Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Jail term could double for leaving children in cars

New Victorian laws could see fines and jail time increase for parents who leave their children unattended in cars.

August 11, 2014 4:15am

New Victorian laws could see fines and jail time increase for parents who leave their children unattended in cars.

Changes to the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, introduced by the Victorian Government, will double the jail term from three months to six and increase the fine from $2214 to $3690.

Children and Early Childhood Development Minister Wendy Lovell said research by Ambulance Victoria found that on a 29°C day the temperature in a locked car rises to 44°C in 10 minutes and to 60°C in 20 minutes.

‘‘Despite a ‘No Exceptions No Excuses’ awareness campaign with KidSafe Victoria earlier this year, a significant number of parents still leave their children unattended,’’ Ms Lovell said.

‘‘This is especially relevant ahead of months with extreme weather, when leaving a child in a hot car — even for a few moments — can have devastating results.’’

Shepparton crime prevention officer Glenn Gibson said increasing fines and jail time for parents who left their children unattended was a reflection of how seriously the public felt about the issue.

‘‘It’s really amazing how quickly a car can heat up in a short time,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a risk and sometimes it’s not even done intentionally.’’

Mr Gibson said enforcing these penalties was only one part of the solution and encouraging parents to take notice and be aware of the risks was the other.

‘‘We don’t want to form habits in winter that are going to affect us in summer,’’ he said.

‘‘Hopefully we won’t get to the stage when we have to enforce these penalties.’’

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