Heat Exhaustion In Children: In The Car

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It’s been a long hot summer. Although we are certainly grateful for the warm weather and long summer nights of relaxation and fun times, there are always little bumps in the road. Surely you have heard stories about heat stroke and how dangerous it can be – especially for the young children and elderly. As parents, we do our best to be sure our children understand how to know when they need to come in from the heat, have a glass of water, and take a moment to relax. But, kids will be kids! Their safety is in your hands always – especially in the car.

Did you know that children’s body temperatures can rise up to five times as fast as adults? It’s true! This means that when it comes to driving in the car, keeping the AC on, even if it doesn’t seem to be that hot outside, is a must with the kids there!

• Heatstroke can happen when outside temperatures are as low as 57 degrees
• Your car’s temperature can reach over 100 degrees with outside temperatures in the 60s

There are often times when you are running your daily list of errands and you realize you need to run into the store for a carton of milk. You think, I will only be gone a minute or two, I can leave Suzy in the car. With the doors locked, this can be safe… but when temperatures in your car can reach over 110 degrees within 10 minutes, heatstroke is a real danger!

Or perhaps your kids like to play in the car when it isn’t on. This can also be dangerous! Mom’s minivan may seem like the best place for hide and seek outside, but after 10 minutes, heatstroke is real. Teach your kids never to play in an unattended vehicle. Explain to them the dangers of the heat.

Keep in mind that in most states, leaving a child unattended in the car is illegal. But that isn’t the only way a child can end up in a too hot car. Properly encouraging your children to recognize symptoms of heat exhaustion is an effective way to prevent heat stroke… in the car or otherwise.


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