Warning: Never leave kids or pets in the car

Published on: 07 January 2015

Parking outside turns the interior of your car into an oven in just a few minutes as the temperature steadily rises. No matter the circumstance, it is never safe to leave your child or pet in the car, even for a few minutes.

A lot of people are under the misconception that the exterior colour of the car is the biggest factor in determining how fast the car will heat up, but it is actually the colour of the car’s interior that is the determining factor – cars with dark interiors, including dashboards and steering wheels, heat up the quickest in the sun.

Car windows let in sunlight which, in turn becomes heat trapped inside the car – increasing the temperature. 

The average temperature inside a car rise up to ten degrees in just ten minutes.

A child’s body temperature regulatory system is not as efficient as an adult's and their body temperature increases three to five times faster than that of an adult. Heatstroke occurs when core body temperature rises to 38-40°C. Signs of heatstroke include: confusion, irritability, a rapid pulse, and hot, dry, red skin.

Like children, pets have a lesser ability to cool themselves off compared to adult humans. It is not recommended that you leave pets or children in parked cars even for short periods. Rolling down a window or parking in the shade doesn't guarantee protection either, since temperatures can still climb into the danger zone.

Although it may seem inconceivable that one could forget one's child, even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; resulting in tragedy. In the United States, a yearly average of 38 children die from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles. Keep children and pets safe, and always make sure to double check the backseat of the car before walking away.