Warning after mum leaves three-year-old girl in hot car in Dereham car park

The car park where the child was seen in the car.

The car park where the child was seen in the car. - Credit: Archant

Parents are being warned not to leave young children alone in cars, particularly in hot weather, after police and an ambulance were called to a Dereham car park.

A child was reported as being left alone sleeping in a hot car for several minutes with the parents nowhere in sight.

Shopper Maxine Seaman spotted the girl she believed was aged around three, in the parked car in the shopping centre car park off Commercial Road in full sun at around 2.30pm on Sunday.

A spokesman for weather forecasting service Weatherquest said temperatures in Dereham would have been around 25C at that time of day.

Mrs Seaman said the girl was starting to sweat and there was only half an inch of window open.

After trying to trace the parents she tried to raise the alarm at the police station opposite but it was shut so she called the police.

They arrived about a minute after the woman, believed to be the child's mother, returned to the car with her shopping.

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A police spokesman confirmed officers were called at 2.25pm on Sunday after reports of concerns for the safety of a child left in a hot car. She said: 'The mother of the child had returned to the car and officers spoke to her and took her details. They will consider whether any offence has been committed. Police advice is that young children should never be left unattended at any time in a car or otherwise.'

An ambulance was also called and a spokesman said the child was checked and over and discharged.

Mrs Seaman said she and her husband were a minute away from breaking the windows of the car.

'She claimed she had only been gone for two minutes,' she said. 'That child was there when we got to the car park, while I went into a shop, while I walked over to the police station and back. The police were furious with her.'

The charity Child Accident Prevention Trust reinforced the warnings and pointed to research that showed if a car was left in direct sunlight when it was 27-38C outside, the temperature inside could reach 55-78C. Even in relatively mild conditions between 15C and 20C, the internal temperature can reach 40C.

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