Car Temperatures Could Become Deadly After An Hour In Hot Sunlight, Study Says


Temperatures are continuing to increase throughout the United States. However, hot temperatures could be a significant problem for families with young children.

Hot Car Study

Science journal Temperature released a new study on May 24 that focused on how summertime temperatures could affect cars and children inside the vehicles. A research team made up of scientists from Arizona State University and the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine hoped to showcase how heat exposure in both the sun and shade could affect a hypothetical 2-year-old boy in six different vehicles.

The research team experimented between June 25 and July 11, 2014. For three to five times a day, the team placed three pairs of identical model vehicles out in the sunlight and shade in Tempe, Arizona. The cars were used to demonstrate an hour of shopping trip that happened during a day temperature of 100 degrees.

The team measured the vehicles' surface temperatures on the steering wheel, dashboard, and shaded seats at the start and conclusion of each research session by using a handheld thermometer. They also created an energy balance model that represented the hypothetical 2-year-old boy. Some factors that they looked at included clothing insulation, the car's air and surface temperatures, heat gains, and losses.

Scalding Results

Several members of the research team were stunned with the results. When the group recorded the vehicles that were outside in the sun for one hour, they found that the average steering wheels hit 127 degrees, and the vehicles' dashboards averaged 157 degrees. Meanwhile, the cars' interior temperatures hit 116 degrees, and the seats' temperatures averaged 123 degrees.

When the team looked at the shaded cars, they found that the steering wheels clocked in at an average of 107 degrees. The vehicles' dashboards averaged 118 degrees, while the interior temperatures were around 100 degrees. Finally, they found that in one hour, the vehicles' seats were 105 degrees.

Leaving Kids In Cars

The research team also incorporated hypothermia and heatstroke into the study through using their hypothetical 2-year-old boy. They found that when they strapped the hypothetical 2-year-old in a car seat in the Arizona heat, the child's core body temperature reached over 104 degrees in an hour. However, when they put the 2-year-old in the shade, it reached 104 degrees in two hours.

"We are hoping that our study can invoke awareness, send a new message with a human health-centered focus, technological support adoption from car manufacturers and other device manufacturers, and advance new policies that give people legal immunity if they need to save children and pets trapped in hot vehicles," said Dr. Jennifer Vanos, the study's lead author and assistant professor at the University of California at San Diego, in an exclusive statement to Tech Times.

Children In Danger

A Massachusetts child care center temporarily closed when a student was diagnosed with typhoid fever. The child caught the illness while it was traveling overseas to an unknown country. People could contract the disease through contaminated food and water. Symptoms include high fever, stomach pains, loss of appetite, and rashes. The disease is sporadic in the United States, as only 300 people catch the disease each year.

A 26-year-old mother warned parents about head injuries after her infant son fell off a queen-sized bed and suffered brain damage. A couple from Trumann, Arkansas, took their son to the hospital where he started vomiting. Through a CT scan, they found out that their son had a fractured skull. Also, the infant's blood volume bled into his brain, which resulted in cardiac arrest.

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