Lifestyle

Minute by minute what happens to your child in a hot car – even at 22°C

It can be tempting to leave your child in the car when you’re rushing through the supermarket.

You probably already know the extreme danger involved – but did you know that it can take less than half an hour to kick in?

It is not a good idea to leave children in the car at all times

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It is not a good idea to leave children in the car at all times

Leaving them in direct sun is a really bad idea as sweating and thirst will set in within 30 minutes.

But they can suffer tremendously even if it’s a cloudy day.

Experiments show that even on a cooler summer’s day, temperatures inside a closed vehicle can quickly exceed 125°F (approx. 52°C) – just below the world record for the hottest temperature ever recorded of 56°C in California’s Death Valley.

Due to the greenhouse effect, the interior of a car can become 20 °C hotter than the outside temperature, even on cool and cloudy days.

Since the car becomes an oven, the longer you leave a child, the more he risks serious health problems.

When you spend some time in high temperatures, your body’s thermoregulatory efficiency decreases while body temperature begins to rise.

The body is in a state of hyperthermia as it absorbs more heat than it gives off.

It is especially dangerous when the body temperature is higher than 40ºC (compared to the normal 36-37ºC).

Such a situation is medically known as heat sickness, which can cause heat stroke — dizziness, confusion, and seizures.

According to statistics, an average of 38 children die every year in the UK because they are left in a car. Most are under two years old.

Omni has a Hot Car Calculator that breaks down to the minute what will happen to a child if left in a hot car.

With it you can adjust the temperature, cloudiness and color of the car.

For example, on a sunny day with 25°C and a clear sky, a child in a dark car would be in danger of death within 70 minutes.

Even with scattered clouds, it would reach this danger point within 75 minutes.

Sarah Jarvis, Patient.info’s GP and Clinical Director, says: “You might think it’s okay to just leave your child in the car for a few minutes unless we’re having one of the few really sunny days that we have in the UK.

“But safety aside, there is a real risk to your child’s health if you spend even a few minutes in the car with the windows open.

“The smaller your child is, the less able it is to regulate its body temperature. That means it’s at serious risk of dangerous heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

“Your body fluids are carefully regulated and depend on the right balance of fluids and salts. But babies and toddlers lose fluids very quickly through sweating and increased breathing rates, causing them to become seriously dehydrated.

“Once their body reaches a critical temperature, the normal body mechanisms stop working. Their temperature can skyrocket, putting them at risk of organ damage and even death.

“The inside of the car is like a greenhouse and we all know it’s supposed to keep plants much warmer than outside. There’s no breeze, and even on an overcast day, the sun on the windows and roof quickly lets the inside of the car feel like a sauna.

“So no matter how short and no matter how cloudy, just don’t do it.”

minute by minute

22°C with scattered clouds in a dark car (the car can reach 56.4°C).

40 minutes:

  • hyperthermia
  • Sweat
  • thirst
  • very uncomfortable

60 minutes:

  • heavy sweating
  • flushed
  • increased pulse
  • Children with epilepsy may start with convulsions

90 min (life-threatening):

  • fainting
  • dehydration
  • weakness
  • Vomit
  • breathlessness

165 min (medical emergency):

  • strong headache
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • hallucinations
  • delirium
  • medical emergency

26°C on a clear sky in a dark car (the car can reach 66.5°C).

30 minutes:

  • hyperthermia
  • Sweat
  • thirst
  • very uncomfortable

45 minutes:

  • heavy sweating
  • flushed
  • increased pulse
  • Children with epilepsy may start with convulsions

70 min (life threatening):

  • fainting
  • dehydration
  • weakness
  • Vomit
  • breathlessness

110 minutes (medical emergency):

  • strong headache
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • hallucinations
  • delirium
  • medical emergency

Each symptom is significantly accelerated when it gets hotter or when you have a dark car.

In a heat of 27°C, it takes only 25 minutes for hyperthermia to set in and less than an hour for children with epilepsy to start adjusting.

But it doesn’t have to be very hot at all for the problems to start.

18°C is warm enough to be dangerous for children – within 85 minutes a child’s heart rate increases and profuse sweating begins.

To prove just how hot cars can get, Australian chef Matt Moran overcooked a lamb loin in 90 minutes…using only his car.

He left a pan in the front seat and applied no additional heat.

The meat wasn’t just cooked, it was to well cooked.

Granted, Australia tends to be hotter than the UK, but the sun can turn any car into an oven.

As tempting as it may be, never leave your pets or children in the car—even if it doesn’t seem hot or cloudy.


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https://www.the-sun.com/health/5581367/minute-by-minute-what-happens-child-left-hot-car/ Minute by minute what happens to your child in a hot car – even at 22°C

Sarah Y. Kim

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