Paramedics are being called on to rescue two children locked in cars, on average, each week across Melbourne’s outer north, new data reveals.
Ambulance Victoria figures show that last year paramedics responded to 76 incidents in which children had been left alone locked in cars in Whittlesea.
In Hume, there were 60 incidents.
Epping was revealed as the region’s hotspot for children trapped in cars, with 19 such incidents reported. Craigieburn had the second highest number of callouts (16), followed by Mill Park (10) and Broadmeadows (9).
Statewide, paramedics were called to 1562 such cases, with most involving toddlers.
State health commander Paul Holman said people still didn’t seem to understand the deadly risks involved in leaving children in hot cars.
“It is never OK to leave a child in a car – even if you’re just ducking into the shops,” he said.
“You might get distracted or bump into someone you know, and time can tick away much quicker than you realise. Given how much education there is about the dangers of leaving children in cars, it is disappointing that some people still decide to take that risk.”
Mr Holman said that while some callouts were for children who had been accidently locked in cars, the health risks were the same.
“It doesn’t have to be a scorching hot day for the car to quickly heat up,” Mr Holman warned.
“Tests by Ambulance Victoria have 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.
“You wouldn’t get out of the car after shopping and leave your ice cream in the back seat, so why would you leave your children there?” he asked.