Image courtesy of chrisroll at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Child heat stroke is a tragedy that happens more often than it should, especially in the state of Arizona. Not only is it the number one cause of non-crash vehicle-related deaths in children under age 15, but also it is completely preventable. AllKids Mesa and Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care providers are here to offer professional advice on how to prevent these awful tragedies from happening and make our community aware of what they can do to help.
Leave Mental and Physical Reminders for Yourself
The most important thing caregivers can do to prevent the death of a child by heat stroke is to ALWAYS know where the child is and ensure they are never left unattended. Some helpful reminders for ensuring no child is left unattended are:
Put your purse, cell phone, or shoe in the back seat of the car so you never leave your car without first checking the back.
When you change your normal routine, run through the modified schedule in your head. Have a plan to ensure your child is where they are supposed to be at the right time.
If someone else is dropping off your child at school or day care, have the care provider call you if your child is more than 10 minutes late.
Even if your child is sleeping and you don’t want to wake them to quickly run inside, WAKE THEM! A car’s internal temperature can raise 20 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Once a child’s body temperature reaches 107 degrees, their organs will shut down and the child can quickly die. Cracking a window will not help.
Teach Car Danger
Sometimes children, when left unattended, will climb into an unlocked car to play and accidentally lock themselves in. You may not find them until it is too late. To prevent this from happening:
Keep your keys out of reach.
Close your trunk and car doors when you are not using your car.
Always keep the garage closed and your car locked when you are at home.
Teach your children that the car is not a safe place to play.
If you ever see a child left alone inside a car, ACT IMMEDIATELY. First, look around to see if their caregiver is nearby. If the child is old enough to communicate and is conscious, try telling them that you are going to help them get out of the car. Call 911 immediately if you see a child is unconscious in a locked car. Break a window if you have to get the child out of the car as quickly as possible. Stay with the child until emergency help arrives.
To better understand the severity of this issue, watch this touching video by itsthatserious.org. Let’s do our best to spread awareness this summer and keep our community free of heat stroke related deaths or injuries.