The phenomenon when the inside of a car gets really very hot, much hotter than the outside, is known as the greenhouse effect.
In simplest of terms, the air inside heats up, but the car is sealed (windows closed) and there is nowhere for the air to escape. Actually everything is heated by sunlight, but things outside the car are cooled off by the outside air. Inside the car, the air is trapped, so it heats up to the same temperature as the car.
According to a research, when temperatures outside range from 27oC to 37oC, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb up to 70oC, which is lethal. Even on a relatively cool day, the temperature inside a parked car can quickly spike to life-threatening levels if the sun is out.
Never leave anyone, especially children in a parked car when the outside temperature is above 25oC, not even for a quick errand. If possible, or if some adult is in the car, leave the air-conditioner on.
For pet animals it’s even more dangerous, as dogs and cats can’t sweat like humans, so they pant to lower their body temperature. If they’re inside a car, recycling very hot air, panting gives no relief, and heat stroke can happen quickly.
Things to remember:
- Even with temperatures under 20oC, your car can heat up to well above 44o
- A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s.
- Heatstroke can happen when the outside temperature is as low as 15o
- A child can die when his/ her temperature reaches 107o
- Heatstroke fatalities can occur even in vehicles parked in shaded areas and when the air temperature is around 28o
- On a normal 28oC day, temperatures inside a vehicle (parked under sunlight) can reach deadly levels in just 15 minutes.
Written by: Syed Adeel Haider Zaidi