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New bill to stop child hot car deaths

Does cracking windows make cars less hot?

Temps can rise quick in cars on sunny days even with cooler outside temps putting infants at risk for hyperthermia. The majority of the   rise occurs the first 15 to 30 minutes even with windows cracked.
Temps can rise quick in cars on sunny days even with cooler outside temps putting infants at risk for hyperthermia. The majority of the rise occurs the first 15 to 30 minutes even with windows cracked.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Every day parents get into potential death chambers. In minutes cars become dangerously hot and result in tragedy when young children are left trapped in scorching vehicles. Now a bill aims to prevent the forgotten backseat passenger. 

A bill called the HOT CARS Act of 2017 is being pushed in Washington to require cars to come equipped with a system for alerting the driver if a child is left in the back seat after the car is turned off. Some GM cars already have the technology and the costs are expected to be minimal to implement this to other models. 

This technology would of prevented two deaths in Florida this year when a one and two year old were forgotten in two separate incidents.   More than half of all heat deaths are due to caregivers forgetting a child is in the backseat. 

A study shows cracking a window does nothing to slow the rapid rise in heat. Meteorologist Jan Null has compiled research for decades on hot car science and shows it takes just 5 minutes for temperatures to reach 75% of the maximum heat. Just a short amount of time later a car can top out between 124° to 153° in just 15 minutes if the outside air is 98°.

Even more surprising, outside temperatures don't need to be excessive for heat to build inside vehicles. Both Florida fatality's occurred when the temperatures were in the 80s. A one year old south Florida child died after being locked in a car for over an hour with an 82° outside temperate. 

Sunny days are the most dangerous and not necessarily on alarmingly hot days. Four toddlers perished with outside temperatures as low as 60°.  Car windows magnify the incoming sunshine resulting in interior heat swelling up to 40 degrees hotter in an hour.

712 children left in vehicles have died of heatstroke across the nation. On average 37 children have died of car related heatstroke each year according to San Jose State University since 1998.

No hot car deaths have been reported in Jacksonville, but Florida ranks second in the nation, behind Texas, in overall deaths.


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