Leaving children unattended in a vehicle can result in serious injury or death.
The temperature inside a parked vehicle on a typical Australian summer day can be up to 30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature.
In as little as 5 minutes, the temperature in a vehicle can reach dangerous levels.
A child's body temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult's and the impact of heat on a child's body is almost immediate and can be fatal.
A child left unaccounted for in a vehicle is also unprotected and vulnerable to danger, particularly in an emergency situation.
It only takes one shortcut on safety to have devastating, lifelong consequences.
Tips for families
Create a Look Before You Lock routine.
Building simple steps into your daily routine can help you to avoid unintentionally leaving a child in a vehicle.
- Place an item you will need at your destination in the back seat of the car, such as your bag or wallet.
- Attach a mirror for rear-facing car seats so you can easily see your child.
- Create a mental checklist to run through every time you leave the car, such as 'baby, keys, bag'.
- Get in the habit of checking your backseat every time you get out of the car. Check even if you know your child is not with you. This will help make looking before you lock part of your normal routine.
- Look Before You Lock. Every. Single. Time.
Discuss your Look Before You Lock routine with every person who drives your child. This includes partners, grandparents, babysitters and friends.
Be extra alert if your routine changes to avoid unintentionally leaving your child in your vehicle.
Importantly, if you accidentally lock your child in a car, or you come across a child left unattended in a vehicle:
- keep calm
- think clearly and act quickly
- call your roadside assistance provider if you have one
- call 000 immediately if you have any concerns about the child's health.
Guidance for services transporting children
Every day, families across Queensland rely on early childhood services and transport operators to
transport their children safely.
Services that transport children must be vigilant of the dangers of leaving children in vehicles and have strategies in place to manage the risks and protect children in their care.
Training and policies and procedures regarding transporting children should be reviewed regularly. Routine safety practices, such as ensuring records are up-to-date, roll checks, head counts and physical vehicle inspections, should be undertaken consistently and without exception.
Early childhood services
It is the responsibility of every approved provider and educator to ensure children are adequately supervised at all times and that every reasonable precaution is taken to protect children from harm and from any hazard likely to cause injury.
All early childhood education and care services that transport children must have a specific written transport policy and procedure under the National Regulations.
Learn more about
essential transport safety measures for all early childhood services.
New transport-related amendments to the Education and Care Services National Regulations will be introduced from 1 March 2023, ahead of the other National Quality Framework (NQF) review amendments later this year. These
new amendments represent a real step forward in driving greater protection for children during transportation.
Resources for services
Resources are available to promote the important Look Before You Lock message within your service. The resources include: