Leaving children in cars on hot days could cause deadly heat stroke in less than an hour


Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour, suffocating anyone trapped inside, a new study shows.

In fact, when parked out in the sun, interior temperature cans reach as high as 160F, the temperature at which eggs cook.

Parking in the shade doesn’t help much, where internal temperatures can hit 118F in one hour.

In the first study to do so, researchers from Arizona State University looked at how different types of cars warm up on hot days when exposed to varying amounts of shade and sunlight for different periods of time.

The researchers also looked at how quickly it would take a two-year-old child to suffer from heatstroke in left in a hot car.

Incidents of hot car deaths peak between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when between two and three kids die each week, according to the National Security Council.

Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour, as high as 160F, suffocating anyone trapped inside, a new study shows

Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour, as high as 160F, suffocating anyone trapped inside, a new study shows

Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour, as high as 160F, suffocating anyone trapped inside, a new study shows

For the study, researchers used six vehicles: two silver economy cars, two silver mid-size sedans and two silver minivans. The cars used in each pair were identical.

Over the course of three hot summer days in Tempe, Arizona – where temperatures can reach as high as 105F – the team moved the cars from sunlight to shade at different periods of the day.

The interior air temperature and surface temperatures were also measured throughout the day.  

‘We were trying to replicate what might occur during a shopping trip,’Nancy Selover, an Arizona State climatologist and research professor in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, told Daily Mail Online.

‘I was most surprised to find that the surface temperatures got as hot as they did, hot enough to burn your skin.’

HOW HOT CARS KILL YOUNG CHILDREN

Fast-rising temperatures in cars can quickly overwhelm very young children, who cannot regulate their body heat properly.

High internal temperatures lead to heatstroke, which overwhelms the brain’s temperature control.

Heatstroke occurs when a person’s core body temperature rises to 104F, according to the Mayo Clinic.

That leads to dizziness, confusion, disorientation, agitation, seizures, sluggishness, unconsciousness and eventually death.

Cracking a window, or even leaving one open, is not enough – the heat in the car will not dissipate properly, and the greenhouse effect continues.

Reaching a temperature as high as 107F can result in irreversible organ damage or even death.

Researchers found that, for vehicles parked in the sun, in just one hour interior temperatures hit an average of 116F. Dashboards were 157F, steering wheels were 127F, and seats were 123F.

For vehicles parked in the shade, interior temperatures reached an average of about 100F. Dashboards were 118F, steering wheels were 107F and seats were 105F.

‘People think: “Oh if I put [the car] in the shade, it’s ok”,’ Selover said.

‘The sun moves across the sky so if you leave the car out for the whole day, at some point the car will be exposed to the sun.’

The economy car heated up the fastest because it was the smallest, followed by the mid-size sedan and the minivan, respectively.

‘A child can, at first, maybe cool themselves down but, when they’re trapped in the car seat, they’re exhaling humidity,’ Selover said.

‘So when they exhale, the child can’t cool themselves down because sweat won’t evaporate as quickly.’ 

Over the last 18 years, between 30 and 60 children per year in the US have died after being left unattended in a hot car, all preventable deaths.  

Heatstroke occurs when a person’s core body temperature rises to 104F, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Reaching a temperature as high as 107F can result in irreversible organ damage or even death.

Parking in the shade didn't help much, with cabin temperatures reaching 100F - and ensuring a child left inside could suffer heatstroke

Parking in the shade didn't help much, with cabin temperatures reaching 100F - and ensuring a child left inside could suffer heatstroke

Parking in the shade didn’t help much, with cabin temperatures reaching 100F – and ensuring a child left inside could suffer heatstroke

Young children are at a greater risk because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s, according to a journal report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The team used data to model a hypothetical two-year old boy’s body temperature to see how quickly he would suffer from heatstroke.

They found that, if left in the conditions of the cars used in the study, the boy’s body temperature would reach 104F in about an hour if the car was parked in the sun and two hours if the car was parked in the shade. 

‘We think it’s a no-brainer that cars get hot in the sun. but it’s important to know how quickly it can get hot,’ said Selover.

‘An app or some other technology that tells you there’s movement in the car, if the child moves in the car, would be helpful but parents always to be cognizant of their responsibilities and check in the back seat before they exit the car.’ 

ONE-YEAR-OLD GIRL DIES AFTER BEING LEFT IN HOT PICKUP TRUCK 

By Hannah Moore

An adopted one-year-old girl has died after she was left in a hot car in Nashville all day.

The youngster was found dead in her car seat at the family home in East Nashville on Wednesday night by her adoptive mother. 

Metro Nashville Police say the girl’s adoptive father forgot about his daughter after dropping her sibling off at day care. 

The girl, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead when she arrived at Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Police say their investigations will continue into the night.   

The parents have not been identified pending police findings.  



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