Keep kids safe when summer turns up the heat

Follow these tips to keep kids cool and safe

Sun-55TOPEKA – As summertime heats up in Kansas, it’s important to recognize the dangers associated with hot weather and the risk of heat-related illnesses. Safe Kids Kansas is sharing these tips to keep your kids safe at home, play and on the way.

Hot summer days across the United States have contributed to at least 18 child deaths this year from heatstroke when children were left unattended in vehicles, and many more near-misses. Safe Kids Kansas reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in cars to avoid these tragedies.

“Even on a mild day, the inside of a car can reach deadly temperatures within 10 minutes,” said Cherie Sage, state director for Safe Kids Kansas. “This is a place no child should be alone, and because children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults’, they are much more susceptible to heatstroke.”

Most people assume this would never happen to them, but in over half of all cases, the parent or caregiver “misremembered.” That is, they believed their child had been dropped off and were safe with a care provider, unintentionally leaving them in the vehicle. It has happened to caring and responsible families from all walks of life.

Safe Kids Kansas urges adults to reduce the number of child deaths from heatstroke by remembering 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.

Summertime is also about playing outdoors. Whether your child is active on the playground, or involved in organized sports, it is important to protect them from heat-related illness by keeping them well-hydrated and taking frequent breaks. To keep kids hydrated, bring a water bottle to the playground, sports practice and games. Encourage them to drink plenty of water before, during and after play. For every 20 minutes of play, a young athlete should take about 10 gulps of water. A teen should drink 20 gulps.

Observe children for signs of heat exhaustion. Symptoms include:

  • Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
  • Heavy sweating
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure upon standing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Confusion

If you believe a child is showing the symptoms of heat exhaustion, have them follow these steps:

  • Stop all activity and rest
  • Move to a cooler, shady place; preferably air-conditioned
  • Drink cool water or sports drinks

If the child is not improving within one hour, contact a doctor. Left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke, leading to organ damage and potentially death.

For more information about safety in and around cars, and sports safety, visit www.safekids.org, or call 785-296-1223.


One Response to Keep kids safe when summer turns up the heat

  1. Ron says:

    Piece with a different perspective —
    The Summer of Forgotten Babies http://themintyplum.com/?p=2159

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