Navigation Links
New UGA temperature table may help reduce heat-related deaths of children in closed cars
Date:6/29/2010

Athens, Ga. The heat of summer brings trips to the lake, afternoons at the beach and vacations in the mountains. It also arrives with the threat of dangerous conditions in closed cars, where children left alone for even a few minutes can lead to tragedy.

Now, a team of researchers at the University of Georgia has developed an easy-to-use table of vehicle temperature changes that may help public officials and media remind the public about the deadly consequences of vehicle-related hyperthermia in children.

While government agencies routinely give warnings about leaving children alone in cars in hot weather, vehicle temperature data from many early studies were "often obtained with small datasets and questionable methodologies such as placing a temperature sensor directly on a car seat," according to Andrew Grundstein of UGA's department of geography in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and leader of the research.

"The danger of leaving young children unattended in vehicles has been well documented," said Grundstein, "But it still happens, and it's always the worst kind of tragedy. Most of the time, caregivers simply forget their children, but more than a quarter of deaths in this situation involve children intentionally left in cars. In some cases, parents just don't want to disturb a sleeping child. Such behavior shows a clear lack of understanding about the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles."

The research was just published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Other authors, also from UGA, are John Dowd and Vernon Meentemeyer.

Each year around 40 children die in the U.S. alone from being left in closed cars during hot weather. Many studies have shown how such things as shading, ventilation and different meteorological conditions can affect temperatures inside cars. But until now, there has been no reliable table of vehicle temperature changes.

What the researchers found was stunning.

In hot weather in an open parking lot, the inside temperature of a car can rise by 7 degrees Fahrenheit in five minutes, 13 degrees in 10 minutes, 29 degrees in 30 minutes and 47 degrees in an hour. This means interior temperatures can reach levels lethal to small children in less time than some parents might think.

One way to characterize the meaning of these temperatures in terms of a health hazard is to place them in the context of heat-health warnings provided by the National Weather Service. For example, on a 90-degree day, temperatures within the car would reach an "excessive heat advisory" in a little over 10 minutes and an "excessive heat warning" in less than 30 minutes.

To develop their table, the researchers measured air temperatures for 58 days (April 1-Aug. 31, 2007) in a metallic gray Honda with gray cloth seats parked in an open, paved parking lot with direct exposure to sunlight. To gather data, they used carefully positioned, high-temporal-resolution temperature sensors. They coupled that information with data gathered using a human thermal exchange model called the Man-Environment Heat Exchange Model (MENEX). In doing so, they were able to combine the rising temperatures inside a closed car with the way they would interact with the so-called "human thermal budget." In the end, the team selected 14 clear days, representing the most severe possible conditions on which to base calculations for their new table.

The model simulations were performed on a "theoretical" child seated inside the car as well as one outside the car for reference.

The results were sobering.

"Not only are the children exposed to intense heating from the hot interior of the car, but within a closed vehicle without ventilation, physiological mechanisms typically used for cooling are ineffective," said Grundstein. "Furthermore, the efficiency of evaporative cooling would be reduced as evaporated perspiration accumulated in the vehicle."

All of this is not to imply in any way that government agencies have ignored the problem. The National Weather Service, for instance, issues excessive heat warnings and heat advisories to alert people when conditions outside can be dangerous because of the heat. And health agencies have warned the public for years about the dangers of leaving children in cars during hot weather.

What the new research offers is the first table of vehicle temperature changes based on precise temperature readings, coupled with the MENEX model. The result is a chart that brings home clearly just what a serious decision it is to leave a child in a closed car in hot weather even for a few minutes.

"While the deaths of children left in cars from hyperthermia is tragic, there is, of course, no reason, ever, to leave a child in a car unattended," said Grundstein. "Risks such as abduction or injury abound, as well as children being asphyxiated from entrapment by vehicle windows."

The new easy-to-use table, however, could offer government officials and health agencies a way to quantify warnings and to make real yet again to parents that leaving a child in a heated car can only be a prelude to lifelong remorse.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andrew Grundstein
andrewg@uga.edu
706-583-0430
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New link between pollution, temperature and sleep-disordered breathing
2. New study first to directly measure body temperatures of extinct species
3. Temperature and salt levels of the Western Mediterranean are on the increase
4. New study sheds light on corals susceptibility to temperature change
5. New Scripps Research and GNF study helps explain how we can sense temperatures
6. New study shows rising water temperatures in US streams and rivers
7. SuperPower and UH sign high temperature superconducting wire license agreements
8. The quality of the tomato depends more on temperature than on natural light
9. How plants feel the temperature rise
10. Scripps research scientists find new link between insulin and core body temperature
11. North Atlantic fish populations shifting as ocean temperatures warm
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/3/2016)... , June 3, 2016 ... Management) von Nepal ... und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, ... führend in der Produktion und Implementierung von ... der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 Perimeter ... Platforms, Unmanned Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... visiongain offers comprehensive analysis of the global ... market will generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... DVTEL Inc, a leader in software and hardware technologies ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt is ... partnership with VoicePass. By working together, ... experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly different ... engines increases both security and usability. ... excitement about this new partnership. "This ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... 27, 2016   Ginkgo Bioworks , a leading ... was today awarded as one of the World ... world,s most innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is engineering ... real world in the nutrition, health and consumer ... with customers including Fortune 500 companies to design ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche ... with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article ... Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is ... treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 ... countries. Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: