Temps spike quickly in closed vehicles

Published 11:56 pm Thursday, July 18, 2013

Children’s deaths reminder of need for caution

On a hot summer day, it doesn’t take long for the temperature inside a parked vehicle with its windows up to spike.

On Thursday just after 3 p.m., Star-News Facebook friend Christy Cartwright shared a photo of her Ford Explorer’s temperature indicator – 115 degrees.

On Wednesday, an 11-month-old Homewood girl died after being left inside an SUV for an estimated three hours. Her mother was distracted and forgot to drop the little girl off at daycare. When daycare officials called to check on the toddler, that’s when her mother remembered.

More than 650 children have died of heat stroke in vehicles in the last two decades, more than half in the South. About 38 die each year, according the child-safety advocacy group Kids and Cars.

According to the Center for Disease Control, cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures up to 131 degrees to 172 degrees when outside temperatures are 80 to 100 degrees.

“Cars that are parked in direct sunlight and that are poorly ventilated also reach higher temperatures more rapidly than cars that are parked in the shade or that have windows completely opened,” the site reported. “Most temperature increases inside cars occur during the first 15 minutes of being left in the sun.”

Local emergency officials remain constant in reminding residents to not leave animals or children unattended in a parked car.