Tougher penalties will be considered for people who leave children in cars on hot days after almost 40 cases during Victoria’s record heatwave, the state government says.
Ambulance Victoria says 39 children were left in hot cars as Victoria sweltered with four consecutive days over 41C, and over the full week 60 cases had been reported.
Among them were two children under five years left in a car while their father placed a bet and a man who left four children under 10 in a car while he went to buy alcohol, Fairfax Media reports.
People can be jailed for three months or fined up to $2165 for leaving a child in a car on a hot day, but the state government is considering toughening penalties to further deter people, the report said.
Ambulance Victoria CEO Greg Sassella urged parents not to lock children in cars.
“Sadly we are still getting kids locked in cars and that is absolutely a lethal oversight from the parents,” he said.
“Children die when they’re locked in cars, animals die when they’re locked in cars. So please, we are still pleading with the community to be very careful with their children.”
On Wednesday as temperatures reached nearly 42C, 13 children were left in cars.
The heatwave saw a record number of calls to Triple-0, with 2553 calls received on Friday.
Thursday’s 2506 calls is the second most ever received.
Cardiac arrest calls were up 700 per cent on Friday, with 77 calls received.
At one stage cardiac arrest calls were coming through on average every six minutes.
Between Monday and Saturday night ambulance officers attended 208 cardiac arrests and 505 cases of heat exhaustion.