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.
The impact of heat on a child's body is almost immediate and can be fatal.
A child's body temperature rises three to 5 times faster than an adult's, placing them at greater risk of life-threatening heat stroke, brain injury, heart and lung failure and dehydration.
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 lower the risk of 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 time. Without fail.
Discuss your 'Look Before You Lock' routine with every person who drives your child anywhere. This includes partners, grandparents, babysitters, and friends.
Be extra alert if your routine changes. The risk of unintentionally leaving a child increases with a change in routine.
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
000 immediately if you have any concerns about the child's health.
Guidance for services transporting children