Heat Can Hurt – How to Help a Child Left Alone In A Car
"Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash-related fatalities among children." That's straight from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
After the 95 degrees on Monday, we all know summer is coming back and it'll get hot like it always does in Rochester. Maybe it only lasts for a while, but our heat and humidity can be wicked. And that's when heatstroke can attack.
No one thinks it'll happen to them because we love our children so so much. The truth is, though, parents are often super sleep deprived, trying to work a job, and get a million errands done in a day...it takes a routine that'll become second nature. That's what Look Before You Lock is all about.
Unfortunately, even great parents can forget a child in the back seat. Other risk factors include caregivers who aren’t used to driving kids, or whose routine suddenly changes. Whether you’re a parent, caregiver, or bystander of a child left in a car, it’s vitally important to understand children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults.
So how do you make sure you remember your child in the car?
- Look before you lock. Make it a habit to look before you lock, and try these tips to avoid putting children at risk of heatstroke.
- Keep your vehicle locked and keep your keys out of reach; nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle.
- TAKE ACTION if you notice a child alone in a car! Protecting children is everyone’s business—learn what to do if you see a child alone in a car.
Here's What to Do If You See A Child Alone in a Car
You might be worried about messing in someone else's business, please, don't. Wait for no more than a few minutes for the driver to return while you check for responsiveness and then for signs of heatstroke.
If the child is not responsive or is in distress:
- Immediately call 911.
- Get the child out of the car.
- Spray the child with cool water (do not put in an ice bath).
If the child is responsive:
- Stay with the child until help arrives.
- Have someone else search for the driver or ask the facility to page them.
Warning Signs of Heatstroke
- Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
- No sweating
- Strong, rapid pulse or slow, weak pulse
- Confusion or strange behavior
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