‘If you leave the car take the children with you.’
Kidsafe Victoria today said the placement of warning signs about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars in shopping centre car parks would be a positive move to help protect babies and small children from being left in life threatening situations.Kidsafe is stepping up its direct action campaign on signage awareness with the launch of a ‘Do Not Leave Children in Hot Cars’ campaign in partnership with The Lions Crime Watch Committee. The two community organisations are joining forces to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles. The first step of the campaign is to encourage shopping centres to implement signage at car park entries.
Robert Caulfield, President of Kidsafe Victoria said, “The introduction of signage at the entrance of all large shopping car parks would be a major step in the awareness campaign to remind parents of the dangers a couple of minutes before they leave their vehicles.”
“Despite the ‘Kids in Hot Cars’ issue being run for a number of years, it is staggering to think Ambulance Victoria Paramedics were called to more than 900 cases of children locked in cars in 12 months. Almost two thirds of calls were to car parks, streets or public places, and nearly one quarter to outside a home,” said Mr Caulfield.
As part of the launch, Kidsafe signs warning people not to leave children in cars will be permanently erected at Federation Square, acting as a reminder to the thousands of drivers who pass through the site each day.
Mr Caulfield said, “The involvement of Fed Square in the safety program will give the campaign a major boost with thousands of people seeing the signs every day.”
Lions Crime Watch Committee spokesman Arthur Uren said, “Leaving children unattended in a car, even for a short period of time, can be fatal. On a typical Australian summer day the temperature inside a parked car can be 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature."
Mr Uren affirmed The Lions support for the program saying, “The Lions are proud to support Kidsafe in their campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in cars, and reduce the number of incidents seen each year.”
Mr Caulfield noted that children’s smaller body size and underdeveloped nervous system placed them at greater risk of losing fluid quickly, becoming dehydrated and suffering from heatstroke.
Following a number of child deaths and several years of Kidsafe campaigning, Victorian legislation now makes leaving a child unattended in a car a criminal offence.
Mr Caulfield said, "The clear message is to take the children with you, even if you think you will only be gone for a few minutes. It could save their life or avoid them suffering severe brain damage"
The partnership between Kidsafe Victoria and the Lions Crime Watch Committee was welcomed by Mr Caulfield, who noted the Lions strong relationships with local communities.