HKQ Kids

Hot Cars and Heatstroke

Summertime in Northeast PA… hot days, road trips, and vacations. We spend a lot of time in our cars.

However, it is important to remember that temperatures inside your car can skyrocket pretty quickly. AAA recently conducted a test by placing a thermometer in a car. At the start of the test, it was a cool 72 degrees. In less than 20 minutes, it reached 90 degrees, and a few minutes later, began hitting triple digits.

The test was done to show the dangers of leaving your child inside a car on hot days. As a matter of fact, it can even be deadly. Thirty-seven kids, with half of those under the age of 1 year, die every year from being left in a hot vehicle. It’s important to always take your kids inside with you when you stop your vehicle, or if you can’t, make sure you leave them home with a capable sitter. A few minutes in the hot sun, inside a car, can be life threatening.

Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating – when your body temperature rises to 104 degrees or higher – and it requires emergency treatment. Heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles, and risk increases with prolonged treatment. In addition to high body temperature, symptoms include nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart and headache, and an alteration in sweating. Skin may feel hot and dry. And, heatstroke can happen at outside temperatures as low as 57 degrees.

Additionally, it is important to take precautions with your vehicle. Heat can zap the life out of your car battery. Make sure the terminals are free of corrosion, and that clamps are tight. Have your battery tested, if it is more than 3 years old.

Keep your engine cool. Make sure your cooling system is properly maintained and all engine and vehicle fluids are fresh and properly filled. Inspect your cabin filter to make sure it is clean.

Keep your tires properly inflated. Driving on underinflated tires on hot pavement can affect the handling and braking of a vehicle. It can even cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. More than half the vehicles on the road were found to have at least one under-inflated tire, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

In case of a summer breakdown, be prepared. Stock an emergency kit with plenty of water, non-perishable food, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, a first aid kit, a portable cell phone charger, and phone numbers to call for towing or emergency help loaded into your cell phone.

As always, be careful, stay cool, and enjoy the rest of the summer!