A mum accused of leaving her own child to die in a boiling hot vehicle had been a regular at the pokies venue she was visiting.
The woman’s one-year-old baby continues to fight for life after he was found unconscious in a car parked outside a pokies venue in Point Cook, west of Melbourne.
The 14-month old boy was found unresponsive at about 3pm on Wednesday in the locked car, which was parked outside The Brook Point Cook.
A one-year-old baby is fighting for life after it was found unconscious in a car parked outside a pokies venue
The baby was found unresponsive about 3pm on Wednesday in the locked car, which was parked outside The Brook Point Cook (pictured)
Upset people hit social media on Thursday to vent their dismay at the tragedy in Point Cook
Daily Mail Australia has been told the child had been left in the car for up to five hours from about 10am when his mum popped in for a game of bingo.
As temperatures climbed to 37C, the child remained helplessly trapped in the vehicle, which is believed to have had its windows partly rolled down.
It is understood police have been told the woman was noticed wandering out to her vehicle on and off throughout the day while she was playing poker machines until she realised the baby was in strife.
Experts suggest a car’s temperature on a 35C day or hotter can hit an average 47C after just an hour parked in the sun, with the child likely to suffer heatstroke within that hour.
The infant was taken to the Royal Children’s Hospital in a critical condition and remained in a stable condition on Thursday.
A crime scene was set up on Wednesday night as police investigated the incident.
The 32-year-old mother, from Gladstone Park – about 37kms away from the venue – was charged with negligently causing serious injury and reckless conduct endangering life.
She was bailed by police to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on January 23.
It is understood a bystander performed CPR on the child until paramedics arrived.
Witnesses said the mother was inconsolable as efforts were made to save her son.
He was rushed to the Royal Children’s Hospital in a critical condition and is now fighting for his life
The hotel reopened on Thursday, with several staff members seen consoling each other as they walked in.
They were greeted by a media pack, which remained camped outside the venue until early afternoon.
Signs can be clearly seen around the venue’s car park warning parents not to leave their children in cars.
Inside, it was business as usual, with up to a dozen people playing the pokies.
The venue is operated by Geelong Football Club, which has licences for 80 poker machines at the site.
Angry people hit Facebook to vent about the shocking tragedy in Point Cook.
A spokeswoman from the club would not comment on the matter and said it was now in the hands of Victoria Police.
The incident comes less than a month after the state government launched its Never Leave Kids in Cars campaign.
Last month, paramedics revealed they were called eight times to children being left locked in hot cars across Victoria as temperatures hit a scorching 40C.
Upon launching the campaign, Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos said more than 30 Victorians a week — mainly babies and toddlers — were having to be rescued from vehicles.
On Thursday, Ms Mikakos said almost 1,500 children were left in vehicles in Victoria in the first 11 months of last year.
She said she felt ‘absolutely gutted’ after hearing about Wednesday’s incident at Point Cook.
‘It’s a tragic set of circumstances and it is a very clear reminder to parents about the risks of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle, particularly on a hot day,’ she said.
But if the minister was upset, people hitting social media on Thursday were absolutely livid.
While some blamed Victoria’s crippling gambling issues and the lack of government support, most pointed their finger at the state’s weak justice system and the person responsible for leaving the child in the car.
‘She needs to be locked in a car on a 40 degree day,’ one of the tamer comments read.
‘I’m no mother of the year but I can’t comprehend how this can keep happening,’ another stated.
Many made the same, obvious point.
‘Seriously pokies can not be more important than a child’s well being/life,’ one person posted.