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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 the NRMA is again urging parents not to leave 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 on a 30°C day, the temperature inside the car could be as high as 70°C! 

RELATED: What should you do if you see a child locked in a hot car?
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  • 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.

RELATED: Tips for driving in hot weather
RELATED: What should you do if you see a pet locked in a hot car?

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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