NEW locking technology in cars is making it easier for children to be trapped inside, RACV Victoria says.
RACV is urging parents and carers to ‘‘check keys – check kids’’ to prevent accidentally locking children in hot cars.
The busy holiday season can mean that momentary distractions by parents and carers could lead to deadly consequences.
With Victoria likely to experience a warmer than average summer according to the Bureau of Meteorology, residents are being reminded to keep an eye on children.
RACV tests have shown that on a day when the outside temperature is 30 degrees, it takes only minutes for the temperature inside a vehicle to exceed 70 degrees.
In 2017, there were an alarmingly high 1150 call outs by RACV patrols to rescue young children locked in vehicles; this translates to an average of four incidents per day.
The majority of these were accidental, and sophisticated locking technology is making such lock-ins more likely.
RACV’s Melinda Spiteri, manager of road user behaviour, urges parents not to give keys to children to play with, and to keep keys secure on a lanyard while on all car trips over summer.
Through the ‘‘check keys – check kids’’ campaign, RACV is offering free car-key lanyards, available at all RACV shops.
“After a long day at the beach, or a backyard barbecue with family and friends, any parent can become easily distracted.
‘‘The RACV car-key lanyards give drivers a convenient solution for easy key storage, and give parents one less thing to worry about while they enjoy the summer,” Ms Spiteri said.
Research has shown that younger children are more sensitive to heat than older children and adults, as their body temperatures rise five times faster than an older child’s. This means they are at high risk of dehydration and heatstroke in a hot car.
“RACV treats call-outs of this nature as urgent. However, drivers should be aware that the time it can take for a patrol to reach the scene can make all the difference in extreme temperatures,” Ms Spiteri said.