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With summer quickly approaching, it is important to pay close attention when you or a caregiver who helps with you children break a well-established routine. Children die each year from heatstroke after being forgotten in the back seat of a car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the following tips may help you and your family prevent these disasters:
-Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
-Do not let your children play in a vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
-Never leave your children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open. The inside temperature of a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes.
-Make a habit of looking in the vehicle, front and back seat, before walking away. Some children die in hot cars after climbing into an unlocked vehicle without an adults’ knowledge. Always lock vehicle doors and keep keys out of children’s reach. If a child is missing, check the vehicle, including the trunk, first.
-Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for childcare. If the person who is dropping off your child is not the primary person to do so, have them call you to make sure the drop went according to plan.
-Write yourself a note and put it somewhere you will see before you leave the vehicle.
-Place something you need (ie your purse, briefcase, etc.) in the back seat so you will have to check the back seat before you leave the vehicle
-If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call the police immediately. If they are in distress, get them out at quickly as possible and cool the child rapidly.
The following information is important to realize why leaving a child in a hot vehicle is so dangerous:
-Vehicles heat up quickly, even when the windows are rolled down. The temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in just a matter of minutes.
-Children’s bodies overheat easily. Infants and children under the age of 4 years old are among those at greatest risk.
-Children’s bodies absorb more heat on a hot day than an adult. Children are less able to lower their body temperature by sweating. Similarly, they’re body temperature increases 3-5% as fast as an adult.
Warning signs and symptoms of heatstroke may vary. Some things to look for:
-Red, hot and moist or dry skin
-A strong, rapid pulse, or a slow, weak pulse
-Grouchy behavior or acting strangely.
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