Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children. Unfortunately, even great parents can forget a child in the back seat. Other risk factors include caregivers who aren’t used to driving kids or whose routine suddenly changes.
Whether you’re a parent, caregiver or bystander of a child left in a car, it’s vitally important to understand children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults. Follow these important rules and tips to protect children from heatstroke:
Always Look Before You Lock
- Always check the back seats of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away.
- Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.
- If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.
- Keep in Mind a Child’s Sensitivity to Heat
- In 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can rise over 20 degrees.
- Even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the temperature inside your car can reach 110 degrees.
- A child dies when his/her body temperature reaches 107 degrees.
Understand the Potential Consequences of Kids in Hot Cars
- Severe injury or death
- Being arrested and jailed
- A lifetime of regret
TAKE ACTION if You Notice a Child Alone in a Car!
If you see a child alone in a car, don’t worry about getting involved in someone else’s business-protecting children is everyone’s business; besides, “Good Samaritan” laws offer legal protection for those who offer assistance in an emergency.
Here’s What You Can Do
- Don’t wait more than a few minutes for the driver to return.
- If the child is not responsive or is in distress, immediately:
- Call 911.
- Get the child out of the car.
- Spray the child with cool water (not in an ice bath).
- If the child is responsive:
- Stay with the child until help arrives.
- Have someone else search for the driver or ask the facility to page them.
Warning Signs of Heatstroke
- Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
- No sweating
- Strong, rapid pulse or slow, weak pulse
- Confusion or strange behavior
For more information visit: http://www.safercar.gov/parents/InandAroundtheCar/heatstroke.htm