Prevent Children’s Injuries During The Hottest Time of the Year

Three kids aged 11 and 8 are sitting in a car in summer, windows open.

School’s out, summer is here and it’s approaching the hottest time of the year. Katie Metz, a Safe Kids Coordinator with Renown Children’s Hospital, gives tips for parents on child safety around cars in the summer months.

We’re getting close to the warmest time of the year. It’s important to remember that temperatures in cars soar even quicker than outside temps, so parents and guardians should be mindful of child safety around cars, especially in the warmer months. Katie Metz, a Safe Kids Coordinator with Renown Children’s Hospital, gives some more safety details that parents ought to know.

First, how quickly does a car heat up?

Even with a window cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach very high and dangerous temperatures within minutes – a car can easily heat up 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Young children are particularly at risk of suffering from heat-related illness because a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body and cannot regulate temperatures as well. The average number of heatstroke fatalities in U.S. children per year is 37 and Nevada is one of the leading states per capita for child heat stroke-related injuries and deaths.

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What are some ways to keep kids safe in and around cars in the heat?

Never leave children in an unattended vehicle, not even for a minute. Cracking a window does not cool the car down enough. You can help reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT:

Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.  

Create reminders. 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. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase or purse in the backseat when traveling with your child. 

Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations.

What are symptoms of heatstroke that everyone should watch for?

The most severe form of heat illness is heatstroke and it is a life-threatening medical emergency. You should always call 911 if a child has been outside in extreme temperatures and shows one or more of these symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  • Confusion
  • Lack of sweat
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizure
  • Flushed, hot, dry skin

While waiting for help to arrive, there are a few things you can do such as getting the child indoors or into the shade and cooling their body off with cold water.

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