x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

'It was so hot in my car, the thermometer cracked'

A reporter experiences sitting in a hot car under direct sunlight for as long as she can stand it - 10 minutes.

At 12.45pm yesterday, the outside temperature in Abu Dhabi was about 38°C. Inside a parked car, in a shaded area, the thermometer showed it was just as warm, but the hot air was thick and suffocating.

After about 10 minutes, with all the windows shut and the air-conditioning firmly off, the atmosphere became noticeably uncomfortable and claustrophobic.

Nevertheless, for a little more than 30 minutes, without any water, I was able to stay put - and I was (barely) able to handle the heat.

Moving into another car that was parked directly under the sun was an altogether different experience. The heat upon opening the front passenger door was so intense that it felt like the wind was being knocked out of me. I was blinking sweat from my eyes within seconds.

In conditions like these, it is no surprise to learn that, according to experts, young children - especially those who are asleep and entirely unaware of their situation - can die of heat stroke within 10 minutes.

Shielding my eyes from the sun, the front seat sodden with sweat, I lasted less than 10 minutes before the heat became unbearable both for my body and the thermometer, which cracked shortly after.

For an adult, fully aware of her surroundings and safe in the knowledge that fresh air is one click of a door handle away, sitting in a hot car was not pleasant, to say the least.

For a young child, unable to look after him or herself, the situation is unthinkable.

* Zaineb Al Hassani