"Babies are particularly vulnerable!"

The Flemish motoring organisation VAB is calling on motorists to take into account that temperatures inside (parked) cars can climb to extremely high levels. "Your car becomes an oven", the VAB is warning as a couple of hot, sunny days coincide with the long Whitsun weekend. Tourists are flocking to the coast, which urged Belgian Rail to organise extra train services during the weekend.

The VAB carried out a test with two identical cars, except for the colour, on a sunny day. After one hour in the sun, the inside temperature of the cars had already climbed 24 percent compared to the outside temperature.

After 6 hours in the sun, the temperature inside the black car had reached a soaring 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) and more, compared to 46 degrees Celsius inside the white car. The VAB concludes that the colour does have a certain influence, but the main conclusion remains that the inside of a car is like an oven when it has been parked in the sun in summer.

Hot temperatures inside cars are dangerous, especially for babies. "The body temperature of a baby climbs faster than for adults. The first problems start at 39 degrees while 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) can be fatal as the brain can function any longer", explains the VAB, adding that pets, especially dogs, have the same problem.

"The lack of oxygen is not the main problem, it's mostly the accumulated heat. Opening a window is not really efficient. If you see a baby or a pet that's been left behind in a parked car in the scorching heat, you should act quickly. There is often no other option than smashing the window. Every minute counts in these situations." In other words: never leave a baby or a pet inside your car when the it's really hot, even not for a couple of minutes during the shopping.