"Far too many".
That's the blunt warning to Aussie parents as concerns return once more around children being left alone in hot cars ahead of what is expected to be a gruelling summer.
Concerns over the deadly mistake are more than justified, with the NRMA revealing on Monday the number of call outs to children and pets unattended in vehicles in the past 12 months alone is nearing 2,000.
“Unfortunately, we are still seeing far too many children left unattended in the car, so we are again urging parents not to leave their children alone in the car. It is not worth the risk, even if you are quickly ducking into the shops,” NRMA Road Safety Expert Dimitra Vlahomitros said.
“In just a few short minutes, temperatures can increase significantly, posing a serious danger to children and pets locked in a car.”
NRMA's spokesman Peter Khoury told Yahoo News Australia earlier this year statistics for how many children are being left in cars are "alarming".
"January this year we rescued 213 children — it was the highest month in five years," he said. "And 2022 was the highest in 10 years considering both children and pets (4267)."
Warning comes as higher than average temperatures expected
Khoury said one theory around last summer's high numbers was cooler temperatures led parents into a false sense of security.
"We didn’t have a particularly hot 2022 and because of that people thought 'well it’s not hot, it's not an issue'. Whereas we tell people that regardless of the weather, it's not safe to leave children in vehicles."
The NRMA are pleading with parents not to make this mistake with the confirmation of El Niño which will bring "extremely hot days" to Australia, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Leaving an unattended child locked in a car is illegal and can. result in a fine up to $22,000 under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.
Anyone who sees a child locked inside a car can call Triple-0 for assistance.
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