Hot Cars

With soaring temperatures in the Northern Territory, leaving children unattended in the car, even for a short time, can be fatal. NEVER leave children unattended in the car.

Children do not tolerate heat as well as adults because their bodies generate more heat relative to their size than an adult. Children also lose more fluids as they have a greater proportion of skin surface in relation to their size. 

On a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be as much as 30° to 40° higher than the outside temperature, i.e. on a 30°day, the temperature inside the car could be as high as 70°. 75% of the temperature rise occurs within 5 minutes of closing the car and leaving it.  

Young children are at risk of dehydration, heatstroke, hyperthermia, and asphyxia; which can all lead to death. 

Think safety

  • If you have to leave the car, even to run a quick errand; take the children with you.
  • Do not use the car as a ‘baby-sitter’ substitute.

Safety when travelling in hot weather

  • Provide plenty of cool fluids, preferably water, for all occupants and offer them to children regularly.
  • Dress children suitably to promote airflow around their bodies i.e. if the car does not have air conditioning, dress the children in clothing made of lightweight fabric and light in colour.
  • Double check that the harness fits the child – in summer time with children wearing lightweight clothing, restraints and arnesses may need to be tightened.
  • For rear facing restraints, do not use a hood to protect the baby from the sun. This will decrease airflow around the baby’s head. Instead use a visor or sunshade to filter the sun’s rays.
  • Make frequent stops, at least every 2 hours, so that all occupants can get out of the car for exercise. 
  • This includes removing the baby from the capsule or restraint, and allowing the baby to roll around on a rug on the ground.
  • When getting back into the car, recheck the fit of the children’s harnesses.
  • Plan car journeys for the cooler hours of the day.
  • Cool your car down as much as possible before putting the child in the car.
  • Where possible, when stopping or parking your car, put it undercover or in the shade to reduce the amount of the direct sunlight hitting your car.