Get AccuWeather alerts right in your browser!
Enable Notifications

5 surprising items that can become dangerous when left in a hot car

By By Heather Janssen, Staff Writer
July 28, 2016, 7:53:01 AM EDT

We all know not to leave groceries and electronics to bake in a hot car, but there are some other items you might not have thought can be altered by the heat.



Sunscreen is a necessity during the summer months as people spend more time outdoors. But keeping sunscreen in the car can be unsafe. The heat can change the sunscreen's composition and effectiveness, making skin more vulnerable to the sun's strong rays. The heat can also cause plastic sunscreen bottles to melt.



Have a favorite pair of sunglasses? Make sure not leave them or prescription glasses inside the hot car. The heat can cause the plastic to soften or warp, changing the frame's shape and fit to the face. Be extra cautious with metal-framed glasses as the heat can cause the metal to reach high temperatures that can irritate the skin.


A 2014 study by the University of Florida found that water stored in plastic bottles can be unsafe to drink after being left in a hot car.

Some bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate released the chemicals antimony and bisphenol A, or BPA, when heated. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deems small amounts of BPA safe, high levels can pose a health risk. Leaving water bottles in cars for extended periods of time can raise the BPA level.

Soda shouldn’t be left in a hot car for even short periods of time, as heat can cause cans and bottles to explode. Heat can also cause a cork to pop out of a wine bottle. Even if the cork remains in tact, the composition of the wine can change if the bottle gets too hot, altering the original flavor.


5 hidden dangers summer can pose to pets
WATCH: Man smashes BMW window with rock to rescue overheated dog
Surprising things you didn't know about your sunscreen

MedicationMedicines are formulated at room temperature. Leaving them in a hot car can alter the chemicals and lower their effectiveness.

Skye McKennon, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy told the New York Times that pharmaceutical manufacturers recommend most of their products be stored at a controlled room temperature of 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

On a sunny 70-degree day, the inside temperature of a car can jump to higher than 100 F in just half of an hour.


Wet swimwear

Spent the day at the pool or beach? Make sure all swimwear is dry before packing them in a hot car. The wet swimwear can cause bacteria to grow in minutes, especially if wrapped up in a towel.

However proactive people may be, sometimes possessions end up forgotten about. In the summer, that can create a sticky, but sometimes colorful, mess.


Be part of the story. Share your photos and videos and videos at

Playlist used for trending content.

Report a Typo


Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News