subjected their child or pet to, let them swelter a few minutes more, then take them out and charge them with criminal neglect.

    4th Feb 2014
    11:41am
    Not much you can do with the BRAIN DEAD
    Nightshade
    4th Feb 2014
    11:55am
    WHY DO WE HAVE TELEVISION FOR ............ ?
    EVERY DAY IN EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY THEY SHOVE
    "buy"
    "buy now"
    "here is how to buy now"
    up & down every orifice we own

    THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT -
    UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO YOU LEAVE ANYTHING LIVING IN A CLOSED CAR -
    AT ANY TIME -
    LET ALONE YOUR CHILD -
    SHOULD BE SHOVED EVEN HARDER DAILY -
    SO WHY ISN'T IT ..... ?
    IF WE CARE SO MUCH .................
    Aurora60
    4th Feb 2014
    2:15pm
    Didn't say what nationality this neanderthal was. If you put up a sign it would have to be in every language so all immigrants get the message too.
    Blossom
    4th Feb 2014
    4:30pm
    Sorry, but in my opinion if a person, regardless of their origin can't read, understand and speak English he/she shouldn't be allowed to drive. it isn't just shopping centres that people do it at either. Parents leaving or picking up children for school or other services sometimes leave children in the car. Some do it while they go indoors at a venue and gamble. It is a great suggestion that shopping centres put signs up at the entrances of the car parks. Maybe schools should send notes home via the students. Some schools insist that the parents sign that they have read them.
    lindylou
    4th Feb 2014
    12:09pm
    I'm sorry but these people need to learn a lesson and I am sick of the do gooders that say you can't do this and you can't do that. My opinion is leave the guilty in the locked car for half an hour in the hot sun and see how they fair. They would be scratching and clawing at the door to get out. and I agree with what someone else said about him saying he was unaware of the dangers, what is he? an idiot or something. It was just an excuse.Can't comprehend how people can treat their children this way.
    Kenny Koala
    4th Feb 2014
    12:12pm
    Unforgivable, but it PROMOTES the question not BEGS it unless widespread use has finally usurped the original meaning of the idiom.
    doggone
    4th Feb 2014
    12:46pm
    brain dead
    doggone
    4th Feb 2014
    12:49pm
    and to think that a brain dead person can vote
    Young Simmo
    4th Feb 2014
    12:56pm
    Regardless of the comments so far, I believe the best possible punishment for these brain dead morons is. Publish their photo and home address in all Newspapers and Television. There are plenty of people that will complete the punishment.
    kenlow
    4th Feb 2014
    12:57pm
    These cretinous and cruel people should be arrested and charged with criminal cruelty, given the amount of publicity around this practice there is no excuse for be ignorant of the consequences on the victim, and the perpetrators should forfeit their driving licences.
    catsahoy
    4th Feb 2014
    9:21pm
    AGREE TOTTALY KENLOW, there is enough publicity given to this subject that even non speaking english should understand what it means, they should be punished to the full extent of the law and made to forfiet there license for 10 years, warning signs in cars is also a good idea, but surely common sense should prevail,
    Nan Norma
    5th Feb 2014
    6:20pm
    Punishment is all well and good but we need to stop it from happening in the first place.
    Young Simmo
    5th Feb 2014
    6:27pm
    As I said earlier, put the perpetrators photo and home address on TV and Facebook and the Newspapers, and they won't do it a second time.
    catsahoy
    5th Feb 2014
    10:56pm
    SIMMO, we need to stop it happening the first time, the second time could be to late,
    Young Simmo
    5th Feb 2014
    11:38pm
    Yeh catsy, there are heaps of suggestions, I just wanted to put my 2 bobs worth in.
    catsahoy
    10th Feb 2014
    11:05pm
    HI YA SIMMO, LONG TIME NO TALK, ON ONE OF THOSE HOT DAYS LAST WEEK I HAD TO GO TO THE CHEMIST, HUBBY DROVE ME DOWN AND WHILE I WENT TO CHEMIST, HE WENT INTO COLES, CAME BACK AND HE REALISED HE HAD FORGOTTEN A SCRIPT SO HAD TO GO BACK TO CHEMIST, I WAITED IN THE CAR FOR HIM, DOOR OPEN, MAYBE 5/7 MINUETS. I FELT ILL, HOW A CHILD WOULD FARE IN THOSE CONDITIONS IS BEYOND BELIEF, WHAT A HORRIBLE WAY TO GO, I COULDNT EVEN GET MY BREATH,
    KSS
    4th Feb 2014
    1:12pm
    Even if you believe the father had no idea what he did was dangerous, ignorance is no defence of the law. What is there for the police to consider? The father left the child alone locked in a car on a hot day while he went shopping. He left the window open presumably for the child to get air - so he knew there could be a potential problem. There is no excuse and no circumstance where this is ok. He should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law - as should anyone else doing the same thing to either a child or an animal.
    catsahoy
    4th Feb 2014
    10:03pm
    thinking on this some more, if imagrants plead that they couldnt read the signs, how or why have they got a license, so thats no excuse,
    CHARLIE
    4th Feb 2014
    2:09pm
    I can't believe that people, don't have the basic common sense to understand or instinctively know, that, NO vulnerable living being should be left in a car on their own, no matter what the weather.I hope he is not allowed to breed again or to have pets , until he understands this! What a Richard!!
    Julkay
    4th Feb 2014
    2:52pm
    What plannet is that father from? You can't tell me he had no idea of the danger. People shouldn't need to be told and told of the danger. Can't people work things out for themselves anymore. Anyone in their right mind would know the danger. Sit him in a locked car for awhile. He would soon work it out.
    seabird
    4th Feb 2014
    3:07pm
