Life

Saturday 18 August 2018

Here's how quickly a car gets dangerously hot in the sun - and it's faster than you'd think

One hour is roughly how long it takes for a young child to suffer heat injury, or even die from hyperthermia.
One hour is roughly how long it takes for a young child to suffer heat injury, or even die from hyperthermia.
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Cars parked in the sun on a hot day can reach dangerously high temperatures in just one hour, a new study has revealed.

One hour is roughly how long it takes for a young child to suffer heat injury, or even die from hyperthermia.

This happens when the child’s temperature rises beyond 40°C and is unable to get cooler.

Although the research was carried out in the United States, Ireland’s summer temperatures can also soar.

The research involved six different vehicles — two identical silver city cars, two identical silver mid-size saloon cars and two identical silver minivans.

During three days when temperatures reached above 35°C, the researchers moved the cars from the sunlight to the shade for different periods of time.

The cars’ interior air temperatures and surface temperatures were measured throughout the day.

Researchers looked at a hypothetical case of a two-year-old child, whose temperature was checked after an hour of being in a car parked in the sun, and just under two hours if parked in the shade.

Cars parked in the shade during a simulated outing to the shops found interior temperatures reached an average of 38°C after one hour. 

Details of these findings are published in the journal, Temperature.

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