Mum thought son found in her hot car was at school

Child found in car with critical injuries

An eight-year-old boy is in a critical condition after secretly climbing back into his mother's auto following the school drop-off, then getting trapped in the vehicle for several hours under the fierce Australian sun.

Temperatures inside a closed auto can reach nearly double the air temperature outside.

According to the Herald Sun, the boy attends St Margaret Mary's Catholic Primary School.

His classmates are also struggling to cope with the tragedy, and both the boy's school and the public school where his mother works are offering their communities counselling.

Police Leading Senior Constable Lee Thomson said the boy was "unresponsive" when he was found.

Victoria Police spokeswoman Leonie Johnson said the boy had been in the auto since the morning.

Victoria Police said the mother had dropped her children at a western suburbs primary school in the morning. "Police are treating the incident as an accident".

Detectives say it is unclear how the boy came to be in the vehicle but believe it is not suspicious.

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While the day started as normal for the family, the boy never made it to school.

Another local, Wendy Kostraby, said she had once left her son in the vehicle for five minutes while she ran to the shop, returning to find him having a seizure.

Homicide Squad detectives were brought in "as per protocol" and were "assisting only at this time", police said in a statement.

Another resident who saw the commotion said it was a 'very sad situation'.

He was treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to the Royal Children's Hospital in a critical condition.

"I can't imagine what the parents would be going through". 'It's sad whichever way it happened - especially when kids are involved'.

The boy is now being treated in the Royal Children's Hospital. You forget just how hot it can get in the vehicle.

Newport local Wendy Kostraby, warned leaving a child in a auto could cause medical damage in just a short time. "It can be fatal if you aren't careful".

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