How To Protect Your Child During Extreme Heat
Summer Survival Tips To Keep Your Kids Safe
As North Texas prepares for its hottest temperatures in two years, the dangers for your child also increases. According to the National Weather Service, heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the United States.
The highs this week will be above 100, with temperatures expected to reach 105 degrees. As we head into the scorching heat, it’s important to remember that infants and young children rely on adults to keep them cool, hydrated and safe while outside.
Too much time out in high temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
"As the outside temperature rises, your family's risk of heat stroke rises right along with it," said Corwin Warmink, M.D., medical director of Emergency Service at Cook Children’s. “On 100-degree days, it's best to stay inside. If temperatures exceed 90 degrees, stay in the shade and keep a close eye on the kids."
Take these steps during the summer to prevent heatstroke and heat exhaustion:
- Wear appropriate clothing: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes. Wear a hat to shield yourself from the sun, until you feel yourself getting warm. Then remove any items covering your head which can trap heat close to the body.
- Schedule outdoor activities carefully: Heatstroke can occur in less than an hour when you are participating in strenuous activity during a hot day. Try to limit outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so your child’s body has a chance to recover.
- Hydrate: Drink plenty of water during the day, especially if you are engaged in any strenuous activity. Be sure to drink water or a sports drink before, during and after any strenuous activity.
- Ventilate: Stay where there’s plenty of air circulating to keep the body cool. If you are without air conditioning, visit a shopping mall or public library. Remember, electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperatures reach the 90s, they will probably not prevent heat-related illness. A bath or cool shower is a much better way to stay cool.
- Wear Sunscreen: If you got outside, use sunscreen, wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and put on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going outside. Continue to reapply according to the package directions.
Don’t Leave Your Child Alone In A Car
Over the weekend, a 6-month-old girl in Ohio and 17-month old boy in Florida died after being left inside vehicles. Twenty-four children have died in hot cars in the United States this year, according to noheastroke.org.
Since 1998, 767 children have died nationally as a result of being left in a car. Texas leads the nation in children dying from pediatric vehicular heatstroke with 16 deaths since 1998.
For the Trauma department at Cook Children’s, statistics are much more than numbers. They represent very real, too often tragic consequences.
“Every time we hear of a child dying in a hot car, it’s heartbreaking for all of us,” said Sharon Evans, Trauma Injury Prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s. “It’s especially devastating because these deaths are preventable."
Here are some important ideas to help prevent unintentional injury to your child:
- Dial 911 if you see an unattended child in a car. Sometimes, people don’t want to get involved or just assume the parents are on the way out. But as you read earlier, it doesn’t take long for a child to die in a hot car. If you see a child or children alone in a car without an adult, call 911 immediately.
- Never leave your child alone in a vehicle, even for 1 minute. Windows left slightly open will not affect rising temperatures in the car.
- Set safe habits: leave a cell phone, purse, briefcase, etc. in the back seat before driving, forcing you to always check the back seat and see a child is/is not back there. The CDC recommends keeping a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
- Program your cell phone and/or computer to remind you to drop off your child each day.
- Have a plan with your daycare provider to contact you within a few minutes of being late or absent. Let your daycare know that you want them to call you if you are late or you have not called in saying your child will not be in that day.
- Teach children not to play in any vehicle.
- Lock all car doors, even at home.
- If a child goes missing, always check the cars and trunks.
- When leaving your card, check to make sure everyone is out of the car. Don’t overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.
Lifeguard Your Child
Everyone thinks it won't happen to them. Unfortunately, drowning can happen to anyone. Keep your children safe around water with these nine tips to prevent drowning.
1. Get in the water. Be in arms reach of your child. Don't let your child out of your sight and be there to grab your children out of the water at any sign of trouble.
2. 100 percent adult supervision at all times. Be active in the pool with the children or watch like a lifeguard. Don't take your eyes off of your child. If you aren't in the water, be sure to watch your kids at all times. Don't spend time on your smartphone, talking to friends or walking away for even a moment. Do have a phone nearby in case of an emergency. But that's the only time anyone should be using one.
3. Watch them until they are safe and inside. Monitoring your kids includes accounting for everyone who had been in the water all the way to the house or apartment. Once you are inside, count again and make sure all the kids are safe and inside.
4. Be a water watcher. If you are at a party with a group of children, take 15-minute shifts watching the kids. Count heads above water and look for any that are motionless on the bottom of the pool. Give your undivided while you are the water watcher. Stay sober and be alert. You can't have a more important responsibility.
5. Life jackets. Not just any flotation device will do. Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved. Check the tag to say so.
6. Swim lessons. Mom and dad, you need to know how to swim. If you don't know, take lessons with your child. Make sure your child knows how to swim too. If they are in the pool, they need to know how to get to safety. But this is only a layer of protection and doesn't take away from the fact that you need to be in arm's reach.
7. Know CPR. Local CPR lessons are given in your area. A quick Google search should help you find a class.
8. Use pool and child alarms to alert you if your child gets in the water without you.
9. Isolate your pool from the rest of your backyard with a permanent, four-sided fence with self-latching gates to prevent kids from accessing the pool area without an adult.