An easy-to-use table of vehicle temperature changes has been developed to caution people about deadly consequences of vehicle-related hyperthermia in children.
Researchers at the University of Georgia found that in hot weather, the temperature inside a car in an open parking lot can rise by 7 degrees Fahrenheit in five minutes, 13 degrees in 10 minutes, 29 degrees in 30 minutes and 47 degrees in an hour.
They were able to combine the rising temperatures inside a closed car with the way they would interact with the so-called "human thermal budget."
"Not only are the children exposed to intense heating from the hot interior of the car, but within a closed vehicle without ventilation, physiological mechanisms typically used for cooling are ineffective," said Andrew Grundstein of UGA's department of geography in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and leader of the research.
"Furthermore, the efficiency of evaporative cooling would be reduced as evaporated perspiration accumulated in the vehicle."
The researchers came up with a chart that brings home clearly just what a serious decision it is to leave a child in a closed car in hot weather even for a few minutes.
However, the new easy-to-use table could offer government officials and health agencies a way to quantify warnings.
The research is published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.