You're lucky I can't send you to jail: magistrate fines mum for leaving kids in hot car

A MAGISTRATE has told a mother who left her three children in her car on a 32 degree day while she did the shopping he wanted to send her to jail. 

The 23-year-old mother, of Waratah Place, left the boys aged seven, two and one in her car while she grabbed a few items from Woolworths supermarket. 

The magistrate, Terry Lucas, said in Orange Local Court the law would only allow him to impose a fine but if he could send her to jail he would. 

“You could have lost three children in less than five minutes or they could have suffered brain damage,” he said. 

“I’ve been in the courts for 30 years as a coroner and an assistant coroner and I have had three where children have died.

“As a matter of convenience to yourself, you left them there.”

The woman’s solicitor, Rebecca McIlveen, said her client had made a serious error of judgment when, on January 14, she decided to leave the two younger children sleeping in the car and the older one awake, when she ducked into the shop to buy milk, toilet paper and juice.


She said her client had been frustrated because the boys had been “playing up” and with more sleep and more foresight she would not have made the decision to leave them.

“She estimated it would not have taken longer than five minutes ...  the eldest understands not to touch car keys and he didn’t want to come in,” Ms McIlveen said. 

By the time police arrived at the scene the one-year-old was sweaty, hot, angry and trying to lift his body out of his seat belt, police facts said. 

A member of the public called police at 2.10pm, officers arrived at 2.16pm and Phillips returned at 2.18pm. 

While the mother was gone, police tried to ask the seven year-old to unlock the doors. He tried to pick at the locks but could not move them. 

Police estimated it was between 40 and 45 degrees inside the car and said they had built up a sweat merely standing outside the car on the asphalt. 

The mother  had left the fan in the car running but not the airconditioner.

Ms McIlveen said her client was not a particularly experienced driver, was on P-plates and thought the airconditioning was working.

Mr Lucas fined the unemployed, single mother $1000. 

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