Evan Schwarten experienced the dangers of the summer heat.
Evan Schwarten experienced the dangers of the summer heat.

Kids left to fry in car



ROCKHAMPTON residents are risking their children's lives by leaving them in cars while they shop.

A series of alarming incidents over the past month, the worst involving six children left alone in a Tarago van outside a Rockhampton shopping centre, has alarmed Rockhampton police. Police Beat officer-in-charge Acting Senior Constable Jason O'Halloran warned parents it was never safe to leave children or animals alone in vehicles, especially as the temperature outside soared past 35 degrees.

"If you're going shopping, take your kids inside with you or leave them at home,'' he said bluntly. He said when police located the Tarago van, its windows were closed but a door was left open to provide some relief for the children inside which included a baby.

"We would have been standing there with the kids a good 20 minutes before the mother came back saying she had been waiting for a lay-by and it had taken longer than expected,'' Acting Senior Constable O'Halloran said.

The woman was issued with a $30 fine and the Department of Families was notified but no further action was taken.

But the incident was far from isolated: as recently as Wednesday three children under the age of six were found in a dual-cab ute outside K mart Plaza.

And on Sunday police found four children under the age of five in a four-wheel drive parked in a loading zone outside the same shopping centre.

In both cases, the car engine was left running, but Senior Constable O'Halloran said that created its own dan- gers as the vehicles were easy targets for thieves.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman yesterday said children and animals left inside a vehicle could become dehydrated within minutes.

"It is never advisable to leave children or animals alone inside vehicles for any period of time, especially considering the Central Queensland heat.

"They can become unconscious very quickly and in some cases they can die,'' he said.



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