A lot can happen at 160 degrees Fahrenheit: Eggs fry, salmonella bacteria dies, and human skin will suffer third-degree burns. If a car is parked in the sun on a hot summer day, its dashboard can hit about 160 degrees in about an hour. One hour is also about how long it can take for a young child trapped in a car to suffer heat injury or even die from hyperthermia.
Researchers from Arizona State University and the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine have completed a study to compare how different types of cars warm up on hot days when exposed to different amounts of shade and sunlight for different periods of time. The research team also took into account how these differences would affect the body temperature of a hypothetical 2-year-old child left in a vehicle on a hot day. Their study was published today in the journal Temperature.
“Our study not only quantifies temperature differences inside vehicles parked in the shade and the sun, but it also makes clear that even parking a vehicle in the shade can be lethal to a small child,” said Nancy Selover, a climatologist and research professor in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning.
From January through May 2018, six children died after being left in hot cars in the United States. That number will go up. Annually in the U.S., an average of 37 children left in hot cars die from complications of hyperthermia — when the body warms to above 104 degrees and cannot cool down. More than 50 percent of cases of a child dying in a hot car involve a parent or caregiver who forgot the child in the car.
Read more at Arizona State University