A warning has been issued by NSW Ambulance after more than 80 incidents of children trapped in cars over the past few months.
From September 1 through to November, paramedics were called to 81 children trapped in vehicles across the state, an average of about one child a day.
NSW Ambulance Chief Inspector Brian Parsell said temperatures inside vehicles could reach well over 50 degrees.
“I recorded the temperature inside a car for some internal research last summer and it reached 78 degrees in just minutes,” he said.
“Babies and small children are unable to regulate their body temperature as efficiently as adults. They absorb more heat from the environment than they can dissipate.
“This situation can quickly cause damage to body cells leading to unconsciousness, shock, organ failure and death. Even in milder temperatures, children and babies can get sick very quickly.”
Chief Insp Parsell said in some cases children had been locked in cars accidentally and urged parents to be extra vigilant.
“Be mindful of vehicle security systems, in particular the location of keyless fobs which can lock cars if left inside the vehicle,” he said.
Chief Insp Parsell said no matter how quick a person thinks they are going to be, they should never intentionally leave a child – or pets - unattended in a car.
“The effort it takes to bring your child with you is nothing compared to the trauma of your child being left in an overheated vehicle.”
If people find a distressed child locked in a car dial Triple Zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance.
They are advised to stay on the line until paramedics arrive.