Sunshine spells danger in cars

Xu Lingchao
Firefighters' experiments show just how risky it can be if everyday items are left inside vehicles parked under the summer sun.
Xu Lingchao

An ice cream become a pool of liquid in minutes when left in a car under the summer sun. 

How hot can it be inside a parked car under the summer sun? What will happen when someone is locked inside? The results of an experiment by firefighters in suburban Jinshan District might startle you.

The firefighters turned off the engine of a normal sedan around noon and left it under the sun. The temperature inside was 25 degrees Celsius when it was first powered off for the air-conditioning had been on.

Within six minutes, the temperature had surged to 50 degrees. When the firefighters put an ice cream in the car, it became a puddle of liquid in five minutes.

The temperature continued to rise and when it reached 55 degrees, lighters left in the car would explode.

The firefighters said most lighters contain butane, which will explode at a temperature around 20 degrees. The plastic shell of the lighter expanded and broke at 55 degrees, which allowed the butane to come into contact with the air. That's when an explosion would occur.

The firefighters said that leaving canned drinks, sprays and portable chargers inside a car can be dangerous as they all explode when heated.

“Finally," they said, "don’t ever leave your children locked inside a hot car."

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