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Kids in hot cars

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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.

Safe Practices

  • 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.

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