Keep kids safe with these 5 tips to prevent heatstroke in cars

JUL 31, 2017 | BY ROSALIE L. DONLONDENNY JACOB

Summer is a favorite time of the year for many with warm, sunny days. But it’s important to remember extremely hot summer temperatures can be dangerous and even deadly.

During periods of elevated temperature, your body must work more intensely to maintain its internal temperature of 98.6 degrees, leading to the threat of dehydration, among other things. Beyond the risks to people, extreme heat increases a number of exposures. For example, vehicles can break down if there aren’t enough fluids to keep the car cool and functional as it reacts to the increased heat.

Of the numerous risks that can occur with increased heat, a heatstroke is often overlooked. Children, especially those under a year old, are at risk because their body’s temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s, and they’re often too young to alert others for help.

In the span of 10 minutes, a car can heat up by 20 degrees — enough to kill a child left alone in a vehicle. On July 31, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will tweet every 15 minutes for 24 hours to raise awareness about the dangers of heatstroke. You can follow the conversation through NHTSA’s Twitter page and participate using the hashtag #HeatstrokeKills.

The risks of vehicular heatstroke

Vehicular heatstroke happens when a child is left or trapped inside a car or truck. As NHTSA explains, the temperature inside a vehicle can quickly rise high enough to kill a child—even when it doesn’t feel that hot outside. Understanding how and why these tragedies happen is the key to protecting our children. In 54% of cases, the child was forgotten by the caregiver. In 28% of cases, children got into the vehicle on their own.

High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death. It begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the thermoregulatory system is overwhelmed. A core temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.

Regardless of the temperature, heatstrokes pose a risk at any given time; they can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. Heatstroke fatalities have occurred even in vehicles parked in shaded areas and when the air temperature was 80 degrees Fahrenheit or less — rolling down a window does little keep a vehicle cool.

The warning signs of a heatstroke can vary, but may include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin; no sweating; a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse; a throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; being grouchy or acting strangely.

Follow these five tips from NHTSA to keep children safe from vehicular heatstroke:

Look before you lock

Get into the routine of always checking the back seats of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away. It sounds unthinkable that you’d forget your child in the back seat, but if the child is asleep and you’re distracted or in a rush to get somewhere, it does happen.

Have a gentle reminder

Keep a stuffed animal or another memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place your phone, briefcase or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.

Do a routine check

If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely. Set a reminder on your phone to call and check in.

Keep track of your car keys

Keep your vehicle locked and keep your keys out of reach; nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle.

If you have a newer model car that has a keyless entry, check with the vehicle’s manufacturer on ways to keep children from getting into the car unsupervised.

Act to save a life

You should act if you see a child alone in a vehicle. Call law enforcement immediately, and free the child from the vehicle to protect that child’s life. Don’t be afraid to break a window if necessary.

Original Article

Protect Your Pets from Hot Cars

by Jennifer Sonntag on July 7, 2017

To a dog, there’s nothing more exciting than going for a ride, having the window rolled down and feeling the wind in your ears. However, when the car stops and owners run a “quick” errand, what can happen to your pet is dangerous. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), hundreds of pets die in hot cars each year. Time passes faster than owners realize and car temperatures can climb to well over 115 degrees, putting your pet’s life in danger.

How fast does a car’s temperature rise? Here are some examples:

When it’s 70 degrees outside, your car’s temperature inside is 89 degrees after just 10 minutes and up to 104 degrees after a half hour. If you’re traveling with your pet on an 85 degree day, your car’s temperature is 104 degrees after 10 minutes and nearly 120 degrees after a half hour. Pets cool themselves by panting and through their skin and have a harder time cooling down in hot weather. In a hot car, heat stroke can happen in just a few minutes.

What to do if you see a pet in a hot car

Take caution when you see a pet in a hot car. If you identify a pet is in distress in a hot vehicle, the best thing to do is contact local law enforcement. Some states have laws against leaving a pet in a hot car, however, it varies. Obtain guidance from law enforcement before taking action and breaking a car window on your own. Once you call law enforcement, stay by the vehicle and keep an eye on the pet until help arrives.

