Matthew “Richo” Richardson and tiny Zoe are part of a campaign to educate parents and carers on the dangers of leaving kids in cars. It’s very timely, as temperatures soar in some parts of Australia, but also vital when things are a little cooler, too.
“It is so easy to get distracted”
The “Never Leave Kids In Cars” campaign is a Victorian Government initiative, in collaboration with child safety organisation Kidsafe, and Ambulance Victoria.
As this important campaign launches, the popular footballer and new dad explained that no matter how speedy the errand may seem, it’s never EVER okay to leave a child in the car.
“If you need to duck into the shops for some milk or the newspaper, it can be tempting to leave them there, especially if they are sleeping – you’ll only be a couple of minutes,” Matthew admitted. “But it is so easy to get distracted. Two minutes can easily turn into 15 minutes. And your kid is still in that hot car.”
“I never leave Zoe in the car”
The campaign video features Richo himself popping into the shops for some last-minute milk. He chats to many fellow shoppers, in the short span of time it takes for him to get from car to fridge, and back again.
“It always takes longer than you think, that’s why I never leave Zoe in the car,” he says in the clip’s voice-over.
Indeed he’s clutching Zoe under one arm and the milk in the other, showing it’s not really an inconvenience when you consider the possible cost of leaving your child – sleeping or not – in the car instead.
Matthew, and partner Genevieve Holliday, welcomed now 4-month-old Zoe Isabella in September of 2017.
Cars can be up to 40 degrees hotter inside
The dangers of leaving kids in cars simply can not be overstated. Kidsafe warns that on your average Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be as much as 30 degrees to 40 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. Dad-of-one, Richo, warned that it only takes a few minutes for conditions inside the car to reach these temperatures, cause injury, or even a fatality.
“Even with the windows down, a car’s temperature can more than double within minutes, and the body temperature of kids rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. Kids can’t regulate their body temperatures as well as adults so they’re at greater risk of suffering life-threatening heatstroke, dehydration and organ damage,” he said.
Just in Victoria, Ambulance Victoria report that they responded to a whopping 1,696 calls to people ‘locked in vehicles’ over a recent 12 month period. That’s around four kids a day facing injury or worse inside rapidly heating-up cars.
Here’s hoping that this campaign, and some good old commonsense, will ensure those numbers are drastically reduced as speedily as possible.