Never leave children and pets alone in your vehicle

THE RACT has urged Tasmanians not to leave children or pets in their vehicles this summer after a rise in incidences of callouts in recent years.

Between 1 December 2017 and 1 December 2018, the RACT Roadside patrols received callouts to 110 children and 128 pets, as well as 14 adults, locked in vehicles.

This is a significant rise from 2015-16, where 60 children and 37 pets were rescued.

RACT community manager Will Oakley said the temperature inside a parked vehicle on a typical summer’s day could be 30 to 40 degrees celsius hotter than outside.

“On a day when the forecast temperature in Hobart is 28 degrees, it means that the temperature inside a vehicle could be as high as 68 degrees,” he said.

“And it doesn’t even have to be a particularly hot day – even at 20 degrees the interior of a vehicle could rise up to 60 degrees.”

Mr Oakley said the risks involved in leaving a child or pet in a vehicle, even for a short time, could be devastating.

“As the temperature inside a vehicle increases, any child or pet locked in that vehicle can begin to develop heat stress and start to dehydrate,” he said.

“In addition, young children are more sensitive to heat than older children or adults, meaning they can be at greater risk of heat stroke and other health risks.

“It is a pretty simple message – if you have to leave the vehicle, take your children and pets with you.”

Mr Oakley said RACT would prioritise callouts to children, pets and adults locked in vehicles, and you don’t have to be a member to receive the service.

“We just want to make sure everyone is safe,” he said.

The RSPCA has advised the RACT that a dog left in a hot car, even with windows ajar, could die within six minutes or at least suffer long-lasting effects.

“Motorists should ask themselves if they need to take their pets on journeys, especially where they may have to leave the animal in the vehicle even for a short time,” he said.

Mr Oakley said if a member of the public noticed a child locked in a vehicle and the owner was unknown to them, Tasmania Police should be advised immediately by telephoning triple zero (000).

In relation to animals, police should be called on 13 14 44.

Further advice regarding animals locked in vehicles should be directed to the RSPCA.


Other facts to consider:

  • Darker coloured cars can reach slightly higher temperatures when parked in the sun.
  • The colour of the interior trim has little impact on the speed the temperature inside a car increases.
  • Tinted windows make little difference to the temperature of the interior of a vehicle.
  • A large car can heat up just as quickly as a small car.
  • Having the windows down five centimetres causes only the slightest decrease in temperature.
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