Mall warns about children left in cars

2016-01-06 06:00

PARENTS are urged not to leave children unattended in vehicles while shopping at the Liberty Mall.

The call comes after a recent incident when two children were found locked in a vehicle unattended for half an hour while their parents were shopping at the mall.

Muhammad Varachia, general manager at Liberty Midlands Mall, said that when the children were seen in the vehicle, centre management contacted authorities.

“The children were spotted by the centre security who immediately notified the SAPS and ER24, who smashed the window and released the children. The children were in a somewhat distressed but stable condition after having been in the vehicle for approximately 30 minutes,” Varachia said.

Pietermaritzburg’s police communications officer, Constable Mthokozisi Ngobese, said the children were aged four and five.

“A case of child abandonment has been opened and transferred to the Family Violence, Child Protection And Sexual Offences unit and is under investigation. One suspect, the father, was arrested,” he said.

The incident comes after a spate of similar incidents around the city where children and pets were locked in vehicles outside malls.

In July 2015, the parents of a three-month-old ­baby allegedly locked their child in their car before going shopping at Cascades Centre.

A car guard notified mall security and police, and emergency services personnel arrived at Cascades to unlock the vehicle.

The parents exited the mall shortly after and apparently told police that they had only been in the centre for a few minutes.

Later that month, the SPCA was called for help by the Liberty Midlands Mall after it was reported that a puppy was howling in a car parked in the underground car lot for almost two hours.

“We urge parents to act responsibly and never leave their children unattended in a vehicle,” said Varachia.

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