Heatstroke can happen when body temperature rises to dangerous levels and it isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough. On average nationwide, 37 children die in hot cars every year from heat-related incidents. Nearly every state has experienced a child vehicular heatstroke death.
Community educators at CHOC Children’s recommend the following tips for avoiding heatstroke:
- Never leave your child alone in the car, for any amount of time. In California it’s against the law to leave any child under age of six alone in a vehicle without a person who is at least 12 years old.
- Teach kids not to play in cars, and kept your car locked so they can’t get in on their own.
- Create reminders for yourself not to forget your child in the backseat of your car. Leave an important item in the backseat near your child, like a wallet or cellphone that is needed at your final destination.
- If you notice a child alone in a car, call 911.
Parents can retain these tips by remembering to ACT– Avoid leaving your child alone in the car. Create reminders, such as one that ensures you dropped your child off at daycare that morning. Take action- if you see a child alone in a car, calling 911 could mean saving their life.
Heatstroke symptoms include dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, hot and dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat and hallucinations. These symptoms can progress to seizures, organ failure or death if not immediately treated.
If a child is experiencing heatstroke, there are several things you can do while medical assistance arrives. Take the child to a cool place, remove as much of their clothing as possible, and apply cold packs or ice to areas with large blood vessels (neck, groin, armpits) to accelerate the cooling process.