A report of a child being left alone in a vehicle on a 30C day in Napier last week has prompted local police to remind people to take extra care in the hot weather.

Taradale community constable John Gillon said that on Thursday last week he received a report that a 4-year-old was found alone in a vehicle parked at a Napier supermarket.

"It was one of those 30 degree days where although the driver's window was down the inside temperature was extreme and could easily have been over 40 degrees.

"The child was described as being drenched in sweat and had been left for at least 10 minutes," he said.


The car was unlocked and a woman saw the child and spoke to him until the father returned to the vehicle, Mr Gillon said.

In this instance, he said, the parent was warned for leaving a child under 14 years without reasonable supervision, which was punishable by a maximum $2000 fine.

"He realised he had made an error of judgment.

"Every circumstance is different, some people will leave their child in the car while they pop into the dairy - you have to judge each situation on the whether it was reasonable, there's no hard and fast rules.

"But with the weather the way it is and the fact that cars heat up quickly it's an added risk that people need to keep in mind."

According to the law you cannot leave children under 14 years without making reasonable provision for their care and supervision, Mr Gillon said.

What was considered reasonable took into account the circumstances in which the children were left alone, their age and the length of time they were alone.

Parents or guardians were required to assess all the circumstances and make sure that any child left alone or in the care of another child or young person was safe and not in danger or at an unacceptable risk of harm.


"Every situation however is unique and a good test is that if you don't feel comfortable leaving your child then of course don't."

Mr Gillon said that it was good that a member of the public had intervened on this occasion.

"These days we're almost encouraged to put our own safety first but people do need to intervene in situations like this."