Cars heat up even with win­dow open

The Witness - - OPINION - M.J. SAV­AGE Belle­vue Pi­eter­mar­itzburg

THE let­ter by Glo­ria Ox­ley to The Wit­ness on Novem­ber 7 gives ad­vice on what to do when leav­ing an an­i­mal, or a child, in a ve­hi­cle on a hot day.

She sug­gests that a car win­dow should al­ways be left open to pre­vent the high tem­per­a­tures in­side caus­ing harm to the an­i­mal or child.

Some years ago, as part of a UKZN mas­ters re­search de­gree, we in­ves­ti­gated the con­di­tions in­side a ve­hi­cle parked in the sun, even in win­ter, in­clud­ing the ef­fect of leav­ing a car win­dow slightly open. Our mea­sure­ments showed that such a prac­tice did not as­sist in low­er­ing the in­side tem­per­a­ture.

Cars get hot in­side mainly due to a lack of air flow and a small gap in the win­dow still does not al­low suf­fi­cient air­flow to the in­side, es­pe­cially when there are ob­struc­tions sur­round­ing the ve­hi­cle that de­crease the air­flow around the ve­hi­cle and through the win­dow to the in­side.

Our in­ves­ti­ga­tions clearly showed that leav­ing any an­i­mal or child in a car in the sun even in win­ter for a short pe­riod of time is dan­ger­ous and fool-hardy. The best ad­vice is sim­ply to re­frain from such a prac­tice.

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