OSDH Warns About High Temperatures for Children’s Safety
As temperatures climb, so does the risk for heat-related illness due to hyperthermia (overheating). The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds parents that children’s bodies overheat easily, and infants and children under age four are among those at greatest risk for heat-related illnesses.
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle–related death for children. On average in the United States, a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle every 10 days. Parents and caregivers of young children should especially keep in mind that vehicles heat up quickly and can be extremely dangerous for children.
OSDH offers the following safety tips to keep Oklahoma children safe in cars during extreme heat:
Never leave a child unattended in a vehiclefor any length of time, even if the windows are open.
Check the back seat. Check to ensure all children are taken out of the vehicle when reaching the destination. More than 50 percent of cases of children dying in hot cars occurred when a distracted caregiver forgot that a child was in the back seat.
Keep vehicle doors and trunks closed and locked. Up to one-third of heat-related deaths among children occurred when a child was playing in an unlocked vehicle and became trapped inside.
If anyone sees a child alone in a locked, parked car, it is now permitted by law, to forcibly enter the vehicle to rescue the child. Call 911 immediately for emergency assistance. There will be immunity from civil liability for any damage resulting from forcible entry used to rescue the child.
To receive more information on summer car safety, contact the OSDH Injury Prevention Service at (405) 271-3430 or visit http://ips.health.ok.gov and click on Factsheets and then click on Kids in Hot Cars.
Additional information on summer car safety can be found on these websites:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Kids and Cars