Numerous studies conducted by institutions, including the National Safety Council, have highlighted the dangers posed by sun-heated cars. They warn that a car left in the sun for more than 5 minutes can excessively heat up, leading to the accumulation of hazardous chemicals, gases, and other toxic substances from interior components such as upholstery, plastic parts, and adhesives.
These studies serve as a warning to us about the risks involved. Children and pets sitting inside these cars can quickly face serious accidents or complex health problems. There is ample research available to keep us well-informed about this issue.
Nonetheless, it remains a concerning fact that a significant number of adults need a more comprehensive awareness regarding the health hazards posed by an overheated car. Extensive research conducted by esteemed institutions, such as Arizona State University, has conclusively demonstrated that the amalgamation of heat, toxic chemicals, and gases within the confines of a heated car can detrimentally impact vital organs, including the eyes, brain, and skin.
The cabin temperature can dramatically increase by as much as 75 percent in just the first five minutes after closing the car doors. On a seemingly mild summer day with an outside temperature of 30°C, the conditions inside a sun-parked car become drastically more severe. The car’s interior can rapidly heat up to 30-40°C above the outside temperature, soaring to over 60°C. This leads to very high levels of chemicals, gases, and other toxins inside the car.
These dangers cannot be mitigated by merely leaving the window slightly open. Research from a university in Western Australia shows that even opening a window by 2.5cm to allow air circulation only reduces the internal temperature by a mere 3°C. This minimal decrease is insufficient for ensuring safety on hot or moderately warm days. The reality is that temperatures inside the car exceeding 40°C can lead to numerous permanent damages, including serious brain injury.
On a day when the temperature is 40 degrees Celsius, the condition inside your car is very severe. Entering it can seriously harm your eyes, skin, brain, and central nervous system, among other organs. Often, we need to pay more attention to this. But if this continues over a long period, various diseases can develop in us. Even then, we need to think about the causes leading to these illnesses to seek doctors’ help. They will prescribe medicines. In most cases, doctors treat without identifying the cause of the disease.
Humans usually have a body temperature of around 36.5 – 37.5 degrees Celsius, resulting from various processes happening inside the body. Healthy adults can handle temporary changes in their body temperature of about plus or minus 4 degrees Celsius without affecting their ability to function.
However, the tolerance range is narrower for specific groups such as the elderly, children, and those with poorer health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Infants and young children are at greater risk of overheating due to their higher metabolism, reduced sweating capability, increased sensitivity to temperature changes, and larger body surface area relative to size.
Yes, harmful chemicals and gases, including carbon monoxide and other toxic substances, can accumulate inside a heated car. In some cases, if the air conditioning system is not well-maintained, it can lead to mold or mildew, which can release spores and mycotoxins into the air inside the car. As the temperature inside the car rises, certain chemical reactions may be facilitated or accelerated, leading to the formation of new harmful substances from the toxic chemicals contained in the car.
The commonly advised and recognized solutions for mitigating car issues include ensuring regular air circulation within the car, parking in the shade or using sunshades, maintaining the air conditioning system, and avoiding leaving the car in the sun for extended periods. However, the reality is that in the current global context, adhering to these practices poses challenges for each one of us.
A solution is to opt for cars equipped with a feature that enables air conditioning activation before entering the car. Brands such as Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, Nissan, Volvo, Toyota, Land Rover, and Jaguar now include this feature in their premium models. This system typically allows the pre-setting of cabin temperature via a key fob or a smartphone app. However, it is essential to note that many brands might introduce a subscription fee for these services after a trial period.
Alternative: Multiclimate System
If your car lacks the feature to activate the AC remotely, you can buy and install a Car Climate Control System from the market. This system, known under various names like Car Multiclimate System or Car Auto Climate System, enables the cooling of the car’s interior from the outside without needing to enter the car.
A notable brand offering this technology is the ‘Gazer Multiclimate System’. Installation of this system does not affect your car’s warranty or insurance. Further details can be found on their website. (Be aware that legal issues may arise in certain areas, so it’s advisable to consult with your local car dealer before making a decision).
Upon entering your car, remember to open the windows for two to three minutes immediately after activating the AC. Experts recommend this practice for two primary reasons.
Firstly, if the car has been exposed to sunlight, harmful substances such as benzene may build up inside. Benzene, a carcinogen commonly found in various plastics and fabrics, is released at elevated temperatures, and you might inhale it upon first entering the car.
Secondly, the sudden transition from a hot exterior to a cold interior environment can cause temperature shock, potentially startling your body and brain. Although not necessarily harmful, this sudden change can be uncomfortable or jarring, particularly for individuals with certain health conditions. Therefore, it’s essential to remember that opening the windows immediately upon entry helps disperse accumulated gases and introduces fresh air.
Remember, regularly maintaining your car’s air conditioning system is crucial for maintaining clean and safe air inside.