As we enter summer, now’s a good time to discuss this critical dilemma.
On a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be more than 30°C hotter than outside the car. That means that on a 30°C day, the temperature inside the car can reach over 60°C! A child left in a parked car under those conditions for even a few minutes can very quickly become distressed, dehydrated and can die from organ failure. If you see anything, you need to act quickly. If you wait, it can be too late.
You must make a judgment call as to whether it is a life and death situation and you would need to break a window yourself and call an ambulance, or whether you should call 000 and ask for police, who will get there as urgently as they can (and will break the window themselves) and they will call an ambulance.
If the child is clearly distressed, do not wait for help. Instead, break a window and remove the child from the vehicle until help arrives. If you break a window, and the child is simply asleep and it turns out not to be an emergency, it is possible that you could be required to pay for the window.
In less urgent circumstances, call NRMA Motoring & Services. You do not need to be a Member in this situation. Because of the grave danger involved, the NRMA drops everything to respond immediately to calls where a child is locked in a car.
It is a criminal offence to leave a child in a locked car. Section 231 of The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act states that it is illegal to leave a child unattended an unsupervised in a motor vehicle for such time as the child or young person becomes or is like to become emotionally distressed or their health becomes or is likely to become permanently or temporarily impaired.
Would you be confident to do the correct thing when faced with seeing a child locked in a hot car?