Published on May 25, 2012

Prevent Heatstroke in Children

Local EMS Officials Warn About The Risks of Heatstroke in Children

Don't leave kids unattended in a hot vehicle.AMES - As outside temperatures rise, the dangers for children being seriously injured or even dying from being left alone inside a hot car also rise. That’s why Mary Greeley Medical Center’s (MGMC) ambulance service---Mobile Intensive Care Services 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 heat stroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in the car, and more than 30 percent are from a child getting into a hot car on their own,” said Susan Leatherman, Emergency Services Director at MGMC . “In an effort to prevent these needless tragedies, we want to urge all parents and caregivers to do three things:

1) NEVER leave a child in a vehicle unattended;

2) Make it a habit to look in the backseat EVERY time you exit the car;

3) ALWAYS lock the car and put the keys out of reach. And, if you ever see a child left alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 right away.

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 nearly every 10 days in the US from being left in a hot vehicle.

Warning signs in this type of  heatstroke include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, 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 or you local emergency number immediately.

“Children’s body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult, and heatstroke has been reported to  occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees,” said ambulance service supervisor Chris Perrin. “On an 80 degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.”