Muscat: Two boys aged, five and six, have died after they locked themselves in a car, sparking a police investigation and a warning to parents not to leave their children in hot vehicles.
The incident took place on Sunday in Ibri. “While one of the boys died inside the car on Sunday, the other, who was in critical condition, died on Tuesday night,” said a relative of the children.
The parents of the boys were at home when the boys locked themselves in. “When the parents realised the boys were missing they looked for them in the neighbourhood and only at around 5 p.m. discovered them inside the car,” said the relative.
The children might have suffocated due to the high temperature, according to the relative. The temperatures in Ibri have been hovering between 43° Celsius to 44° Celsius for the last couple of days.
The incident is being investigated, said a Royal Oman Police (ROP) official. Urging parents to always monitor their children, the ROP official said, “never allow them to play inside a vehicle or leave them in a car with the engine running.”
The official reminded parents that leaving children locked in cars even for ten minutes in the midst of dangerously hot temperatures can lead to suffocation, and could prove fatal.
He said the boys might have accidently locked themselves in, but it seems they were not monitored. Hamed Al Wahaibi, international rally champion and founder of Safety First, Oman’s leading road safety organisation said, “Parents should monitor their children at all times. With numerous incidents such as this being reported in the region, parents should be more aware and see that such incidents are avoided.”
“There is no excuse for parental negligence,” he added.
Speaking on the incident, Mark Pudwell, business development and training manager, Competence HR said this event has once again highlighted the need for “ultimate vigilance”.
“Children must never be left alone in the vehicle under any circumstances even under the supervision of a maid or nanny,” he said. Pudwell pointed out that “Children, particularly young ones, are unable to understand how to regulate their core body temperatures and as such, exposure to relatively short periods of time in a vehicle when the ambient temperatures are even as low as 25° Celsius, can be fatal.”
Adding that there is simply no justification for leaving children alone a vehicle, he said, “If parents step out of a vehicle briefly, ensure the vehicle is switched off and windows left open approximately 5 centimetres. This allows air to circulate and still prevents children from climbing out. Care must be taken when returning to the vehicle and closing the windows as small fingers could get trapped.”
Speaking on how others can help trapped children, “If you see a child obviously left in a sealed vehicle, try to open a door first and then call for an ambulance immediately. If the vehicle is locked, and there are no signs of the parents in the immediate vicinity, a large rock or suitably robust object should be used to break the window farthest away from the child if the child appears to be sleeping or unconscious, or warn conscious children to move to the rear of the vehicle and then break a front window and unlock the doors and remove the child to a cool environment.”
“You must protect yourself from breaking glass by looking away at the moment of impact and wrap a cloth around the hand holding the rock or any other object,” he added. Advising them not to be tempted to give the child very cold water or ice as this may lead to rapid cooling of the body core temperature and result in shock Pudwell said, “Give very small sips of room temperature water and cool the skin using wet towels and await the arrival of the paramedics.”