A toddler and an even younger child only six months old were left unattended multiple times.
A toddler and an even younger child only six months old were left unattended multiple times. James D. Mossman, USAF

Distressed toddler locked in garage

SHOCKED neighbours looked after two distressed babies and urged the parents to never leave the children alone again.

But the Sunshine Coast couple disregarded that advice, even locking a toddler alone in a garage.

A man aged 28 and his former partner, 22, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to leaving children unattended.

In 2016 the couple left home without their children, one of whom was just six months old.

Neighbours saw what happened, found the door unlocked, and went over to wait with the children for about 30-45 minutes.

But Brisbane District Court heard the children were left unattended again.

The neighbours once heard crying and could see one baby in a cot and both kids "in a state of distress”, Crown prosecutor Jade Rodriguez said.

And on June 16 last year, police paying a welfare visit found a two year-old locked in the garage, his nappy soaked in urine.

Judge Paul Smith told the parents: "Both of you would have been unable to hear any noise from the garage.”

The 28-year-old was the biological father of one child and stepfather to the other.

The 22-year-old was the mother of both.

She experienced depression, anxiety and an eating disorder since her early teens, defence counsel Nathan Edridge said.

"She was only a very young mother at the time...unable to cope with the demands of parenting,” Mr Edridge said.

Drugs were found in the house once but the mother said she did not have a drug problem.

The court heard the mother's children had since gone into care.

The mother could see the children once a week for two hours and Mr Edridge said she was deeply remorseful.

Judge Smith said: "Locking that young (one) in the garage was pretty terrible actually,”

He said the parents' excuse for the first incident was that they "popped out to the shops”.

Both parents were convicted and given two years' probation.

Judge Smith said the parents must get counselling, including parenting programs, if ordered to. -NewsRegional