With the onset of Summer again on us, police have sent out a timely warning to parents with young children and the owners of animals in motor vehicles.

Crime Prevention Officer Senior Constable Michael Hogan, quoting advice from the NRMA, said: “It only takes a few seconds for the heat in the vehicle to rapidly escalate to a point where exhaustion and loss of consciousness quickly takes over.

“The inside of a motor vehicle can go from 0c to 60c in five minutes.

“Parents are reminded that even on the warm days we are presently experiencing, the intense heat can dehydrate a young person quickly, and cause serious irreversible injury within minutes.

“On a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be 30c to 40c degrees hotter than the outside
temperature. That means that the temperature inside a car could be as high as 70c degrees.”

Other facts:

  • 75% of the temperature increase occurs within five minutes of closing the car.
  • Dark-coloured cars reach slightly higher temperatures than lighter-coloured cars.
  • Large cars heat up as fast as small cars.
  • The colour of the interior has little effect on the increase of the temperature.
  • Having the windows down 5cm only causes a slight decrease in temperatures with an outside temperature of around 30c.
  • Research shows that the inside of a car can reach 78c degrees in a closed car and 70c in a car with windows down.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

  • The temperature and humidity inside the car begin to increase and the airflow decreases.
  • As the temperature increases inside the car, the child can begin to develop heat stress and start to dehydrate.
  • The younger the child, the more sensitive to heat they are.
  • As the child becomes distressed and tries to get out of their restraint, they could be at risk of strangulation on the   harness.