New study shows how hot cars can get even when parked in shade - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

New study shows how hot cars can get even when parked in shade

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

With summer-like temperatures in the forecast comes a new warning about killer car temperatures.

New information shows just how fast a car can heat up even when parked in the shade.

Last week, a  father in Nashville forgot to drop off his one-year-old baby girl at daycare, leaving the girl for ten hours in the back seat of his truck.  

Tragically, she did not survive. 

Researchers at Arizona State University ran the experiment using the same type of cars sitting in the sun and in the shade at different times of the day. 

A car left in the sun on a 100 degree day in Arizona took just an hour for the interior temperature to hit 116 degrees. 

Dashboards heated up  to a deadly 157 degrees, seats hit 123 degrees, and the steering wheel reached 127 degrees.

The shade wasn't much better. Researchers said even they were surprised as interior temperatures reached 100 degrees after one hour, and 105 degrees for the seats.

Doctors said heatstroke starts to cause damage when a child's body temperature rises above 100 degrees.
"They don't regulate their body heat as well so their core temperature can rise 3 to 5 times faster than an adult.  They don't sweat like we do so they can't release that temperature," said Dr. John O'Reilly, a Pediatrician at Baystate Medical Center. 
Dr. O'Reilly told Western Mass News he knows first hand the damage being left in a hot car can do to a child.

"When their bodies are up at about 107 degrees, they have a lot of problems with different organ symptoms, they can have seizures, they can have brain swelling, they can have liver damage," he noted.
The Arizona research team also looked into temperatures with a window cracked.
"Cracking the window doesn't make a difference. Once you shut off that AC the temps start going," Dr. O'Reilly continued.  
According to, about 37 U.S. children die in hot cars every year, six have already reported this year.
"You don't want to risk it.  Never leave your kid in the car even though you think you'll be right out, even if you think it's not that hot," O'Reilly added. 
This also brings to light the issue of "forgetting" children in cars which we've seen in the news much too often. said to keep a stuffed animal in your child's car seat. When you put your child in the seat, put the stuffed animal up front in the passenger seat.  

Other memory tricks is to put things like your cell phone, bag, employee badge, lunch, or anything in the backseat that you'll need to grab when you arrive at your destination. 

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