A Victorian mum’s shocking reason for leaving son in a car for nearly five hours as temperatures soared to 37C last year has been revealed in court.
A Melbourne mum left her 14-month-old son in a car as temperatures soared to 37C while she gambled at a suburban pub.
Kaija Millar pleaded guilty to negligently cause serious injury in the County Court of Victoria on Monday in relation to the shocking incident in January 2020.
The 34-year-old left her 14-month-old son Easton in the car at The Brook hotel at Point Cook on January 15.
She returned to him about 2.50pm, nearly five hours after she arrived at the pub to play bingo and the pokies, the court was told.
Easton was fitting, frothing at the mouth and his eyes were wide open when she found him, prosecutor Neil Hutton said.
“He’s going to die, he’s going to die,” Millar screamed after finding her son in the car and rushing him inside.
Millar said she’d left him in the car and said “don’t tell my husband”, according to witnesses.
When paramedics quizzed her she claimed she checked on him every two hours and he wasn’t waking up.
The prosecution told the court that Millar had said: “I just want him to survive because I don’t want to go to jail.”
CCTV footage showed she didn’t check on him while she was at the pub, and when medical staff asked her what happened, she blamed it on bushfires.
“The smoke has made my baby ill,” she said.
The 14-month-old was rushed to hospital with severe heat stroke and kidney failure that required dialysis. He required a prolonged stay in intensive care.
The boy was left with a severe brain injury, a lifelong disability that will likely require long-term physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and medication.
“He will have a significantly reduced quality of life … he will also have a reduced life expectancy,” Mr Hutton said.
During the hearing Millar cried and wiped her eyes, took notes and covered her face with her hand.
Her lawyer Michael Allen told the court she was suffering from postnatal depression, had a cognitive impairment and was struggling to cope.
“This is a case of profound tragedy. A mother who has caused severe and lifelong injuries … are acknowledged and recognised,” he said.
Millar was “utterly overwhelmed” by motherhood and the reasons she left him in the car were “complex and layered”, he said.
The hearing continues.