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  • Dr. Liz Homan


Being a parent is hard. And as with anything, there will always be something for us to learn and for us to work on. A few weeks ago I shared on Sun Exposure and it led me to wanting to do a little Summer Safety Series. Like I said, being a parent is hard and it can be difficult to stay up on the latest recommendations for things. So, over the next few months, I will be sharing information on bike safety, water safety and playground safety.

But today, what I want to share with you on is heatstroke caused by leaving your kids in your car unattended.

With what is currently going on in the world and parents not wanting to/being able to bring their children into certain places I have been hearing more and more that parents are leaving their kids in the car. This is just for a bit as they run in somewhere quickly.

This may feel like a safer option then potentially exposing your child to COVID but what would happen if your car would turn off? Depending on the weather, it could take very little time for your car to get to a dangerously high temperature that could lead to serious injury or death. In fact, a car can heat up 19 degrees in just 10 minutes and cracking a window does not help.

Young children are at a higher risk of heatstroke as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults. In fact, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths for children. On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. This is not a safe option!

If you are uncomfortable bringing your child into a store right now and you do not have anyone to help watch them at home, please take advantage of the many services that are now available for picking up your groceries and necessities.

Beyond the current COVID situation, you want to ACT to prevent serious injury or death from vehicular overheating!

A: AVOID risk of heatstroke by NEVER leaving your child alone in the car, not even for a minute. It is also a good idea to keep your car locked at all times so your child can not climb in to “play” when you are not watching.

C: CREATE reminders that you have your child with you by placing something that you will need at your final destination, like your phone or wallet, by them. This is extremely important when you are not following your normal routine!

T: TAKE action! If you see another child in a car, call 911. Emergency personal are trained to respond to these situations and would rather you call when you see it then to have to respond to a very different call in 10 minutes if no action was taken.

As many of you know, my favorite quote is “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better” by Maya Angelou. So, you now know better, so please do better and never leave your child in the car!

Also, please share this information with other parents. I cannot imagine the effects of loosing a child and if we can do our part in sharing this valuable information, we will save lives!

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