After reading, and joining in, on several "child and getting petrol" threads I noticed that many people were saying that they thought it was illegal to leave a child unattended in a car. I contacted the QLD Department of Transport (our version of the NSW RTA) and asked them about where the law stood on the issue.
While I've posted their reply email to me below, the short version is that in Queensland it is not illegal to leave a child under 16 in the car while getting petrol provided that the car is switched off, the parking (hand) brake is applied and the key removed from the ignition.
Of course the final decision whether to leave your child in the car is entirely a personal parenting choice - this is just some more information for parents to consider when making it. And that's what bubhub is all about: sharing info
Please don't make this another debate thread... been there done that
Thank you for your email below about the legal implications of leaving
children alone in a vehicle.
There are two aspects to this question; firstly, the obligations of a
driver leaving a vehicle and secondly the duty of a person who has care of
Section 213 of the Queensland Road Rules provides that when a driver has
stopped and is leaving the vehicle the driver must first apply the parking
brake and switch off the engine. If the driver is going to be more than 3
meters for the vehicle and there is no-one 16 years or older remaining in
the vehicle, the ignition key must also be removed. If no-one is remaining
in the vehicle the doors must be locked.
Section 286 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (CCA) provides that it is the
duty of every person who has care of a child under 16 years to take action
that is reasonable in all circumstances to remove the child from any
danger. Section 326 of the CCA provides an offence for any person to
expose a child under the age of 7 years, to a situation whereby the life of
such child is or is likely to be endangered, or the child?s health is
likely to be permanently injured.
Consequently, it is permissible to leave a child under 16 in a vehicle at a
petrol station provided the parking brake is applied, the motor is switched
off, and the key removed.
If you need more information, please contact me again either by return
email or using the details below and I'll be happy to help you.
John N Burrill
Policy Officer (Legal and Cabinet)
Land Transport and Safety Division
Telephone: 3253 4505 Fax: 3253 4110