Gardaí in Donegal have issued a warning to parents to never leave a child/children unattended in a car when shopping.
The current hot weather presents a danger of cars overheating and puts children at risk of heatstroke, which can be fatal.
The issue arose after a child was reportedly left in a car in an area of Donegal while their mother did the grocery shopping. Gardaí were contacted by a member of the public who was concerned for the child’s safety.
The mother explained to gardaí that she had no other option but to leave their child in the car. Under Covid-19 restrictions, she said that having her child with her in the shop was met with disapproval.
Current public advice asks people to avoid taking children to the shop where possible. Other supermarkets in Ireland are respectfully asking customers with children to avoid coming to the store at certain times.
The situation has prompted gardaí to issue advice to parents: “Please do not ever leave a child/children unattended in a car because you feel that you will be met with disapproving looks or attitudes while at the shop. People have varying circumstances in life and that is understandable,” a spokesperson said.
“Besides the obvious and many reasons why children should never ordinarily be left unattended in a car, the weather at present is very hot. Overheated cars can cause children to suffer life-threatening heatstroke, rapid dehydration, suffocation and death. Deaths from heatstroke can happen even when cars are parked in the shade. The younger the child, the greater the sensitivity to heatstroke, and the faster the child will dehydrate.”
If a parent cannot leave their child at home to do the shopping, gardaí advise them to take all necessary precautions.
“There are people who have no option but to take their child or children with them when getting their essential shopping and that is understandable in some cases.
“It is of course advisable and preferable that you leave your child at home in the care of someone else until you collect your shopping but if that is not an option for you then simply practice social distancing and good hand hygiene when at the shop,” the spokesperson said.