Kids in hot cars
Never leave children alone in a car
After rescuing 20 per cent more children from locked cars last summer than the previous year NRMA Motoring & Services is again urging parents not to leave children locked in cars. NRMA Motoring & Services in conjunction with 'Kidsafe' has developed the 'Hot Cars' brochure to warn of the dangers of leaving children locked in cars.
On a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be 30° - 40°C hotter than outside the car.
That means that on a 30°C day, the temperature inside the car could be as high as 70°C!
- 75% of the temperature increase occurs within five minutes of closing the car
- Darker-coloured cars can reach slightly higher temperatures than lighter-coloured cars
- Large cars can heat up just as fast as small cars
- The colour of interior trim has little effect on the speed that the temperature can increase inside a car
- Having the windows down 5cm causes only a slight decrease in temperature with an outside temperature of around 30°C
Research shows that the inside of a car can reach 78°C in a closed car and 70°C in a car with open windows.
What are the risks?
- The temperature and humidity inside the car begin to increase while the airflow decreases
- As the temperature increases inside the car, the child can begin to develop heat stress and start to dehydrate
- Young children are more sensitive to heat than older children and adults. This can put them at greater risk of heat stroke and other health risks
- If the child becomes distressed and tries to get out of their restraint, they could be at risk of strangulation on the harness.
- If you have to leave the car, even to run a quick errand, take the children with you
- Do not use the car as a substitute 'baby-sitter'.
Safety when travelling in hot weather
- Do not leave your children in the car for any period of time without adult supervision
- Provide plenty of cool water or fluids regularly during your journey
- Dress children to promote airflow around their bodies, ie, lightweight fabric and light colours
- When planning long journeys, especially with small children, consider travelling in the cooler hours of the day
- Plan to stop every two hours so all passengers, including the baby, have an opportunity to move freely
- In summer when children are wearing lightweight clothing, restraints and harnesses could need to be tightened
- For rearward-facing restraints, it is not recommended that you use a hood to protect the baby from the sun. A hood can reduce airflow around a baby's head that can lead to the baby over-heating. A visor or sunshade is a safer alternative
- On every trip, short or long, take the time to check your children's safety by re-checking the fit of their harnesses.