Thursday, July 22, 2010

Please don't leave children and pets in hot vehicles.

The other day I saw a woman leave a child in the car and run into the gas station to pay. We've all been in her shoes. The child is sleeping and it was only for a second. I'm pretty sure she could see the child while paying. What would you have done? I don't think it was the worst decision she has ever made by a long shot. It got me thinking, though. How hot is it in the car in the middle of summer? You are always hearing about stories of pets and children dying from the temperatures. The lady could have run into an old friend and struck up a conversation that lasted longer than she had intended. These things happen. I don't keep a thermometer in my car. Do you? I know that the seats would burn the back of my legs when we had leather in our last vehicle. So I know it's hot. How hot is too hot? Find out some very helpful information here and here.

Did you know that all that it takes is 10 minutes in a car and the temperature can jump almost 20 degrees. That's scary stuff right there. The temperature keeps climbing too. Even in the shade a car can be well over 120 degrees. There's no sense in cracking a window either. A car acts like a greenhouse. That's why it feels so much hotter inside than it may actually be outside. Pets are especially at risk because they can only reduce their body temperature by panting and through the pads on the paws. Look for these symptoms from your pets if you think they have a heat related illness:

-Excessive panting

-Excessive drooling
-Increased heart rate
-Trouble breathing
-Collapse or loss of consciousness
-Respiratory arrest
If you see any of these signs seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Children and infants body temperature rises faster due to their small size. This is very dangerous in summer months. Almost 40 children die each year from hyperthermia. Some people believe the rate of deaths went up when it became mandatory to put your infant in a rear facing carrier in the back seat. Out of sight out of mind. Some blame lack of sleep in the early months. July is the deadliest month according to the Associated Press. Less than 10% of all cases involve any sort of drugs or alcohol. These cases are happening to the most loving and capable parents. Most of the time it is a change in routine that cause these cases. Some cases involved children crawling into cars and trunks while playing. There is a great short video put out by Safe Kids USA that you should watch. Some tips on remembering to keep your child safe:

-Keep vehicles locked so children do not enter while playing and teach them not to play inside vehicles.
-Keep your purse/gym bag/briefcase/cell phone/etc. in the back seat so you see child/infant.
-Keep a reminder in the front seat (teddy, toy, sippy cup, diaper bag, etc.)
-Create a policy with your day care provider or school if child does not show up that there is a list of people to contact in order to make sure child is in a safe place.
-If you see an unattended child in a hot car call 911 or go inside and have them make an announcement.

Please have a safe summer with your pets and children. If you would like more info you can go here or any of the links I have above.

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