July is always one of the hottest months of the year. Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. According to KidsandCars.org, there have been 13 child vehicular heatstroke deaths so far this year, with an average of 38 deaths each year.
Avoid heat strokes by keeping these precautions in mind:
- In 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees higher.
- Cracking a window and/or air conditioning does little to keep it cool once the car is turned off.
- A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s does.
- When left in a hot car, a child’s major organs begin to shut down when his temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit and can die when temperature reach 107 degrees.
- Because of global warming, expect more days to be hotter.
- Never leave your pet in a parked car.
- Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets and leave the water in a shady area.
If you see a child or pet alone in a hot vehicle, make sure the child or pet is responsive and attempt to locate the parents. If not, call 911 immediately. If the child or pet appears to be in distress, attempt to enter the car to assist – even if that means breaking a window. South Carolina has a “Good Samaritan” law that protects people from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency.
Learn more about heat-related illnesses at https://www.scdhec.gov/heat-related-illnesses.
South Carolina is a beautiful place to spend the summer months, but it can be quite hot at times, too. Heat can cause health problems for some of us, and can even be deadly. Stay cool and prevent heat-related health issues. It’s your best defense.
Although anyone, at any time, can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
- Infants and young children
- People aged 65 or older
- People who have a mental illness
- Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illnesses, but it can be troubling. Be aware of the warning signs of heat exhaustion, which can include heavy sweating, cramps, dizziness and nausea. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress into heat stroke.
You should seek immediate medical help if your symptoms become severe or you have heart problems or high blood pressure.
- Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages (and those directed by your physician), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar. These beverages actually cause your body to LOSE more fluids! Avoid very cold drinks, too, because they can cause stomach cramps.
- Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If you must be outside when temps are high, avoid prolonged exposure by seeking shade or air conditioning every hour or so.
- Electric fans may provide comfort, but fans will not prevent heat-related illness in extremely hot weather. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place, is a much better way to cool off.
- If your home does not have air conditioning, go to public places with A/C during the heat of the day – someplace like a library or shopping mall. This is especially important for those in high-risk groups like the elderly who easily suffer health effects from being in the heat for prolonged periods.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- NEVER leave children or pets in a closed, parked vehicle.
For more information about preventing heat-related illnesses, visit www.scdhec.gov/Health/DiseasesandConditions/HeatRelatedIllness/.
By Cassandra Harris
Summer is here, and so is the heat. With temperatures reaching over 100 degrees this week, it’s a good time to remind ourselves about heatstroke prevention for children in cars.
In just 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can raise over 20 degrees. The leading cause of non-crash-related fatalities for children 14 and younger, heatstroke can occur when children are left alone in a car. That’s why it’s important for parents and caregivers to take careful precautions to reduce the risk of child heatstroke.
Here are some quick tips:
- Don’t leave your child alone in the car, even for a minute.
- Remember to ACT: Avoid heatstroke. Create reminders. Take action.
- If you see a child left alone in a hot car, call 911 immediately.
For more information, click here.