Unfortunately there are tragic stories each summer about pets and children left in vehicles on hot summer days. While there has been a growing awareness about these dangers when outdoor temperatures are hot, it is important to remember that even on cooler days that it can still get dangerously hot in a vehicle.

I joined Officer Ron Tinsley of the Duluth Police Department to test out just how quickly it can get hot in a vehicle, even on a pleasant 73 degree day. Before we started the video, Officer Tinsley opened the windows for awhile to allow some cool, fresh air inside, but temperatures remained warm inside the vehicle, even with the windows open. More on that later.

As you watch the video, you'll see that temperatures can quickly spike in a vehicle with the windows closed, even on a relatively cool day. We saw temperatures climb rapidly through the entire time we were inside. According to information from San Francisco State University (via heatkills.org), temperatures can quickly spike inside a vehicle on any sunny day, jumping to between 20 and 30 degrees in less than a half hour and upwards of 40 degrees in less than an hour; easily soaring to between 170 and 200 degrees inside the vehicle.

Stanford's School of Medicine says that even on days as cool as 70 degrees, near the temperature of our test today, that it can get hot enough inside a vehicle to be deadly for children. Best Friends Animal Society also points out that pets can't sweat like humans, so they pant to try to cool down. In a warm car environment, even slightly elevated temperatures can be dangerous or even deadly.

Multiple studies also say that cracking the windows open a little to let some air in isn't enough. A study that heatkills.org cites from Red Rover shows that opening the windows slightly will only make a difference of only about 2-3 degrees, which is still incredibly dangerous when temperatures inside the vehicle soar well into the triple digits inside.

Taking all that information into account and seeing the experience Ron and I had in the video above, use extra caution - even on pleasant 70 degree days. Bring your pets or children with you when you leave your vehicle, or if you're going somewhere you can't do that, consider leaving them home or with someone. If that isn't an option, and your vehicle can be left safely running, utilize air conditioning.

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