Police have reminded parents not to leave children in cars – especially on hot days – as they investigate reports that a woman left an infant and a child in a locked car in the heat on Saturday (21 December) when temperatures in Canberra exceeded 30 degrees.
Police were called to the Mawson shops at around 11:30 am on Saturday after reports that an infant wrapped in a blanket, and a child around five years old, were left unattended in the vehicle for 10-15 minutes in the outdoor carpark, with the engine off, and one window partially open.
ACT Policing said that on a hot day, leaving a window open slightly does little to reduce the temperature inside a vehicle.
Police estimate the outside temperature was 34 degrees, putting the children at extreme risk with the inside of the car able to reach temperatures of about 64 degrees. The person responsible for the children returned to the vehicle and left the area before police arrived.
ACT Policing is warning parents and carers they face serious consequences if they leave children unattended inside a vehicle, with charges ranging up to manslaughter and murder.
A woman in Queensland was charged with murder in November after her two toddlers died after being exposed to extreme heat in the back of a locked car over a number of hours.
An ACT Policing spokesperson told Region Media that the focus of police is on the welfare of the child, as children in a hot car can get very ill very quickly.
While an investigation into this incident is underway, police are urging the person responsible for placing both children at risk to present themselves at a police station.
If you see a child trapped in a hot vehicle, call Triple Zero (000) for immediate assistance from ACT Policing and ACT Ambulance.
If you see an animal trapped in a vehicle, in the first instance call the RSPCA on 1300 777 221 or call 131 444 for police assistance.