Children and hot cars

It is never safe to leave children alone in the car. Within an overheated car child can undergo heatstroke, dehydration, suffocation, and death.

RACQ research has shown that interior temperature of a car can reach 40 degrees within 7 minutes.

The colour of the car and the degree of tinting have only a slight effect on the temperature inside a car. The size of the car and colour of the interior and seats has no effect on the temperature.  Leaving windows slightly open does not affect car temperature.

The temperature inside the car can exceed the outside temperature by 40 degrees on a hot day or 20 degrees on a cool day.

Always bring your child with you. Keep keys with you and the car locked. An easy way to do this is with a lanyard. Don’t leave your keys in the ignition, on the seat, or leave them with the child. Never allow children to play with keys or around an unattended car. Check cars are empty before locking them. If you can’t see a child, they may be hiding inside a car. Try not to be distracted when you are unloading and loading the car.

Tips for car travel with children

  • Make sure your child has enough water to drink and is dressed in comfortable and loose-fitting clothing
  • Cool your car before your child enters it
  • Check how hot the car seat, harness and seat belt is before you get in the car and cover with a damp cloth if necessary to avoid burns
  • Use shades on car windows if you do not have tinting
  • Travel in cooler times of the day

If you have children trapped in a locked car, call Roadside Assistance and emergency services (000).


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