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This Is What It Feels Like To Be Left in a Hot, Parked Car

Every summer, news reports roll in of people leaving their pets, or even worse, their children, in parked cars. Here's what that feels like

Image: byronv2

Every summer, news reports roll in of people leaving their pets, or even worse, their children, in parked cars. As of last week, around 21 children under five have died from heat stroke after being left in cars. Over the past ten years, nearly 600 kids have died this way. The vast majority of these deaths are accidents—parents forgetting to grab their children or thinking that perhaps it will be okay for just a few minutes while they run into the store. Leaving pets in cars is even more common and just as dangerous, since dogs are basically babies with fur coats on.

To make a point of just how hot the inside of a parked car can get, veterinarian Ernie Ward recently made this video of himself inside one for a half an hour. Even with all four windows cracked a few inches, the car reaches 117 degrees in just 30 minutes.

Officials say that if you see a child alone in a parked car, call 911. And always look before you leave your own car, to make sure the little one isn’t in there.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Cars With Benefits
Is This the World’s Tiniest Car?

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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