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Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Warns Families About the Dangers of Heatstroke

(ROCKWALL, TX — August 14, 2019) Outside of crashes, heatstroke is the number one vehicle-related killer of children in the United States. That’s why Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in an attempt to reduce these deaths by reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of vehicular heatstroke and leaving children in hot cars. In 2018, there were 52 preventable deaths of children in vehicles, a 21-percent increase from 2017.

AgriLife Extension urges all parents and caregivers to do these three things:

  • NEVER leave a child in a vehicle unattended.
  • Make it a habit to look in the back seat EVERY time you exit the car.
  • ALWAYS lock the car and put the keys out of reach.

If you are a bystander and see a child in a hot vehicle:

  • Make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
  • If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the PA system.
  • If there is someone with you, one person should actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car.
  • If the child is not responsive or appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child—even if that means breaking a window—many states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency.

Know the warning signs of heatstroke, which include red, hot, and moist or dry skin; no sweating; a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse; nausea; confusion; or acting strangely. If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, quickly spray the child with cool water or with a garden hose— NEVER put a child in an ice bath. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s, and heatstroke can occur in outside temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes. Please Look Before You Lock!

Submitted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

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