Now that it is summer, a car outside in the sun will rapidly raise the interior temperature of the vehicle, in just a few moments. Many surfaces inside a vehicle are hot enough to do severe damage to skin when touched. It is crucial that all parents and children’s caregivers take precautions when transporting children during the summer.
Children get excited, especially during the summer when there many fun activities. Many will run to the car, sometimes to be the one to sit in the front seat, and try to buckle themselves in before the parent arrives. What they don’t know is that a car sitting in the sun all day, the metal on a seatbelt can get hot enough to burn skin. A day trip to the beach could turn into a disaster.
Seat belt buckles are not the only surfaces in an automobile that can cause harm. Leather or vinyl seats can get extremely hot in the summer, especially if left in direct sunlight. Molded plastic and chrome controls can also burn skin when heated.
Keeping a Car Cool When it’s Hot Outside
There are many ways to keep the interior temperature of a parked vehicle down when it is hot outside. Parking in a garage, carport, covered area or even in the shade of a tree or building will keep the sun from shining directly on the car. Consumer Reports also recommends using sunshades in the windshield and windows to keep harmful sun rays from getting through and trapping heat in the interior. Many states allow window tinting on vehicles to a certain level, which also limits sun exposure.
To keep leather seats cool, a towel or blanket can be laid down to sit on and protect the surfaces from the heat. A towel should also be kept for the driver or passengers to handle hot surfaces, such as the steering wheel, gear shift, or seatbelts. Also, keeping the windows cracked slightly will allow hot air to escape.
Keeping Kids Safe in a Hot Car
Never leave a child in a parked vehicle, even for a few minutes. A car will heat up to a dangerous temperature within moments, and no parent or caregiver should ever consider leaving a child in a car, winter or summer.
When getting ready to drive a car that has been in the heat all day, there are ways to make sure the children do not get there first. Make sure the car is locked so it cannot be opened by young ones. Roll the windows down to release hot air before allowing children to enter. Some modern vehicles with electronic windows have the capability of rolling the windows down with the key fob, or by turning the key in the driver side lock and holding it.
Make sure all surfaces are cool before letting children enter a vehicle. Test seat belt buckles and surfaces on the back of your hand to make sure they can be handled safely. Turning on the air conditioning will cool a car quickly. As heat rises, use the floor vents to push cold air from the bottom up.
Finally, make sure to keep bottles of water on hand to keep children well-hydrated when the weather is hot. Safe driving!