Cars, Children and Summer Heat Can Be Deadly|
STEPHENVILLE, Texas — As outside temperatures rise, the dangers for children being seriously injured inside a hot car also increase. That’s why Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville has joined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in an effort to reduce these deaths by reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of heatstroke in young children.
“More than half of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in a car, and more than 30 percent are from a child getting into a hot car on their own,” said Jennifer McMeens, R.N., B.S.N., child passenger safety coordinator at Texas Health Stephenville.
To help prevent these needless tragedies, we urge parents and caregivers to do several things:
“And if you ever see a child left alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 right away,” said McMeens.
According to NHTSA, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatalities for children 14 and under. In fact, one child dies from heatstroke from being left in a hot vehicle nearly every 10 days.
Warning signs of heatstroke include red, hot and moist or dry skin; no sweating; a strong, rapid pulse or a slow, weak pulse; and nausea, confusion or acting strangely. If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, cool the child rapidly (not an ice bath but by spraying them with cool water or with a garden hose). Call 911 immediately.
“Childrens' body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult, and heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees,” said McMeens. “On an 80 degree spring day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes. When it’s 101 degrees outside, it’s 140 degrees in a closed car.”
Here are a few key safety tips to prevent vehicular heatstroke:
Properly fitted car seats are also vital to keeping children safe. Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct car seat inspections at Texas Health Stephenville on the first Thursday and third Sunday of the month. Call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355) to schedule an appointment.
About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville
For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.
Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.