In a parked, unmanned car, the cap on a plastic soda bottle pops off and the cola fizzes out. A plastic toy puppy sags and topples over. A chocolate bar and gummy candies melt into slime.
These eerie images of what happens in a parked car under the scorching sun, shot by Nissan Motor Co., is part of the automaker’s “No more #CarHeatStroke” campaign, started Aug. 4. The 70-second clip, uploaded on Nissan’s official YouTube channel, has gone viral, viewed more than 330,000 times so far.
“If the weather outside is 35 degrees Celsius, it means the temperature inside a parked car is over 70 degrees,” the automaker states on the video. “Leaving kids or dogs in this condition, even for a short period, means their lives are in danger.”
Nissan’s message cannot be overemphasized. The mercury has risen to dangerous levels in many parts of the country in recent weeks, with often fatal consequences.
In July, 18,671 people were taken to hospitals by ambulance for heat-related illnesses and 29 died.
From Aug. 1 to Aug. 7, the ambulance tally rose to 6,588 people, the highest weekly total so far this year, the internal affairs ministry said. A total of 141 were in such a serious state they were advised to spend at least three weeks in the hospital, it said.
Despite repeated warnings about the hazards of heat, some parents still leave their children unattended in cars, leading to easily preventable deaths.
On July 29, a 2-year-old died in Tochigi Prefecture after his father left him in a car in a parking lot. The father, in his 30s, was reportedly supposed to drop his son off at day care on his way to work, but forgot about him and drove instead to his office, where he left the baby in the company parking lot for hours strapped in a child seat.
A 2013 report by the Japan Automobile Federation said in-car temperatures can pose health risks as soon as 15 minutes after the air conditioning is turned off. And placing sun shades under the windshields or leaving the windows partially open don’t help much because interior temperatures often top 40 to 50 degrees, JAF’s experiments showed.
Nissan’s video, shot by a remote-controlled camera, shows various objects melting or deforming over the course of 1½ hours as the temperature rose from 27 to nearly 60.
“The paranormal-like happenings inside the car are all real,” the automaker said. “No CG was applied during editing.”
Nissan is seeking to prevent further tragedies not just via the video, but also through alert messages on its car navigation systems. The message is shown when external temperatures reach 30 degrees or higher.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.