Deadly Summer Travel

Hot enough for you? Record-breaking temperatures have been recorded from coast-to-coast this summer and the end result has been horrifying for some families. In the last three months alone five children in Florida have died in cars that have been left sitting in the blazing hot sun.

I won’t speculate on what kind of parent leaves his child alone in a vehicle with the air-conditioner turned off when the temperature is above 90 degrees, but I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that deadly temperatures can be reached quickly in vehicles that are left out in the hot summer sun.

In fact, several travel safety groups recently conducted unscientific experiments to prove just how dangerous it can be for pets and children to be left alone in vehicles on hot summer days. In one test a dark colored vehicle was parked outside at 12:45 p.m. with the sun hitting the rear of the car and the front driver and passenger areas under a shady tree.

The simple experiment consisted of placing one electronic thermometer inside the closed automobile and one on the outside of the vehicle to measure ambient temperature in the shade. Researchers then compared the interior and exterior temperature readings against each other at timed increments.

Before the test began the interior of the car was cooled to 83 degrees Fahrenheit by the vehicle’s air conditioner. Next, the car’s engine was turned off and the monitoring commenced. After just 15 minutes the car’s interior heated to a deadly 120 degrees Fahrenheit while the outside temperature was a dangerous 92 degrees Fahrenheit.

The results observed over the two-hour testing time looked like this:

Time: 12:45 p.m. Car’s interior temperature: 83 degrees

Time: 1:00 p.m. Car’s interior temperature: 120 degrees

Time: 1:15 p.m. Car’s interior temperature: 123 degrees

Time: 1:45 p.m. Car’s interior temperature: 127 degrees

Time: 2:15 p.m. Car’s interior temperature: 130 degrees

Time: 3:00 p.m. Car’s interior temperature: 134 degrees

Food for thought the next time you are tempted to leave your kid alone in the car on a hot day while you run a “quick” errand.

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Tips To Remember When Traveling With Children

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Traveling With Young Children: More Dos and Don’ts

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.