Heatwave warning: don’t leave children in cars

Police are reminding motorists about the danger of leaving children, the elderly or pets unattended in cars as NSW prepares for a heatwave.

It is against the law to leave a child locked in a car unattended and offenders can be fined up to $22,000 under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act.

Last year, 19 people were charged for causing distress or injury after leaving a child in a vehicle.

Police said the facts are:

❏On a hot day the temperature inside a parked car can rise to 30-40 degrees above the outside temperature - if it’s a 30 degree day, the temperature inside a car can exceed 70 degrees.

❏These high temperatures inside a closed vehicle can be reached within five minutes and the temperature can peak within 15 minutes.

❏The temperature inside a closed vehicle rises when the airflow decreases, making breathing inside the vehicle very difficult.

❏Having the window down slightly will only cause a small drop in temperature inside the car: there is no safe way to leave a child in an unattended vehicle.

❏The temperature inside a closed vehicle will be slightly higher if the car is dark in colour and if the car has large amounts of glass.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned that temperatures are expected to be 10 degrees above the average in the state’s south, south-west and west in the coming days.

NSW Health has advised people to take simple precautions to ensure they stay healthy in the heat by staying well hydrated, avoiding alcohol and hot or sugary drinks, limiting physical activity and trying to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.

If you can, it’s a good idea to spend some time in an airconditioned building.

Everyone needs to take care in hot weather but some people are at higher risk of heat illness, especially if they are older, live alone or are socially isolated.

Signs of heat-related illness include confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headaches and loss of sweating.

Look after those at higher risk, including contacting them to make sure they are coping and have taken appropriate precautions.

People showing any of these signs should seek urgent medical attention through their GP or local emergency department.

For more information please refer to the Beat the Heat website: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat/Pages/default.aspx.

NSW Department of Primary Industries advise owners of all pets and livestock to ensure adequate clean water is always available and that shading is provided where possible.

No animals should be left in confined, unventilated areas such as locked cars.

Intensive large animal holdings, including poultry and piggeries, should ensure cooling and watering systems are functioning and back-up plans are in place in case of system failures.

The NSW Rural Fire Service warns that given the hot and dry conditions forecast for much of the state, residents need to be prepared and to remain vigilant.

To prepare for heightened fire danger across the weekend residents should:

❏Know the bushfire danger rating for your area – available on the NSW RFS website or look for the roadside signs.

❏Prepare a Bush Fire Survival Plan and act on it. It is not too late to make a plan tonight.

❏Stay informed via local media, news websites, plus the RFS website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

❏Report any unattended fire immediately to triple-0.

Further information, including Bush Fire Survival Plans, is available from the NSW Rural Fire Service (http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au)

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