ACT to Keep Kids Safe from Heatstroke
A child dies from heatstroke (also known as hyperthermia) about once every 10 days from being left alone in a hot vehicle. In fact, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatality for kids 14 and younger. Children climb into unlocked cars to play, or are left alone in the car. Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. Because of this, and because cars heat up so quickly – 19 degrees in 10 minutes – tragedies can happen faster than you think. These tragedies are 100 percent preventable.
Safe Kids Pennsylvania wants everyone to ACT.
A – Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
C – Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
T – 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. One call could save a life.
As temperatures soar, Safe Kids Pennsylvania wants to remind the public that kids are also at a higher risk for dehydration. Children have a lower sweating capacity and produce more heat during play and physical activity than adults, which makes them more prone to dehydration illness and heatstroke. Symptoms may include dizziness; disorientation; agitation; confusion; sluggishness; seizure; hot, dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty; loss of consciousness; rapid heartbeat or hallucinations. For every 20 minutes of play, a child should drink about ten gulps of water and take cooling breaks.
Finally, parents and caregivers should remember to check the playground equipment and surfaces in the summertime. Playground equipment can become dangerously hot, especially metal slides, handrails and steps. If the equipment is hot to the touch, then it is probably not safe to play on.