A recent social experiment conducted by the Child Safety Department (CSD) in Sharjah in collaboration with Sharjah Police and Sharjah Civil Defence has underscored the dangers of leaving children or anyone unattended in locked cars during hot weather.
The experiment, named ‘Look before you lock,’ put adult participants in a parked car for up to 10 minutes with the windows closed and no air conditioning. With outdoor temperatures averaging between 40 and 45°C during summer, the internal car temperature escalated by an additional 20°C in less than 10 minutes.
Participants reported immediate discomfort, including sweating, dizziness, fatigue, headache, and nausea. Medical monitoring revealed a significant drop in oxygen levels in the confined individuals.
“Children left in similar conditions face extreme risks like heightened blood pressure, dangerous dehydration levels, and even death from prolonged exposure,” Hanadi Al Yafei, CSD director, was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.
Al Yafei emphasized that the experiment aimed to make the risks palpable, stating, “Simple warnings are not enough. This practical evidence and live demonstration are meant to clearly drive the point across to the public.”
In addition to immediate physiological consequences, CSD highlighted the potential for long-term psychological trauma in children exposed to such conditions, including potential brain cell damage caused by extreme temperatures.
Captain Saud Al Shaybah of Sharjah Police reinforced the importance of awareness-raising, stating that the community should be educated to correct any negative behaviors in society. The experiment is part of CSD’s ‘Their Safety First’ campaign, an ongoing initiative aimed at comprehensive child safety awareness. An awareness film has also been released, featuring footage from the experiment.
Under UAE’s Child Rights Law, also known as Wadeema Law, parents or guardians leaving children in locked vehicles could face up to 10 years in jail and fines up to Dh1 million.
This comes after several tragic incidents, including the death of an eight-year-old boy found in a parked car in Sharjah in July 2021 and a close call on the first day of Eid this year, when a 3-year-old girl was rescued from a locked car in Ras Al Khaimah.