Tips and Tricks for Traveling and Waiting in Hot Cars

With summer fast approaching it can be a major worry that our children could be at risk of overheating or dehydration while in the confines of the family car.

Parents are right to be concerned about these heat-related dangers. In fact, temperatures inside any car, of any colour, can increase rapidly as soon as a car is stationary and the air-conditioning is turned off. In this situation, cars can rise to fatal temperatures within minutes, especially for babies, young children, and pets.

*Avoid leaving children or pets alone in the car, even in milder temperatures*

Useful Facts:

  • Depending on weather conditions, the temperature inside parked cars can reach up to 40°C higher than the outdoor temperature.
  • Babies and young children have an even greater risk of succumbing to dehydration and heatstroke.
  • The interior colour and size of your car does not increase or decrease the rising temperature risk.
  • Leaving a small gap in car windows often has little or no effect in preventing the temperature reaching dangerous levels.
  • Depending on where in the country/world you are, a guardian may face legal charges for leaving a young child or children unattended in a car – at any time of year.

Tips & Tricks for Hot Car Journeys:

  • Plan ahead. If there is any feasible way of travelling at a cooler time of day, do it.
  • Air it out. Get all the doors open, and the boot and sunroof if applicable. The more airflow you can create in advance, before a journey, the cooler it will be when you set off.
  • Cool cotton clothes will help your little one to benefit from the air conditioning or natural breeze in hot weather. Avoid non-breathable or tight fitting items.
  • Interior car parts can get extremely hot, especially seat belt clips and plastic or leather surfaces. Touch these areas first, if they are hot use ice packs or cold towels to cool everything down before putting your child into the car.
  • Make sure your child is well hydrated and that the whole family has plenty of fresh water available.
  • You can use window shades or window tinting. These may help to reduce exposure to direct sunlight, but they do not effectively reduce the temperatures in hot cars.
  • Car safety harnesses are fitted for good reason. Allow your little ones to wear loose-fitting, breathable clothes, but car safety fastenings must still be snug and fully operational.
  • Plan to stop, regularly. Just a few minutes for a breath of fresh air and a wiggle around can make all the difference for babies, children and parents.
*If you see a child (or pet)distressed, unresponsive, or locked in a hot car, call: 000 or the appropriate emergency services for your area*

At Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning & Childcare in NSW, we work in close connection with the SunSmart Recommendations for Childcare Services, by the Cancer Council NSW. The children in our care are protected indoors and out, to play and learn in safe and inclusive environments.