Jamie Niemerg, CPNP
Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Jasper County Medical Center
500 S. Scott Street
Look Before You Lock: An Important Message That Could Save Your Child's Life
- Know the facts:
- In 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can rise over 20 degrees.
- Even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the temperature inside your car can reach 110 degrees.
- The body temperatures of children can increase three to five times faster than adults. Heat stroke begins when the body passes 104 degrees
- A child dies when his/her body temperature reaches 107 degrees.
- More than 70% of heat stroke deaths occur in children younger than age 2
- An average of 38 children have died in hot cars each year in the USA since 1998
- Roughly 30% of heat stroke deaths occur because the child got in the car without a caregiver knowing and couldn't get out
- Cracking the windows or not parking in direct sunlight does not make a car significantly cooler. Heat stroke deaths have occurred even when the vehicle was parked in shade.
- Ways to prevent heatstroke
- Always check the back seats of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away.
o Put your cell phone, purse or even your left shoe in the backseat so you remember to check the back.
o Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.
- If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely
- Remind everyone to "Look before you lock"
- Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for one minute
- Lock your car when you get out, even in garage or driveway
- Never leave keys and automatic openers in children's reach
- When a child is missing check vehicles and trunks immediately
- Warning Signs of Heatstroke
- Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
- No sweating
- Strong, rapid pulse or slow, weak pulse
- Confusion or strange behavior
· What to do if you see a child alone in a car
- Don’t wait more than a few minutes for the driver to return.
- If the child is not responsive or is in distress, immediately:
- Call 911
- Get the child out of the car.
- Spray the child with cool water (not in an ice bath).
- If the child is responsive:
- Stay with the child until help arrives.
- Have someone else search for the driver or ask the facility to page them