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Caution: Hot Cars + Car Seats Don't Mix!

As summer approaches, keep in mind that temperatures inside your vehicle can rise quickly: up to 19 degrees higher in ten minutes, and up to 30 degrees higher in 20 minutes.

Even if it's 70 degrees outside, the interior of the car can climb to almost 100 degrees in a short time.

How long does it take for a car to get hot?

Outside
Temperature
Car Interior
(10 minutes)
Car Interior
(30 minutes)
70° 89° 104°
75° 94° 109°
80° 99° 114°
85° 104° 119°
90° 109° 124°
95° 114° 129°
Baby asleep in car seat

Leaving the windows cracked has little or no effect. The car’s interior experiences a “greenhouse effect,” where the sun’s heat gets trapped inside the vehicle. Paint color, upholstery, window tinting and more add heat to the interior.

Children are especially vulnerable because they don’t regulate heat like adults do. Brain and organ damage can occur after just 15 minutes. Pets are even more susceptible: their sweat glands are inadequate for cooling during hot days, and heatstroke can happen within minutes. 

  • Never, ever leave your child or your pet in your car unattended. 
  • Never assume you’ll be “in and out” of a store in just a few minutes. 
  • Do not underestimate how quickly the temperatures inside a car can rise, regardless of the outside temperatures. 
  • If you see a child or a pet alone inside a hot vehicle, always call 911. 

Summer car seat safety video with AAA's Diana Imondi

100 Deadliest Days

It’s not a cheery headline, but the fact is that the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest days of the year for teen drivers. Crashes involving teen drivers kill 10 people each day during the summer.

Speed and nighttime driving are the most significant factors. In fact, about 36% of all motor vehicle fatalities involving teen drivers occur between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am.  Risky behavior and distracted driving add to the deadly mix.

Even though your teen may have his/her license and be driving independently, they’re still inexperienced.

Parents should reinforce safe driving behaviors: 

  • Discuss with teens early and often the dangers of risky driving situations.
  • Teach by example and minimize your own risky behavior when behind the wheel.
  • Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers. Consider setting driving limits that are stronger than a state’s law and enforce those limits.

For more on the 100 Deadliest days and tips on how to talk with your teen, visit AAA.com/deadliestdays.

Teenagers standing near a car

Walking and Biking

More than 6,500 pedestrians died on US roads in 2020. Child pedestrian fatalities happen twice as often around parks than near schools. And, about 80% of child pedestrian accidents occur outside of intersections. 

Adults should continually have conversations with their kids about staying safe while out walking (or biking) in their communities. This includes teenagers, too, who are often so distracted by their phones they miss the dangers of the roads and sidewalks they are walking on. 

Bicycle use increased dramatically in 2020, so you’re likely to see an increased number of cyclists on the roads this year. Kids and adults can always use a refresher on safe biking. Check out all our information and free biking materials here.

Family riding bicycles

Reinforce basic rules often with younger children:

  1. Always walk on the sidewalks.
  2. If sidewalks aren’t available, walk facing traffic.
  3. Always stop and look Left – Right – Left.
  4. Don’t ever dart out into the street between parked cars.
  5. Cross streets at crosswalks and intersections.
  6. When riding a bike, always wear a helmet!
  1. Don’t get complacent…follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
  2. Never assume a driver notices you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you’re seen.
  3. When behind the wheel, you must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.  Don’t speed up to “make the light” at an intersection.
  4. Don’t use your phone while walking – studies show walking and texting accidents are increasing.

3 Hot Tips for Summer Car Care

Road trips are one of the joys of summer…there’s nothing like cruising with the windows down and the sun on your face. But you can’t have a memorable road trip without making sure your vehicle is in top “summer shape.”

  1. The summer heat can cause battery fluids to evaporate, which can damage to the structure.  Older batteries may be more susceptible. Batteries have a typical lifespan of 3 -5 years, so you should have your battery tested at the three-year mark, and annually moving forward.
  2. Tire pressure increases as temperatures rise. Add a hot roadway to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for tire disaster. Keep an eye on your tires…look for cracking, bulging or breaks, which can cause blowouts. Note that newer cars have Tire Pressure Monitoring systems, but those only indicate low pressure, not high pressure. A visual check is always best.
  3. Check your engine coolant levels – it contains anti-corrosion chemicals to help protect your engine from the stress of summer heat.
A flat tire on a car
Roadside Assistance Truck