RAA Senior Manager Mobility and Automotive Policy, Mark Borlace said last summer RAA responded to 84 calls to help children locked in a parked car in the metropolitan area.
“We receive almost one call per day, which is very worrying considering the high temperatures that we experience in summer,” said Mr Borlace.
“75 per cent of the temperature rise inside of a parked car occurs in the first five minutes, so the interior of the car can reach extreme temperatures.
“On a 30 degree day, temperatures within a parked car can reach 70 degrees.
“Children cannot preserve body fluid as effectively as adults, so they feel the effects of heat and become dehydrated much more quickly.”
The effects of this can be very severe and, in the worst case scenario, can result in permanent disability or death.
“Regardless of the outside temperature, conditions in a locked car with a slightly open window can be just as deadly because the interior temperature rises extremely quickly,” said Mr Borlace.
“Priority is given to any call that RAA receives involving children or pets locked in cars, but our Patrols are bound by normal road rules, and cannot break the law when driving to these jobs.
“RAA Patrols are skilled at gaining quick entry to a vehicle, but some vehicles are becoming very difficult to break into. From time to time, the Patrol may need to use a specialised tool to break a window and gain entry.”
When calling RAA to report a child or animal locked in a car, the member is asked if they also require emergency services, and if so they are transferred to them while the two closest RAA Patrols are dispatched.
“Parents need to remember that it is very unsafe to leave a child locked and unsupervised inside a parked car, especially in the summer heat,” said Mr Borlace.
“To avoid this accidentally happening, parents should not give their child their keys to play with, in or near the car, as it’s very easy for them to hit the button and lock you out.
“If you do find yourself in this situation, act quickly and try to remain as calm as possible so you don’t distress your child.”