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The Straits Times
August 8, 2022
A child left in an idling family car caused an accident on Sunday (Aug 7) when he purportedly got behind the wheel and drove the BMW X3 into a parked Lexus sport utility vehicle.
The accident took place in a carpark in Serangoon Garden Way after the boy was left alone in the parked car with the engine still running.
No one was hurt in the accident, though The Straits Times understands that a police report has been filed for insurance claims purposes.
Madam Karen Ho, 50, the owner of Pa Bul Lo Korean BBQ, which faces the carpark, said she was attending to customers when the accident happened at about 10.20am.
"We only heard a bang and when we went out, we saw people gathering at the carpark."
Pictures of the accident that were first shared on the Facebook group SG Road Vigilante showed the black BMW having collided head first into the front bumper of the white Lexus parked across from it.
Safety experts warned that parents should not leave their children unattended in cars, even if the engine is turned off.
A spokesman for road safety advocacy group Roads.sg said a child in a car with the engine on may end up moving the vehicle - as with Sunday's accident - putting him and others at risk.
"In general, it's never a good idea to leave a child unattended," he said. "The same thing applies to leaving them in a vehicle... It actually happens more often than you think."
Stressing the need for an adult to supervise a child who is alone in a vehicle, Mr Bernard Tay, chairman of the Singapore Road Safety Council, said: "There are just too many scenarios, and too many risks."
He added: "You don't know what they'll do in the car. If the engine is running and they wind up all the windows, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning."
Even if the engine is turned off, the child may suffocate due to the heat, especially if the car is left out in the open, he added.
Those who leave their car engines idling while they are stationary for reasons other than traffic conditions are also committing an offence, and can be liable to a fine of up to $2,000 for the first offence and $5,000 for subsequent offences.
The rationale is to minimise pollution and reduce fuel wastage, said the National Environment Agency.