An alarming number of children have been rescued from hot cars in Ballarat, prompting Wendouree MP Juliana Addison to issue a new warning for people to take care of each other in the heat.
New figures show between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018, paramedics responded to 45 calls to people locked in vehicles in the Ballarat region — the majority being children aged under 13.
With more hot days forecast, the Andrews Government is promoting the Never Leave Kids in Cars and Survive the Heat campaigns.
Ms Addison said the Never Leave Kids in Cars campaign warns parents about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars where they are at great risk of life-threatening heatstroke, dehydration and organ damage.
“The temperature inside a car can double in just minutes in extreme conditions and a child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s,” she said.
“Hot cars can kill. While taking your child with you may seem like an inconvenience, leaving them in the car is risking their life,” she said.
Extreme heat kills more people in Australia than any other natural disaster and can affect anybody. During the 2009 heatwave, the number of deaths in Victoria was 374 more than under normal conditions and almost 80 per cent of those deaths were people over 65.
Simple steps to stay safe during heatwaves include:
• Drinking more water by taking small sips from a drink bottle throughout the day
• Keeping cool and seeking out air-conditioned buildings
• Planning ahead and scheduling activities in the coolest part of the day
• Looking out for most vulnerable – this might be your neighbour living alone or the elderly.
Ms Addison said people at the highest risk of heat exhaustion include people aged over 65, people with a pre-existing medical condition, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and babies and young children.
“We want the people of Ballarat to be smart this summer – stay cool, drink water and look out for each other, especially children, the elderly and those with medical conditions,” Ms Addison said.