18th Conference on Applied Climatology


A vehicle heating index for use in preventing vehicle-related hyperthermia in children

Andrew Grundstein, University of Georgia, Athens, GA; and J. Dowd, V. Meentemeyer, and J. Null

Approximately 38 children die each year from vehicle-related hyperthermia. In many cases, the parents or caregivers intentionally left the children unattended in the car, unaware of how quickly temperatures may reach deadly levels. The meteorological community along with local health officials and the media has been active in disseminating information about heat-related hazards. Yet, there is no system in place to warn the public about vehicle-related hyperthermia deaths in children. This research will focus on providing information that may be used by public officials and the media to educate the public about the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles. First, maximum heating rates at different time intervals are determined from data collected over 14 clear days in Athens, Georgia, U.S. An extension from previous work involves placing the results in an easy to use vehicle heating index that quantifies conditions that may occur under the most severe circumstances. In addition, this research explores the role of other meteorological factors such as humidity and sun exposure in enhancing the degree of hazard. A biophysical model is used to test the hypothesis that high humidity and sun exposure will increase the heat stress on the child in a hot vehicle.

Recorded presentation

Session 9, Topics in Applied Climatology III
Wednesday, 20 January 2010, 1:30 PM-2:30 PM, B211

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