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Cars and the Greenhouse Effect

Cars and the Greenhouse Effect

The news has been littered with stories of children and animals being left in hot cars recently.  It’s great we have been having some good weather, but we must remember the dangers of the heat.  Here at Rivervale Contract Hire and Leasing we’ve been taking a look at the science behind hot cars and what we can do to help make sure we never forget a child in the backseat. 

So here comes the science bit ……….

                It’s all down to the greenhouse effect.  The sun’s rays travel through the windows of the car and heat up everything inside, the car mats, the seats and even the dashboard.  Once the heat is nicely absorbed the objects then radiate this heat back out again.  However the heat radiated back out is a different wavelength to the original heat from the sun’s rays.  This means not all the radiated heat waves will make it back out of the window glass.  The result of this is there is less heat escaping from the car than there is entering the car.  When this happens, a cars temperature can rise 10-15 degrees Celsius every 15 minutes.  When you consider this temperature rise combined with the fact that a child’s body temperature will rise 3-5 times faster than an adults it’s easy to see how vulnerable children are if left in a car.

 Blog / greenhouse effect in car

You may think it impossible that you could ever forget about your child in the backseat, but the cases over the years reveal it could happen to anyone rich or poor.  From soldiers to social workers and nurses to police officers – all have made that fatal mistake of forgetting with disastrous consequences.

So here are few handy tips to help that might save you from making that fatal error…..

  • Put your bag on the backseat next to the car seat, that way you have to open the back door every time you leave the car.
  • Put your child’s changing bag on the front seat next to you so there is a reminder they are there every time you glance that way.
  • Many instances of forgetting involved parents who believed they had already dropped a child off to nursery or the child-minder – ask your child care provider to call you if you are 10 minutes late, this could be the reminder that saves your child’s life.

Keep your car as cool as possible, to avoid the blast of heat when you first get in.  If you are not lucky enough to own a convertible,  you could try to park in shaded areas, use sun shades for the back windows, use a windscreen sun shade for when you are parked, use your air con and you may want to consider cloth seats for you next personal or business lease as leather heats up much faster.

Don’t forget your pets; dogs are just as vulnerable to the heat.  And remember if you see a pet or child left in a car call for help.  Have a happy and safe summer!

The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.

Car related news
22 July 2014
Written by Rivervale
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