This is how it occurs: shortwave radiation or sunlight gets inside the car. Long-wave radiation exits the car with the doors open. This keeps the same temperatures outside the car and inside the car. But once the door shuts, the long-wave radiation is trapped and can’t escape the car. This makes the car act like an oven.
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For example, if it's 80 degrees outside, in 10 minutes with the door closed it’s 19 degrees hotter inside the car. In 20 minutes, it’s 109 degrees. Our bodies have a difficult time cooling when the temperature is above 105 degrees. Children’s bodies heat up five times faster than adults, making the situation all the more deadly.
From there, it extrapolates:
- After 30 minutes, it's 114°
- After 40 minutes, it's 118°
- After 50 minutes, it's 121°
- After an hour, the car is 123°
An 80-degree temperature is a close average of the temperature of the two most recent vehicular heatstroke deaths in Southern California. In November, in the city of Walnut, an 18-month-old boy was left in a car with an outside temperature of 73 degrees. A few weeks ago, a 22-month-old boy died in Fullerton with the temperature at 84° degrees.
Historically, more than half of the children who die in a hot car are forgotten, officials report.
More than a quarter gain access on their own. These cases are usually from kids playing and getting into a car and unable to get out.
Nineteen percent are left intentionally; some people don’t know how quickly a car heats up and they leave babies in the car while they run errands, for example.
Safety experts say "look before you lock," but since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year, six of the 14 kids who died in a hot car were not forgotten. They got in on their own while playing.
With many children being home schooled next semester, it's worth teaching kids to never to play in a parked car. If you are ever missing your child, check the pool first, if you have one, and then check the car.