With the approach of summer in Texas, the danger of children dying from being left unattended in vehicles increases. Two children have died this year in Texas due to heatstroke. By following the steps in the Safe Kids ACT campaign, we can help reduce needless and preventable deaths. ACT stands for: Avoid heatstroke-related injury, Create reminders, and Take action. The campaign is designed to link together these simple heatstroke prevention steps.
Temperatures in parked a vehicle rise very quickly. According to figures from San Francisco State University’s Department of Geosciences, in just 10 minutes, the temperature inside of a vehicle can increase by almost 20 degrees.
A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s, making children more vulnerable to a deadly condition known as heatstroke. Heatstroke can occur at body temperatures above 104 degrees. Even mild outside temperatures can pose a threat, but with Texas temperatures climbing into the upper 90s each day, the danger becomes even greater.
In many of the heatstroke cases, the death was due to the child being ‘forgotten’ by the caregiver. Such deaths are preventable when parents take precautions to make sure children are not left alone in vehicles and cannot gain access to unlocked vehicles.
Although many parents may think this will never happen to them, it is a tragedy that can and has happened to many families. It is important that parents talk to babysitters, grandparents, and others who care for their children to make them aware of the dangers of hyperthermia deaths.
This summer, remember to ACT:
- Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death.
- Create reminders and habits that give you and your child’s caregiver a safety net.
- Take action if you see an unattended child in a vehicle.
Remember, children should never be left alone around cars. In addition to heat risks, there are other safety concerns with children in and around cars including back-overs, the risk of children releasing the gear shift or engaging electric windows, or becoming trapped inside vehicles or trunks. For more information, contact Kate Whitney at 254-435-2331.
Mark your calendars for the next Backyard Basics seminar on June 19 at 12pm at the Extension Office. This time, we will discuss canning jams and jellies with a quick demonstration.
By Kate Whitney
County Extension Agent – FCS
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service