Protect your Children from Heatstroke this Summer

Last summer, 39 children died from heatstroke, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Often, heatstroke happens when loving parents unintentionally leave kids behind, or when caregivers driving the child are not used to a new routine and mistakenly leave them in the vehicle.

Heatstroke symptoms can include red, hot skin, a lack of sweating, a rapid pulse, nausea, and confusion or strange behavior. According to the NHTSA, children overheat up to five times faster than adults, with babies and toddlers at the highest risk. In just 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can rise more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Even when the outside temperature is 60 degrees, the temperature in your car can reach a sweltering 110 degrees. And contrary to popular belief, cracking a window doesn’t protect your child from heatstroke.

If you’re driving a child in the summertime, always check the backseat of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away. Keeping a stuffed animal or other memento in your front seat can be a great visual reminder when your child is in the backseat. If someone else is driving your child or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely. Lastly, children should not play in or around an unattended vehicle. Doing so increases their chances of climbing in and trapping themselves in the car, putting them at further risk of heatstroke.

So, what do you do if you see a child left in a hot vehicle? If you see a child alone in a car, do not wait more than a few minutes for the driver to return. If they don’t return, call 911. Once you’ve called 911, remove the child from the car and spray them with cool water. If they’re responsive, stay with them until help arrives. Doing so can save a child’s life.