Summer is right around the corner and with that comes more time spent in the car. Whether you’re driving kids to soccer practice or visiting family members, it’s important to remember that heat is a serious risk factor for children.
Children are more vulnerable to heat-related illness than adults because they have less ability to regulate their body temperature and sweat during exercise. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can occur when the body’s core temperature rises above 104°F, leading to confusion, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Left untreated, these conditions can be fatal.
Here are five ways to keep your kids safe in vehicles:
1. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke
2. Make sure children drink plenty of fluids before leaving home — even if they’re not thirsty — so they won’t become dehydrated while traveling in hot weather conditions
3. Have an emergency medical kit in your car with items such as a first aid manual and first aid kit; blanket; jumper cables; umbrella; flashlight with extra batteries; nonperishable snacks (such as granola bars) for everyone in case there’s a delay in reaching shelter or help; flashlight with extra batteries; cell phone charger adapter for the car (so phones don’t die)
4. Make sure children are dressed appropriately. Dress your kids in loose-fitting clothes and make sure they have plenty of sunscreen on exposed skin before going outside — especially on days with high temperatures and high humidity levels. Be sure they don’t wear clothing that could get caught in moving parts such as belts or buckles while riding in the car.
5. Don’t leave kids alone in vehicles — even for a minute! If you need to run into a store or drop off another child somewhere, double check that everyone else has gotten out of the car before locking it up and walking away.