Tragedy has hit a small Victorian town after a 22-month-old boy was found dead in a locked car this afternoon.
The circumstances surrounding the awful incident in Kyneton, about 90km north-west of Melbourne, are unclear, but the toddler is believed to have been found by a relative. It is understood the car was not parked outside his family’s home, but was in a street where a childcare centre and health centre are located.
Paramedics – whose station is only 200 metres from the Acacia Drive scene – rushed to the car and smashed its windows, but were unable to save the boy. Temperatures in the town hit 32C about 3pm today, just after emergency services were called to the scene.
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Macedon Ranges Inspector Ryan Irwin says the family is “absolutely devastated”. The homicide squad will investigate, but Insp Irwin says police are keeping an “open mind”.
“It is a warm day and that is something that’s going to inform our inquiries,” he says. “Regardless of the circumstances, this is an absolute tragedy for the family, the other people living in the area and for the emergency services who attended.”
Ambulance Victoria recorded 200 calls for children being locked in cars, the Herald Sun reports. Frustrated authorities have been vocal in warning parents and carers of the dangers of leaving children in cars, even for short periods.
Last month Kidsafe Victoria launched a campaign to make it compulsory for “do not leave children in cars” signs to be placed at the entrance to all shopping centre and supermarket carparks. It hopes they will be also adopted by places such as childcare centres, kindergartens and even petrol stations.
NSW Ambulance told us the temperature inside a car could soar to more than 50C in just a few minutes – this can lead to unconsciousness, shock, organ failure and even death: “No matter how quick you think you are going to be, never leave a child unattended in a car. Always take your child with you. The effort it takes to bring the child with you is nothing in comparison to the trauma that could be caused from being left in an overheated vehicle.”
Last year we reported that state motoring bodies rescued at least 450 kids from cars in just one autumn month.