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01st Jun 2020

Gardaí appeals to parents not to leave children in their car while doing the shopping

Trine Jensen-Burke

children left in cars

When Ireland went into lockdown all those weeks ago, many supermarkets were eager to push the message of ‘one person, one trolley’ in an attempt to reduce the number of people coming into their stores.

Needless to say, this put many one-parent families under pressure, feeling like they could not shop for food without risking being banned from entering shops or scorned by fellow shoppers for bringing their child with them. With most shops reserving deliveries for elders and those cocooning, many parents felt they had no option but to leave their children in the car while running in to get their shopping done.

However, now, with the weather staying hot, Gardaí have appealed to parents not to leave themselves in a position where they have to leave their children in their car while out shopping.

This follows an incident in Donegal earlier this weekend, when a concerned member of the public contacted Gardaí because parents had left children in the car while they went an did their essential grocery shopping.

Speaking about the incident, a Garda spokesperson confirmed “A lady made contact with us today with a concern in relation to children being left in the car by some parents while they conduct their essential grocery shopping.

“The concern is that some parents feel under pressure to leave the children in the car as they think that they cannot bring them into the shop with them or that it is not safe to do so.

“The lady in question explained that she had no option but take her own child with her to do her grocery shopping recently and was met with disapproval at the grocery shop in relation to having the child present with her.

“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.”

The spokesperson added “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.

“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.”