How to treat a pet with heat stroke
First, it’s important to know the signs of a heat stroke:

Warning signs: panting, drooling and lethargy
Advanced stage: grey or blue gums, limp body posture with heavy breathing and the pet may be in shock

Cooling the Pet Down

  • Get your pet to an air-conditioned environment
  • Work to cool the pet down by wetting the ears and pads of the feet with cool water (do not use frigid water, use cool water).
  • Place cool, wet towels over the shoulder/neck, under the front legs and in the groin area
  • Refresh the water frequently
  • If the pet will drink, provide cool water or small ice chips


What to do if the pet is unresponsive

  • Call an emergency veterinarian immediately and tell them you’re on your way.
  • If the gums are gray/blue, they are in need of immediate treatment and should be rushed to the nearest emergency treatment center.
  • They will help cool the dog and administer subcutaneous fluids.


Additional Tips for Pet Owners in the Summer

  • Short-nosed, long-haired and young dogs are more at risk and prone to heat stroke.
  • On hot days, limit exercising your pet to early morning or evening hours.
  • Asphalt gets very hot and could burn your pet’s paws.
  • Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. It’s safe to use sunscreen on their noses and ear tips.

If you’re going out during the summer, it’s best to keep your pet at home, in a cool, air conditioned environment.

To protect your family, visit Scott Lynch Agency

How to Get Your Kids to Play Outside

Playing outside used to be kids’ main form of entertainment. As a kid, I only went inside for food, water and much-needed sunblock.

These days, the explosion of personal cell phones, tablets and gaming devices means it’s harder to get your kids to play outside. And that’s unfortunate since playing outside gives children a chance to get physical activity and socialize with friends.

If you’re a parent, chances are you’re having a hard time peeling your kids away from TVs and touch screens. The next time your kids play the “there’s nothing to do outside” card, combat it with these ideas.

Good old-fashioned fun

Here are classic outdoor activities that most kids simply can’t turn down.

  • Host a water balloon fight: Water balloons are a cheap and easy way to cool off under the sun and get everyone outside. Have your child invite some friends over with a change of clothes and a towel. If you’d rather not deal with a mess, letting them run through the sprinkler is an equally fun alternative.
  • Create an obstacle course: On your mark, get set, go! See who can reach the swing set first after spinning around five times, hula hooping ten times and hopping over an outdoor cushion. The more creative you get, the more they’ll enjoy it.
  • Camp out in the backyard: Pitch a tent under the stars. Get the whole family involved by having a cookout or outdoor fire beforehand. Just make sure to put it out before heading to bed!

Try an app or two

Having an especially hard time getting your kids to step away from their favorite devices? Fear not, because there are ways to use the enemy to get your kids to play outside. Try one of these tactics and they’ll soon be heading out the door.

  • Catch ’em all with Pokemon Go: The popular new game allows players to digitally immerse themselves in the world of “pocket monsters” with just a smartphone. Since you have to actually move to find items, the kids’ll be off the couch pronto. See how many Pokemon they can catch around the neighborhood, just remind them to be aware of their surroundings!
  • Send them on a scavenger hunt: Give kids a list of items that can be found around the yard or, if they’re older, around the neighborhood. Instruct them to use their phones to take a picture of the item as proof they’ve found it.
  • Go geocaching: Geocaching involves finding a collection of hidden items. Make one out of an old Tupperware container with your child and then pick a place to hide it. The Android and iOS compatible Geocaching app helps users find caches and keep track of ones they’ve already found. This is an excellent activity for the whole family to take part in.
  • Do a little stargazing: There are numerous cell phone apps that help you identify constellations in the sky during different times of the year. Two that are compatible with both iOS and Android are Night Sky Light and Star Chart.

With a little creativity and a little planning, you really can get your kids to play outside this summer.

by Alex Buczynski on June 4, 2014

Original Article