The World Around Us: How A Car Can Become Deadly in the Sun
The forecast for this July day is to reach the upper 90s in the shade with plenty of sunshine, a perfect day for this experiment.
So first off we've let the A/C run for a little while to help cool down the cabin. Right now we are in between 66 and 70 degrees. Next, we're going to shut off the engine and the A/C and see how long it takes for the cabin to heat up.
Well it's been 10 minutes so far and the thermometer is reading 110 degrees in the parking lot and 132 in the cabin right now. That's about a 62 degree increase since we started this about 10 minutes ago.
So we have the temperature sensor sitting in the sunlight inside the car and we've hit a plateau with our temperature in the cabin just a bit. We're at 138 degrees right now, that's about an 8 degree increase since our last check and the parking lot is still holding about 110 degrees.
I continued to monitor the rise in heat until an hour had passed. Around the 40 minute mark the temperature hit a max around 150 degrees and held steady. To put this in perspective, this is above the hottest outdoor air temperature every recorded on earth of 136 degrees fahrenheit and 5 degrees above the temperature needed to pasteurize milk.
This extreme heat can prove deadly especially for children and infants.
"You lost a tremendous amount of fluid because you're trying to sweat to reduce your body temperature plus your core temperature rises and that's sort of a double hit" says pediatrician Dr. Kallay.
In non fatal cases, long term damage could still occur.
"You can have permanent kidney damage permanent brain damage. You can have a stroke which is essentially a lack of circulation to a part of the brain and it dies" says Kallay.
The heat is even more lethal for pets which are unable to sweat.
The best thing to do if faced with this situation is leave your pets at home or bring your children with you.
Even with the windows cracked while parked in the shade, vehicles can still experience a dangerously rapid heat up.