x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Parents warned not to lock children in cars

Police had to rescue 18 children trapped inside locked cars, closed rooms or lifts in Dubai last month when temperatures in the emirate climbed above 40°C.

DUBAI // Police had to rescue 18 children trapped inside locked cars, closed rooms or lifts in Dubai last month when temperatures in the emirate climbed above 40°C.

The incidents mostly involved children below the age of five being left in cars while their parents went shopping, police said. None of the incidents resulted in serious health consequences.

The statistic indicates that parents are failing to heed warnings about leaving their children in confined spaces, forcing police to renew the message yesterday.

Last year, children trapped inside cars accounted for one-fifth of the calls to Dubai Police's rescue department. According to statistics, 85 calls or 21 per cent of the 404 calls received involved children stuck in hot cars. This was the equivalent to one call every four days. The figure was above the 74 cases in 2009, representing 19 per cent of 377 calls.

The heat inside cars can be 30°C higher than outside within 10 minutes of the vehicle being stationary, meaning children can be exposed to heat of almost 80°C during summer.

Children are much less able than adults to cope with sudden rises in temperature. When their bodies reaches a certain temperature, the sweating mechanism shuts down. When dehydration takes hold it leads to a lack of blood flow to the brain, which can cause seizures, coma and even death.

Captain Mohammed Ibrahim Ahmed Al Reyaysa, the head of the hard task and rescue team of Dubai Police, said the team needs three to five minutes to open a locked car or lift.

Police have repeatedly warned against leaving car keys near children or letting them play in lifts.

pkannan@thenational.ae