A quick-thinking four-year-old is being hailed as a hero after he made the call to police from inside his mum’s car. His mother left the four-year-old, plus six other children in the car while she went shopping in a mall in Maryland, USA.

According to CCSO, the mother had left the seven kids, ranging from two years to four years of age for at least 20 minutes while she went inside to shop. Two of the children in the car were hers while she was babysitting the other five kids.

Seven children left in a hot car

The doors were not locked but the windows were rolled up. She instructed the kids to stay inside the car, which was a two-door coupe, only seated with one car seat.

The four-year-old wasn’t sure where he was but the police were able to track down the car in the mall parking lot using GPS.

When police arrived, they found the children “scared” and “sweaty” but none were injured or required hospitalisation.

Mother charged 

10 minutes after police arrived, the mother returned to the car to discover the kids with the police. She was arrested and charged with “confinement of children inside a motor vehicle” with other charges pending.

In America “it is against the law to leave a child under the age of 8 unattended inside a motor vehicle if the caregiver is out of sight of the child unless a reliable person at least 13-years-old remains with the child,” the Charles County sheriff’s office said.

The message is clear 

It’s also incredibly stupid especially as cars basically become ovens in the heat and children are more susceptible to heat than adult humans.

President of Kidsafe Victoria, Dr Mark Stokes, warns children’s lives could be at risk after only several minutes in a hot car.

The temperature inside a parked car during the Australian summer can be 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature,” – Dr Stokes says.

On a 29-degree-celsius day a car can reach 44 degrees in just 10 minutes and a deadly 60 degrees in 20 minutes.”

Dr Stokes says the smaller the child, the greater the risk. A young child will quickly dehydrate and lapse into unconsciousness.

There have been at least 10 child hot car deaths in the past few years in Australia and KidSafe Victoria reports approximately 5,000 have been rescued after being left in hot cars in Australia.

In the US, the situation is far more tragic. In 2018 alone, 52 children died from vehicular heatstroke.

Our message is clear: take the children with you. Hot cars are killers.”

Have a read of some of our previous stories on hot car incidents that have resulted in either death or serious injury. Often it’s because the parents are in a rush and simply ‘forget’ their child is in the back seat.

Child hot car safety: How to ensure this doesn’t happen to you 

1. Don’t risk even a few minutes in the car – Even if it’s just for a few minutes, we should never leave them alone. Parents and carers can face up to three years imprisonment in some states for leaving a child under the age of 12 unattended in a vehicle.

2. Invest in a Rear Seat Passenger Reminder – It works by monitoring the vehicle’s rear doors and sending an alarm to help remind drivers of the back seat passengers.

3. Never let your child play with your keys – It can result in them accidentally pressing the wrong button and locking themselves in.

4. Invest in a key holder for your purse – Or choose a special area to stash your keys when out and about and avoid accidentally misplacing them or leaving them on the front seat.

5. Put your purse in the backseat – This can ensure you always do a double take when getting out of the car.

6. Look into Infant SOS – This is an app that can send you a text to alert you that your child is still in the back seat.

7.  Aim to be on time (or early even) – This reduces the panic that sets in when you arrive at your destination and are attempting to get out of the car at record pace, absentmindedly forgetting to check the precious cargo in the back.

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Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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