In less than 3 hours, a toddler’s body temperature rises to a potentially fatal 40° C
Don’t count on a shady parking spot to save a child left in the back seat on a hot day.
A new analysis of temperatures inside parked cars reveals that a toddler in a sunbathed vehicle would reach lethal body temperatures faster than one left in the shade. But even in a shaded car, a child could die from overheating within a few hours, researchers report online May 23 in Temperature.
Researchers tracked temps inside three cars — a sedan, economy car and minivan — that were parked in the sun, and another three parked in the shade. Each car started at the outdoor air temperature or 29.4° Celsius, whichever was cooler. On days hotter than 38° C (about 100° Fahrenheit), it took an hour for the average ambient temperature inside the shaded vehicles to reach 38.3° C. For cars in the sun, the inside temperature hit a scorching 46.7° C in an hour, with