Children and Pets At Risk
--in closed up, solar furnace cars.

This page recounts our own efforts to control the interior temperature of our 4 door compact car
(a Suzuki SX4) in order to keep our mutt dog Sammy safe and comfortable while he patiently waits for us.
contact: craig er oochi  a t  outlook dotty com
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last worked on: December 31st, 2017

** My first thought: it seems an easy engineering task to design cars with ventilators --both low in the doors and high near the roofs, such that air convection would flow in proportion to the interior heat build up.

* Any related air valving that's electrically operated should default to open --or be lockably open (manually). This feature would also eliminate the nagging compromise between leaving your car securely locked up --and adequately ventilated. I see no good reason why closed motor vehicles should not have always had such a basic safety feature. (How many dead babies and pets does it take to bring about this change?)

* Going a step further: how about a switched option of thermostatically controlled forced ventilation? Car interiors are a small space and a modern muffin fan takes very little power --compared to the capacity of a vehicle battery.

"Cracking the windows a bit" is a pathetically lame way to cool a modern car.

* Several years ago, in preparation for going to our county fair --which is well inland from our west coast location and often very hot at this time of the year, I rigged a picnic type cooler chest with a medium sized 12 volt muffin fan. It had an intake port, exhaust port, and an extension cable for cigarette lighter power.
Using a wired remote sensing (home type, indoor-outdoor) thermometer, a big bag of ice in the cooler, and a dog bowl of drinking water, I was satisfied that our dog could be kept cool and comfortable for several hours. (He actually moved a short distance away from this rig --too cold, but kept his nose near the cool exhaust.)

* Unfortunately, our next car (purchased used --a 2008 Suzuki) had a lighter socket that turned off with the ignition --plus the doors can't be (electrically) locked with with accessory power left on. Consequently, we bought a "jumper box" (a lightweight portable battery unit with an internal charger) from an auto supply store --that has a cigarette lighter type receptacle (above photo). That way there's no concern about running a car's marginal battery down (even though the fan takes but trivial power).

* In order to be very sure this arrangement would work in our Suzuki, I troubled to graph the results.

(*click* to enlarge)
* July 28, 2016: Unfortunately, this day's outside temperature remained at nearly a constant 68 degrees and with gusty winds, so I thought it not worth the while to run the ice chest air conditioning, but I did graph the windshield reflector's effect.
I'll add another graph or two if we ever get some hot weather and calm air here.

* If you try this idea, be sure to prove to yourself that it and your methods work (in your car) before putting a pet at risk. (We just never leave little kids alone in the car --right?) When satisfied of its effectiveness, be sure to place a clearly written notice (or two) where concerned people will see it --stating that the dog is cool and comfortable. Include your cell phone number to use --in case anyone thinks otherwise --lest some do-gooder or policeman busts a side window in order to liberate your dog.

1/22/2017 update: It doesn't look like we'll ever again be going to the fair (we're old and feeble, plus it's no fun for Sammy dog), and it just doesn't get hot here (near the ocean), so I've not run anymore tests. (Sorry.)