January 8th, 2023When parked cars become death traps: stay safe from the heat this summer
Victorians are being urged to never leave kids or pets in hot cars and to follow simple steps to stay safe from the heat this summer, as new data reveals there has been 113 callouts to locked cars in November alone.
Ahead of this summer’s first run of extreme heat, Minister for Ambulance Services Gabrielle Williams in recent days has launched the Survive the Heat and Never Leave Kids in Cars campaigns.
Last summer, Ambulance Victoria paramedics were called to 410 reports of people locked in cars across the state and children below the age of 13 made up 92.5 per cent of cases.
A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult, and the temperature inside a parked car can be 20 to 30 degrees hotter than it is outside. That’s why parents should always take their kids and pets with them whenever they get out of their car – just as they do with their valuables.
Parents – and pet owners – should also be aware that leaving the windows down has little effect on the inside temperature, with tests showing that when windows are left open 10 centimetres, the inside temperature will only reduce by five degrees.
Extreme heat kills more Victorians than any other natural disaster with heatwaves particularly dangerous when coupled with high overnight temperatures as they can interfere with our body’s natural ability to cool down and cause heat illness.
Heat illness can include heat cramps and heat exhaustion – which, if left untreated, can lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke is fatal in up to 80 per cent of cases, but it is preventable.
There are simple steps we can all take to reduce the chance of heat illness like staying hydrated, spending time in cool, air-conditioned buildings, planning ahead and keeping up to date with weather forecasts and checking in on those most at risk in the heat like older people or young children.
Call triple zero (000) if you or someone you know is showing signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. You can also speak to NURSE-ON-CALL (1300 606 024) or your doctor for general medical advice during extreme heat.
Minister for Ambulance Services Gabrielle Williams: “All Victorians can stay safe this summer by following simple steps to beat the heat – drink plenty of water, stay somewhere cool, and plan ahead.”
“It’s simple: never leave your kids alone in a car – the consequences can be deadly.”