Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper BrandedUp Hello! Create with us Privacy Policy

LIST: 7 things to never leave inside your car amid the intense heat

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Apr 25, 2024 6:52 pm Updated Apr 25, 2024 10:48 pm

Summer in the Philippines this year seems to be more intense than usual, with reports of heat indexes going as high as 40 degrees Celsius.

In these high temperatures, a car parked in the sun could build up intense heat inside and cause damage to some belongings that you keep in your vehicle.

To avoid any kind of hazard to you, your car, and your items, here are some things you shouldn't leave inside on a hot day. 

Plastic bottles or beverage bottles

Never drink from a plastic bottle that has been left in a car. UV radiation from sunlight can break chemical bonds in plastics, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the most commonly used plastic water bottle.

In 2008, scientists at Arizona State University found that antimony—which is harmful to the eyes and skin and can cause lung, heart, and stomach problems—in PET bottles is released faster on hotter days.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) told GMA Integrated News that "water bottles left in cars can be like magnifying glasses that can trigger fire." However, as of writing, there has been no record of such incidents.

Gas aerosol or spray cans

Just like the PET bottles, the pressure inside a spray can quickly increase. Once it does, the contents of these aerosol and spray cans expand in the heat, especially when the car's temperature also increases. This will lead the pressure in the spray cans to reach its limits, thereby exploding, which can cause fire or explosion, injure someone, or ruin your car's interior.

Lighter or gas lighter

Lighters, or gas lighters, are also highly dangerous items that should not be left inside a car, as extreme heat can cause them to explode.

As per USB Lighting company, a minority-founded business with the "mission to save earth from butane lighters," it is unsafe to leave any type of lighter in a hot car as the high temperatures "will cause it to become hot and potentially combust."

If left unattended, the lighter's combination of oxygen and fuel can create a dangerous situation such as fire.

Electronic gadgets

Battery-powered electronics such as phones and laptops can be easily damaged when exposed to excess heating, which can lead to overheating and explosions.

Food items

Leaving food scraps or spills in your hot car creates a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. This can not only make your trip unpleasant but also attract unwanted pests.
Food items such as groceries, fresh products including dairy, chocolates, and drinks, must be properly stored and consumed immediately.

Food items inside a car 

Medication potency may be prolonged with proper storage.

As cars don't stay at room temperature, which medicines should be kept at, high temperatures can lessen the effectiveness of the medicine.

"Medicines that are stored correctly last longer and work better," said Mark Heelon, a medication safety officer in an article by Baystate Health.

"Extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) can physically change your medications and affect their potency (how well they work), which can be harmful to your health," he added.

Sunscreens and other beauty products

If you have sunscreen that has been in your car for a long time, it is time to toss it out. While it can protect our skin from UV rays, this product cannot withstand the heat as it can be ineffective once exposed to too much sunlight.

According to Dr. Pearl Weena Marie Sabido, a dermatologist from De Los Santos Medical Center, storing beauty products such as sunscreen and makeup at high temperatures can damage their composition and thus lessen their effectiveness. 

"Handling and storage of [sunscreens and make-up] are no different from that of any other topical preparation," she told PhilSTAR L!fe.

"High heat can, of course, alter any topical preparation’s components and composition, and so using sunscreen [and makeup] after exposure to such may render it at best, less effective, or at worst, unsafe." 

She added, "[It is] best to store these products in a cool, dry place."

This was also echoed by Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation dermatologist Joseph Chao when it comes to the effects of too much sun exposure to sunscreens. He said, "Bottles of sunscreen should not be left in cars" as "sunscreens, particularly chemical sunscreens with active ingredients like oxybenzone and avobenzone, can degrade with exposure to high temperatures from sitting in the car, particularly during sunny months."

“This leads to inadequate protection from harmful UV light and subsequent sunburns, which is a risk factor for skin cancer development,” he added

He also gave tips while using sunscreen in places where extensive heat can be experienced such as the beaches, "Wrap bottles of sunscreen in a towel or leave them in the shade where they aren’t exposed to direct sun and heat."