    This is truly a sign of how we are gradually 'dumbing' our society by not making people take responsibility for their own actions & making them think for themselves - it's always someone else's fault.
    KSS
    4th Feb 2014
    3:19pm
    You are right seabird. Perhaps the car manufacture is responsible UNLESS they printed a warning in the owners manual and embossed it on the steering wheel!
    Nan Norma
    4th Feb 2014
    5:31pm
    Best suggestion I have read is from KSS. Have the message written in every car. If a child is still left in a car a prison term and loss of licence. I remember years ago I found a new baby laying on the back seat screaming in a hot car. The mother abused me and told me I should mind my own business.
    KSS
    4th Feb 2014
    8:44pm
    I wasn't being serious! If parents or carers of children (or animals) are unable to determine it is just wrong to leave their charges unattended in a locked car EVER, never mind a hot day, they should have them taken away and given to someone who does. I am sick of the lack of personal responsibility these days and the constant blaming of others (car manufacturer?). I know there is no legislating for stupidity, but common sense must prevail.
    Nan Norma
    4th Feb 2014
    9:29pm
    Well KSS I think what you said made a lot of sense. It could be written on the steering or the dashbaord. Then you can't say you didn't know. Cost next to nothing to put it in every car.
    Mike Munro
    4th Feb 2014
    8:12pm
    Immediate loss of licence, same as high range PCA. Danger of killing, maiming when drunk.
    Exactly the same for an infant in a hot vehicle, death, a lifetime of fits, slobbering, etc. A big fine, loss of vehicle, no extended time to pay either. Not knowing english and driving....NO EXCUSE, Knowing how to pass a driving test and then lock a child or animal in a vehicle,,,...NO EXCUSE.
    Young Simmo
    4th Feb 2014
    9:24pm
    Mike are you ex Golconda???
    Young Simmo
    4th Feb 2014
    9:24pm
    Mike are you ex Golconda???
    Mike Munro
    4th Feb 2014
    9:57pm
    are you referring to the fort or the diamond mine , young simmo?
    Young Simmo
    4th Feb 2014
    10:07pm
    I was referring to Laverton WA late 1980s
    Mike Munro
    4th Feb 2014
    10:16pm
    No not me , left WA in 1966
    Young Simmo
    4th Feb 2014
    10:18pm
    Thanks mate, it was a long shot but worth a try.
    unicorn
    5th Feb 2014
    7:35am
    The best idea I have heard yet Mike, what got me was the statement by police saying that "We aill make a decision at a further date when we have had time to interview the man" & seee if it is a case of neglect or etc., thee should be no wait & see this idiot should never be in charge of a child ever again let alone a car. His licence should be automatically taken off him and perhaps his daughter and any other children.
    blondie
    5th Feb 2014
    7:57am
    They cant be that simple....One has to ask would that father leave the child in a house or anywhere else for that matter on its own.
    Fine the no hoper threaten next time your child. Will be removed from his care
    blondie
    5th Feb 2014
    8:01am
    Stop suggesting its somebody else's. responsibility. Its ours alone..Seems like we need strong er laws on lots of issues...
    blondie
    5th Feb 2014
    8:01am
    Stop suggesting its somebody else's. responsibility. Its ours alone..Seems like we need strong er laws on lots of issues...
    blondie
    5th Feb 2014
    8:01am
    Stop suggesting its somebody else's. responsibility. Its ours alone..Seems like we need strong er laws on lots of issues...
    blondie
    5th Feb 2014
    8:02am
    Stop suggesting its somebody else's. responsibility. Its ours alone..Seems like we need strong er laws on lots of issues...
    blondie
    5th Feb 2014
    8:02am
    Stop suggesting its somebody else's. responsibility. Its ours alone..Seems like we need strong er laws on lots of issues...
    HOLA
    5th Feb 2014
    8:06am
    Isn't it marvelous, you can walk around car parks ,council or shopping centers, and you will see signs saying," DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN THE CARS", isn't a child or a pet valuable? Why can't they put up large signs saying" DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHILD OR PET IN THE CAR", This should be on the agenda at the next Council meeting making it an offence for the car parks not to display signs to the ignorant public, or is that not important enough?
    lindylou
    5th Feb 2014
    1:39pm
    Hola I totally agree with you and they could go further and add" "or you will be prosecuted' This is the only way some of these idiots will understand how irresponsible they are being.!
    Nan Norma
    5th Feb 2014
    1:40pm
    No, They should write it inside the car on the dash board. No excuse then to say I didn't know.
    gerberry1
    5th Feb 2014
    12:33pm
    How can it happen. These idiots don't listen to TV, AM radio, they listen to their music or whatever and tune the world out. Just look at them down the street with the earpieces in their ears talking garbage to their friends.
    I bet he knows now.
    Much the same applies to people who pick their children up by the arms and swing them around and when pointed out to them they say 'it doesn't hurt them' and wonder why they have shoulder/arm problems in early life, or let the child climb onto the kitchen table and fall off, bump their head - that doesn't do damage either? Come on, get real.
    They don't think but they sure will when in front of the coroner explaining why this has happened. They guy is so far in front of the police and possibly magistrate, and not attending his child's funeral.
    Polly Esther
    10th Feb 2014
    4:24pm
    Some simple minded folk possess the ' Tail gate syndrome ' , unfortunately for others.
    "I got rights yer know, and no r and s hole can tell me what to do"
    You've heard it haven't you? Yes too right you have.
    Perhaps about 6 months hard labour may make them toe the line.


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