Houston, TX (PRWEB) June 20, 2012
Vehicles are enclosed to keep the elements out and the occupants safe but when it comes to heat the tight seal of a vehicle shell can actually do more harm than good. The air inside a vehicle becomes trapped and when the heat enters the vehicle through the windows the air quickly increases in temperature. With nowhere to go the air keeps gaining in temperature until the heat can dissipate.
Leaving the windows down does not help enough because the air in the vehicle needs circulation in order to keep the heat outside the vehicle rather than inside. The same applies to a room with a fan active compared to off. Fans circulate the air and this often lowers the surrounding temperature a few degrees. In a vehicle with the windows down there is no air circulation to help orchestrate the warm air out of the vehicle.
Comedy Driving did a simple study to determine how rapidly temperatures fluctuated in a vehicle on a hot May Day and their findings are listed in the chart above:
The study shows that inside the vehicle the temperature raises rapidly compared to the outside environment. Even with the windows down the temperature inside the vehicle temperature rises rapidly to dangerous levels. Children left unattended in cars has become such a concern that many states laws on the subject.
Nineteen states currently have laws about leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. For example, Texas has a law stating that children under the age of 7 cannot be left unattended longer than five minutes unless they are supervised by someone age of 14 or older. The penalty is a fine of up to $500.
A majority of the deaths from children being left in cars are unintentional and are often caused by parents mistakenly forgetting their child is in the vehicle. Caretakers are urged to leave their belongings next to the child in their custody so when they are running errands they do not forget the child is with them.
There are even devices that can be purchased that sync up to be a constant reminder of a child’s presence. Basically parents put one sensor on the child’s safety seat or clothing pocket and when the parent is not within a certain distance the device will beep to let the parent know they are too far away from their child.
Sometimes bystanders find a child in someone else’s vehicle and are tempted to take action in order to protect the child. One course of action is to call 911 and report the incident. Waiting for the police to arrive before searching for the caregiver is recommended for the child’s wellbeing. Individuals faced with this scenario must consider not leaving the scene immediately because searching for the caregiver of the child means they are leaving the child unattended as well.
Rash actions such as breaking windows to free the child should only be taken in extreme circumstances where a child is in immediate danger or is showing life-threatening signs of prolonged heat exposure such as hyperventilating, suffocation, or crying and pleading for help.
Hyperthermia, or heat stroke, is extremely deadly to children because a child’s body heats up 3-5 times quicker than an adult’s. That means if a child is in a hot car with a guardian the guardian may feel fine but the child could be extremely uncomfortable due to their undeveloped body.
Younger children also may be unable to ask for help like their adult counterparts so concerned individuals should look for the signs of heat exhaustion in the child’s actions such as: constant sweating, breathing heavily, as well as coming in and out of consciousness. Other signs of hyperthermia include pale skin, nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, and anxiety.
If the child can get out of the vehicle, bystanders should help them into a cooler place nearby and call the authorities for help. Treatments for heat exhaustion include: fluids and fanning the child in order to help their body cool down. Heat exhaustion can be fatal if it causes a heat stroke, so if symptoms do not subside immediately take the child to the nearest emergency room.
Some parents conclude if they leave a child in the car they should just leave it running with the air-conditioner on and the child will be safe from the heat. This scenario brings about other dangers such as children setting the car in motion, children locking themselves in the vehicle, and increasing the likelihood of the vehicle from being stolen.
Curious children may fumble with driving mechanisms such as the: radio, parking brake, steering wheel, and gear shift which could set the car in motion resulting in a collision or harm to the child. Just another reason why children should not be left in a vehicle even if the air-conditioner is running.
Children can also easily hit the door locks and lock their caregivers out of their own vehicles. Now parents must wait for a locksmith or vandalize their vehicles in order to get to their child; ultimately costing the caregiver money which they were trying to save by leaving the child in the vehicle for a quick errand.
Vehicles are constantly being stolen everyday across the country and a vehicle left running with its doors unlocked is an easy target for thieves. Often times, thieves will steal vehicles left unattended even if they have small passengers in the back seat. Convenience is not always the best solution and children must always be considered. Parents should always take the child inside the store with them to avoid any negative results.
This is information is brought to you by Comedy Driving, Inc. Comedy Driving, Inc. has been in business for over 10 years and is an approved Texas defensive driving schools.