Cars and kids /

Children left unattended in cars: keep them safe

01 In Brief

Many of us are unaware how it is a matter of a few minutes before the inside of a car reaches dangerously high temperatures even with the window left slightly open. On a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be as much as 30-40 degrees hottter than the outside temperature. During summer its time to rethink your next errand.

02 What Do I Need To Know?


  • Seventy five percent of the temperature rise occurs within five minutes of closing the car and leaving it, ie. on a 36-degree day the car will have reached 55 degrees, within five minutes.
  • Ninety percent of the temperature rise occurs within 15 minutes.
  • Dark coloured vehicles reach slightly higher temperature than light coloured vehicles.
  • The greater the amount of glass in the  car (eg. hatchbacks) the faster the rise in temperature.
  • Larger cars heat up just as fast as smaller cars.
  • The colour of a car’s interior trim has no effect on cabin temperature 
  • Having the windows down five centimetres causes only a slight temperature drop ie. from 78 degrees in a closed car to 70 degrees in a car with the windows down five centimetres.
  • The temperature inside the car begins to rise as does the humidity, while the airflow decreases.

Adapted from Kidsafe NSW 'Kids in cars'


03 What Others Say

  • Kidsafe NSW Inc

School Holiday Parent Kit: Kids in cars

Kids unattended in Cars

04 I Want To Know More

  • RACQ survey Manning R.  and Ewing J

Temperature in Cars Survey RACQ


05 Clinicians Tools and Resources

  • American Academy of Paediatrics: McLaren C, Null J,Quinn J. Pediatrics. 2005;116;e109

Heat Stress From Enclosed Vehicles: Moderate Ambient Temperatures Cause Significant Temperature Rise in Enclosed Vehicles

The information published here has been reviewed by Flourish Paediatrics and represents the available published literature at the time of review.
The information is not intended to take the place of medical advice.
Please seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional.
Read our terms and conditions

Last updated: 17/11/2013 by Dr Liz Hallam