Two children die of suffocation in locked car

Muscat: Two children died of suffocation after being locked inside a vehicle in the wilayat of Jalan Bani Bu Ali in the South Sharqiyah Governorate. According to the Royal Oman Police (ROP), the siblings, aged five and three, were playing around the family car, which was parked near their house in the Saih Al Ula area, about 275 kilometres from Muscat.

They might have entered the car when they found it unlocked, it is learnt. The children apparently died of heat and asphyxiation although they were rushed to hospital on Sunday afternoon.

Following the tragic incident, the ROP has called upon parents to ensure the safety of children in and outside the vehicle. “Parents should not leave the vehicles unlocked when they are parked. This can avoid the children entering the vehicles and getting them locked inside while playing around”, an ROP official said.

The official advised that parents should also check their vehicles before locking them to ensure that nobody is left behind are empty. “Keeping the vehicles locked at the time of parking will help prevent entry by others including children”, he said.

In August last year, a five-year-old boy died of suffocation after he was left inside a closed car for several hours in the wilayat of Suwaiq. In 2017, six children lost their lives due to suffocation inside a closed vehicle.

While a 28-month-old child died after being left inside a family car in the 35 degrees Celsius heat, a four-year-old Omani boy died after he was left alone in a locked bus for more than five hours in the Mabella area of Seeb wilayat. The driver of the kindergarten boy’s bus found the boy in the back seat of the bus. The boy was believed to have died of heat exhaustion and asphyxiation.

In September 2015, a four-year-old girl, who was allegedly left unattended on a school bus, died of suffocation in Bidbid wilayat. In 2014, two children died after being locked in a kindergarten bus in the Darsait area of Muttrah wilayat. According to experts, just a few minutes left alone in a locked car can be enough to cause the death of a young child and this is aggravated in summer.

“Remaining inside a closed vehicle where the airflow is zero, the first few minutes are crucial. The lesser resistance power of children will further worsen the situation and as he’s not supplied with oxygen, his strength to scream is minimised leading to the imminent death”, Abdullah Khaduri, a safety and security trainer told the Observer.

This situation is hardly irreversible because they would be inhaling poisonous carbon monoxide gas which is triggered by a lack of oxygen in the vehicle, he added.