UAE | Health

Police warn against sleeping in air-conditioned cars

Toxicology experts warn against sleeping in air-conditioned cars with closed windows

  • By Jumana Khamis and Sarah Dabbar, Gulf News
  • Published: 18:42 August 21, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
  • Experts at The General Administration for criminal Security at Dubai Police warned that in less than an hour, someone could suffocate as a result of a decrease in oxygen quantity.

Dubai: Police toxicology experts have warned against sleeping in air-conditioned cars with closed windows, describing it as a potential “slow death”.

Experts at The General Administration for criminal Security at Dubai Police warned that in less than an hour, someone could suffocate as a result of a decrease in oxygen quantity.

While this issue could relate to both old and new cars, it is more likely to occur in older models with a lack of engine efficiency and full ventilation.

Lt Col Khalid Al Sumaiti, a forensic chemistry expert at Dubai Police, said how suffocation from toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, can occur in these types of cases and urged people to maintain car air conditioning units and those often powered by electrical generators in homes.

Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, colourless and odourless gas which binds with the red blood cells restricting the flow of oxygen which can lead to suffocation.

Lt Col Al Sumaiti explained that first aid should be used on any potential victim with CPR in cases of unconsciousness.

Contrary to popular belief, both cracking a window or running the air conditioner have an insignificant effect on the heat build-up and temperature spike inside a car after an hour.

Research shows, that with the glass and metal acting as a greenhouse, the interior of a car can heat up to an extra 4.4 degrees within an hour despite the outside temperature.

The temperature rises 80 per cent in a car in the first half an hour, and running the air conditioner will only delay the temperature spike by 5 minutes.

Comments (6)

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  1. Added 14:17 August 22, 2012

    @Shijo, moving car keeps the temparature of both the engine and body of the car regulated. However, a stationed car not.. With this news I remember a case in UP, India where a couple died of carbon monoxide being remained in the car for a longer period in their garage with AC on with poor exhaust for harmful gas.

    Rizwan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 12:59 August 22, 2012

    Thanks for update i do agree what's the difference between moving car and stopped stilled vehicle

    RIZWAN KHAN, lahore, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 12:53 August 22, 2012

    In that case, how will it make difference between sleeping in an idle car with running AC and a long drive with AC?

    Shijo M, DUbai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 11:05 August 22, 2012

    Oh my God, when i saw this news i just remember an incident happened which recently. I was at a plaza with my wife and after shopping we went out to the car parking and found a lady crying near to the car and her husband knocking the door. When I went near to the car I found 2 boys are sleeping in the back seat of the car but they are not responding. So I try to help them and knocking the door and shaking the car but helpless to wake them up. Both parents are panic and started to cry. I even think to break the window. I told the parents to keep on call and I will shake the car continuously and if they still not wake up then call the authorities. After 20 minutes one boy wake up and I strictly request to the parents to not angry with the kids as it's not their mistake.

    Ahmad Saleem, Deira, India

  5. Added 10:36 August 22, 2012

    What is the difference then being in a moving car and an idle car with engine a/c switched on?

    deepak, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 09:04 August 22, 2012

    Thanks for publishing such a useful article. I take naps very often in the car on my lunch break. I never knew that it could be so harmful.

    Viji, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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