The mum of a baby allegedly left in a hot car in the middle of the afternoon has been charged, with Victoria Police investigating if she was inside a nearby hotel playing pokies at the time.
Emergency services were called to a car parked near the Brook Hotel at Point Cook just after 3pm on Wednesday.
The unconscious 14-month-old boy was taken to hospital and remains in a critical but stable condition after being pulled from the vehicle as the temperature reached 33C.
Officers are investigating if the child was left inside the car for up to five hours, according to the Herald Sun.
A 32-year-old Gladstone Park woman, who Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said she understands is the mum of the child, has since been charged with negligently causing serious injury and reckless conduct endanger life.
She was bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates' Court on January 23.
Heat can soar up to 30C higher than outside temperatures inside a car parked in the sun.
“I felt absolutely gutted by what happened,” Ms Mikakos told reporters on Thursday.
"It's a tragic set of circumstances and it is a very clear reminder about the risks of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle, particularly on a hot day. My thoughts are with this little baby.”
‘It’s never safe to leave a child unattended in a car’
There were almost 1500 cases of emergency services being called out to unattended children in cars in the first 11 months of 2019.
The Victorian government runs an annual campaign urging parents not to leave their children alone in hot cars, using maternal child health services and early childhood centres in particular to spread the word.
But Ms Mikakos said she's open to looking at what else could be done.
“I will be taking advice from experts about whether there is something we need to do particularly around gaming venues,” she said.
“But we want to constantly get the message out, whether it's people going into a gaming venue, or a shopping centre, or wherever they might be going, that it's never ever safe to leave their child unattended in car.”
Children's body temperatures rise three to five times faster than those of adults, putting them at a higher risk of heat stroke, dehydration and organ damage.
- with AAP
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