Temperatures have been hot.  Fortunately, the forecast is calling for cooler weather this weekend. I will believe it when, and if, it happens.  Either way, there are months of hot summer days ahead here in San Angelo. Common sense tells us that we should be very careful what we leave in our vehicle on a hot summer day. Here are some things you should never forget.

Lindsay_Helms
Lindsay_Helms
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1) Children and Pets: Of course, no living thing can survive left in an un cooled vehicle in the summer heat. It takes only a few minutes to experience fatal heat stroke.  Make sure you check your vehicle for children and pets. This goes without saying yet every year in the U.S. children die in hot cars. Even if you're just running in to mail a letter or run a quick errand, you must not ever leave a living thing in your vehicle in this heat.

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Brian Chase
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2) Medicine: The heat can render some medicines virtually useless. Important medicine should never be left in a hot vehicle, even for a short period of time.  This is especially true of life saving medicines.  You count on them to work.  If you leave them in the heat, then they might not, and this can lead to a life threatening situation.

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Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash
Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash
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3) Plastic Water Bottles First of all, many people believe if the sun shines just right on a plastic water bottle left in the hot sun, it can burst into flames. This theory has been tested by a number of fire departments and has been proven true. The water and plastic can create a magnifying effect that can start a fire in your vehicle. The ignition temperature of those items is about 400 degrees, so it would take low humidity and prolonged heat exposure, but it can happen.  It is best to store water bottles in the trunk, or a cooler, anywhere out of direct sunlight.

But that's not the only danger. In the presence of heat, plastics can leach various potentially dangerous substances into their contents, including BPA which can alter hormones over time and leave men with "man boobs".

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Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
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Hand sanitizer is also not a good idea to leave in a hot vehicle.  It renders it less effective. Plus, the alcohol can leak into the air and all it takes is an ignition source like lighting a cigarette and BOOM.  You could end up with serious burns.

4) Phones, tablets, computers and tech  If you're one of the rare individuals who read manuals for the tech items you buy, you know.  If not, here it is.  Exposure of your expensive electronic devices to high temperatures can have severe consequences. Exposure to direct sunlight can be especially damaging to litium-ion batteries. Temperatures of 95 and above can irreversibly damage the batter capacity of your Iphone, Ipad, or MacBook. While it is unlikely, technically lithium-Ion batteries can easily rupture, ignite or explode when exposed to high temperatures or direct sunlight, such as conditions found in a vehicle left in direct sunlight.  Regular flashlight batteries can also be drained by high temperatures

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Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash
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5) Sunscreen After all, keeping sunscreen at the ready at all times is the responsible thing to do, right? Not necessarily.  Sunscreen stored in a high temperature looses its effectiveness.  When it is stored at temperatures above 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the potency can be destroyed.  Imagine what exposure to temperatures generated by the hot summer San Angelo sun can do.

Photo: Batch by Wisconsin Hemp Scientific
Photo: Batch by Wisconsin Hemp Scientific
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6) Alcoholic Beverages Leaving alcoholic beverages in a hot car can ruin beer and wine.  The sun's rays breakdown the acids in beer and the compounds that result will bind with Sulphur proteins to create the dreaded "skunk" flavor. The heat doesn't do wine any favors either.  It can turn your wine into a tangy astringent liquid not fit for consumption. Hard liquor can evaporate and oxidize causing a loss of flavor if left in the heat for an extended period of time.

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Photo by Sidral Mundet on Unsplash
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7) Lighters It takes very high temperatures for a lighter to explode.  Has it happened? There are rare repots.  It is best to take your lighter with you and not leave it in a hot car.

Photo by Joseph Caraccio on Unsplash
Photo by Joseph Caraccio on Unsplash
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8) Beach Gear Damp swimsuits and towels won't be damaged by the summer heat.  However, if you use them afterwards, you might be damaged. Damp swimsuits and towels are a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria which can cause yeast infections and urinary tract infections.  Plastic sunglasses can melt and metal frames can permanently brand your eye glass frames to your face. Since no rapper or fashion designer has yet to come out with this "look", it is safe to say for now, the pain and scarring would have no esoteric value whatsoever.

Photo by Lindsay Lyon on Unsplash
Photo by Lindsay Lyon on Unsplash
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9) Pet Foods/People Foods Of course, it goes without saying, any human food will not fare well in a hot vehicle. Likewise, you should not leave your beloved pet's food in a hot car either.  The summer's heat can change the composition of your pet's food, increasing the risk of food poisoning. Always transport your pet's food to a more suitable storage location immediately after purchase.  Likewise, don't store pet treats in the glove compartment.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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10) Chocolate They may not melt in your hands, but even M&M's will melt in a hot car. Chocolates of all kinds have a low melting point.  Leave chocolate in your car on even a warm day and you will regret it.  Especially, if it comes in contact with your upholstery.  You don't want people who will forever ride in your vehicle henceforth to be asking themselves: "I wonder if that's chocolate or something else?"  That is an especially damaging question on a first date.

Photo by Heather Barnes on Unsplash
Photo by Heather Barnes on Unsplash
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Try to park in the shade or get those sun blinds for your car.  The direct sunlight can be damaging.  Try to have a great summer, despite the heat.

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Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash
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