Beat the heat and check the backseat!
It has been crazy hot….and the news has reported two tragic incidents of children left in hot cars…I wanted to re-post this to keep this in the forefront of every parent’s mind. If you see a child left in a car ANYWHERE…cal 911!!
Many of you probably have outdoor plans and we don’t always think about extreme heat at this early date. Children don’t have an “on/off” switch; they pretty much are “on” and active all the time. Adults usually have better awareness of activity and heat, children are not good judges of their own activity level and the heat.
Children can develop heat stress more quickly than an adult. With it being this warm so early in the season, no one is acclimatized to the heat. It takes 7 to 14 days of heat for a person to become accustomed to exercising in the hotter weather.
- Keep your child well hydrated. Children do not ask for drinks very often. Offer water, frozen juice pops, or increase your nursing to help maintain hydration in your child.
- Children do not need sports drinks, water is the best hydrator.
- Allow about 15 to 20 minutes of activity in the heat and then encourage shade time and a drink.
- Keep your child’s clothing lightweight and light in color. Sweat will only cool a body if it is allowed to evaporate.
Over heating can become a life threatening emergency. Every year there are reports of tragic deaths of children who get left in cars accidentally or who get trapped in a car playing.
- There were 33 deaths of children left or trapped in hot cars in 2011 and 2 already in 2012.
- Most of these deaths, 52%, were due to children being forgotten in the car by a caregiver. Most of us think…”never would I forget my child in the car!” Most of the time this happens with a parent who has changed a routine; someone that does not normally take to daycare, the morning routine changed with an appointment, or a parent that is stressed or overextended. Most of us have had our minds very occupied at one time or another…it only takes a few moments of “forgetting” to result in a tragedy.
- 30% of the deaths were due to children playing unattended in a car. How many of us have let our child “pretend” to drive the car? Children are curious and will get in a car to try it out or hide and then accidentally lock themselves in the car or get trapped in the trunk. Keep your car locked and the keys out of reach!
- Cars heat up quickly. When the outdoor temperature is in the 80’s, the temperature in a closed car can reach a deadly level in 10 minutes or less.
- Cracking a window has no significant effect on the car’s internal temperature.
“Source: Jan Null, CCM, Department of Geoscience, San FranciscoStateUniversity, http://ggweather.com/heat/
- NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE. NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE !
- IF YOU SEE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A HOT VEHICLE CALL 9-1-1.
- Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
- Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. IF A CHILD IS MISSING, ALWAYS CHECK THE POOL FIRST, AND THEN THE CAR, INCLUDING THE TRUNK. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
- Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.
- Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
- Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of the car.
- Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school. “Source: Jan Null, CCM, Department of Geoscience, San FranciscoStateUniversity, http://ggweather.com/heat/
- Never leave infants asleep in the car unattended, even with the widow cracked or the air conditioning on.
- Always teach your child that the car is not a play area.
- Always lock your car and keep the keys out of your child’s reach.
National highway transportation safety administration
So the warm weather is here…and with just a few precautions we can enjoy every minute of it. So find some shade, get a cool drink for yourself and your child, take the basic safety measures to protect your child from being left in a hot car, and enjoy. Summer heat is great; remember how you wished for it in January???
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.