Hot cars and kids: Study shows how quickly temperatures can rise

(Source: Intel Free Press)
(Source: Intel Free Press)
Updated: May. 27, 2018 at 11:23 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A new study has explained how quickly the inside of a vehicle can heat up, becoming a death trap.

On average, 37 children die each year from heat-related deaths due to being trapped inside vehicles, according to Research from Arizona State University shows a car does not need to be directly in the sun to become scorching hot.

"The idea that because I've parked the car in the shade I'm safe, it's OK, is not really the case," Arizona State Climatologist Nancy Selover said.  

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In Nashville, a toddler died on Wednesday after she'd been left alone on accident for hours in her father's truck. According to, she was the seventh child to die inside a hot car this year.

Selover's research found that in the sun, when the outside temperature is more than 100 degrees, the thermometer inside a car can hit an average of 116 degrees. The seats of the car were 123 degrees within just one hour! The same thing happens in the shade, the process just takes a little longer.

Children have died from heatstroke in cars when outside temperatures were as low as 60 degrees.

"Whether you park in the sun or whether you park in the shade, you really want to make sure that you do not leave your child or your pet in that vehicle," Selover said.

In 2017, 43 children died in hot vehicles.  Experts recommend drivers leave a purse or cell phone next to young children so drivers and caretakers don't forget to look in the back seat.

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