It’s not often you volunteer to sit in a hot car.

But that’s exactly what I’m doing with Victoria city councillor and animal advocate Charlayne Thornton-Joe.

“It’s not warm today, it’s only 21 Celsius outside but it’s a lot hotter in the car,” Thornton-Joe said. “I think people will be shocked to see how hot it actually gets, even on a cooler day.”

When we get into the black SUV at 12:30 pm, air temperature inside the vehicle is already 43 C ? that’s almost 110 Fahrenheit ? and more than double the outside temperature.

Surface temperatures inside the vehicle are even hotter, with the dash clocking in at 57 C.

And that’s why we’re doing this ? with paramedics standing by as a precaution ? to raise awareness about the dangerous of leaving children and pets in the car, even on days that aren’t that hot.

“People will be running errands and they’ll leave the dog in the car thinking it’s just 10 minutes,” Thornton-Joe explained. “But in 10 minutes,  the dog came be in distress and suffering from brain damage.”

After just five minutes, it was already 45 C inside the vehicle and after 10 minutes, the iPhone recording our hot car experiment stopped working.

“The phone has shut off because it’s too hot in here,” Thornton-Joe said.

We were also feeling the effects of the sweltering environment with beads of sweat pooling on our faces and dehydration starting to set in.

After 15 minutes, the car reached 46 C and the thermometer became almost too hot to hold.

“I’m definitely uncomfortable and I’m starting to breath heavily,” Thornton-Joe said. 

I was starting to get a headache and a heat rash had developed.

By the 20-minute mark, it was a sweltering 48 C inside the vehicle ? and still just 21 C outside.

The surface temperature inside the vehicle had soared to 62 C in the sun and a shocking 59 C in the backseat in the shade.

After just 25 minutes, we had to get out.

We were immediately hit by how cool it was outside the vehicle.

It wasn’t even the hottest part of the day and there was a 27-degree temperature difference  ? just imagine what it would have been like on a hot day.

Tess van Straaten