Warm weather safety with Kidsafe WA: Hot cars

Friday, September 13, 2019 11:40 am
Reading Time: 2 minutes

On a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be over 30° higher than the outside temperature. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to prevent the temperature from rising in a parked car. Even having the car window open makes minimal difference to the internal cabin temperature.

Having the window open by 2.5cm would only reduce the temperature by approximately 3°C.

 

Kidsafe WA outline the Dangers of Leaving Children in Cars:

Leaving children unattended in the car, even for a short time, can be fatal. Here are some of the risks involved:

  • Children do not tolerate heat as well as adults and tend to feel the effects of heat much more rapidly.
  • In a parked car, the temperature and humidity rise, while the airflow decreases. This could lead to dehydration and other health risks.
  • A child may also become distressed and try to get out of their restraint; this may also increase the risk of strangulation from the harness.

    The Law

    Under the Children and Community Services Act 2004, Part 4 – Protection and care of children. A person who has the care or control of a child and who leaves the child in a motor vehicle (as defined in the Road Traffic Act 1974) without proper supervision for such period or in such circumstances that:

  1. a)  the child becomes or is likely to become emotionally distressed; or
  2. b)  the child’s health becomes or is likely to become permanently or temporarily impaired;

is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

Reducing the Risks

  • Never leave children unattended in a car.
  • Plan to complete quick jobs when you don’t have children with you.
  • Seek service stations offering pay at the pump.
  • Dress children accordingly, and check that the harness still fits the child correctly. Children wearing lightweight clothing may need their harness tightened.
  • Provide plenty of cool fluids – preferably water.
  • Use a visor or sunshade on car windows. Avoid using a hood on rearward-facing restraints as this will decrease airflow around baby’s head.
  • Plan journeys for the cooler hours of the day.
  • S eek shady areas to stop or park your car, to reduce the amount of the direct sunlight hitting your car.
  • Ensure cars are locked and the keys are out of reach of children to prevent children from gaining access to the car.
  • Always check the car before you leave it.
  • Cool your car down as much as possible before putting the child in the car.

Download the Kidsafe WA hot car fact sheet here.

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