How hot can a car get parked in the Phoenix sun? What about the shade?
PHOENIX — Parked in the sun for an hour, car seats reach an average of 123 degrees in the summer, according to a study by ASU and UC San Diego.
The steering wheel averaged 127 degrees.
In one of the cars studied, the dashboard reached 192 degrees, according to state climatologist Nancy Selover.
The average dashboard reached 157 degrees.
These temperatures inside cars parked in the heat can burn tender skin.
“On a child’s tender skin, if their child seat was exposed to the sun, that would be extremely hot,” Selover said.
The study went a step further, examining different types of cars in the shade, as well.
Though the inside of the car was significantly cooler, the dashboard averaged 118 degrees, seats averaged 105 degrees, and the temperature of a hypothetical two-year-old child in the backseat would break 100 degrees within 60 minutes.
“Most studies don’t look at that,” Selover said. “There’s sort of an assumption that, well, if the car’s parked in the shade, it’s not going to be a problem. we found that it certainly can be.”
Children can catch life-threatening hyperthermia when they reach a temperature of 104 degrees.
The study found that it would take a little more than an hour before a child catches hyperthermia while the car is parked in the sun. In the shade, it would take a little more than two hours.
Though that’s a long period of time, parents often don’t realize the child is in the car for that long. When routine is disrupted, they may forget the child is there.
Sometimes, it’s like all day,” Selover said. “Sometimes it’s many hours before they realize that they can’t figure out where their child is.”
Six children already died in the United States this year from being left in the car, according to ASU Now. Annually, 37 children die from it.
Selover advised parents to be vigilant. If they’re leaving the child or pet in the car to run into the grocery store quickly, reconsider.
“If you’re stopping some place and you don’t need to take the child in with you, think again,” she said. “And don’t think just because you’re parked in the shade, that the shade is going to completely protect them.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.