OSDH Warns About High Temperatures for Children's Safety
For Release: July 15, 2019 – Jamie Dukes, Office of Communications (405) 271-5601
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 4 are among those at greatest risk for heat-related illnesses.
Heat stroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash, vehicle–related death for children. In the United States, a child dies from heat stroke in a vehicle every nine 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 vehicle, not even for a minute, even if the windows are open.
It’s not about being a good parent. Anyone can forget a child in the back seat. New parents can be especially vulnerable to sleep deprivation as they adjust to life with an infant; lack of sleep can impact memory and judgment. Changes in routine can also contribute to unintentionally leaving a child in a car. More than 50% of cases of children dying in hot cars occurred when a distracted caregiver forgot a child was in the back seat. To prevent this, use these safety strategies:
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 a child is seen alone in a locked, parked car, it is permitted by law to forcibly enter the vehicle to rescue the child. Call 911 immediately for emergency assistance. Once the child is out of the vehicle, stay with the child in a safe place near the vehicle until emergency responders arrive.
To receive more information on summer car safety, contact the OSDH Injury Prevention Service at (405) 271-3430.
Additional information on summer car safety can be found on these websites: