Heat Safety Awareness Day

May 25th is Heat Safety Awareness Day, sponsored by the NOAA’s National Weather Service.  What should you know about heat safety?

Children, Adults and Pets Enclosed in Parked Vehicles are at Great Risk

Each year, dozens of children left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day. Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults.  Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate. The effects can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.

How fast can a car heat up?

In just over 2 minutes a car can go from a safe temperature to 94.3°F. A dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in range of 180°F to over 200°F. These objects heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and also give off longwave radiation, which is very efficient at warming the air trapped inside a vehicle.

Child Safety Tips

  • Make sure your child’s safety seat and safety belt buckles aren’t too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down.
  • Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks–even at home–and keep keys out of children’s reach.
  • Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Don’t leave sleeping infants in the car ever!

Adult Heat Wave Safety Tips

  • Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the Thermometer reads 110 degreescoolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
  • Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
  • Put less fuel on your inner fires.Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids.Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limit caffeinated beverages.
  • During excessive heat periods, spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.
  • Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body’s ability to dissipate heat.
  • Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.

More information: Links to high quality information on heat safety

In the news: Recent stories about Health & Heat

1 Comment

Filed under Health Observances

One response to “Heat Safety Awareness Day

  1. Please, please never leave your child (or your pet) in the car unattended. Hyperthermia can happen quickly even when the outside temperature is moderate. The temperature inside my car at 5 p.m. earlier this week was 120, even though the outside temp was a comfortable 78.

    Most vehicle-related hyperthermia deaths occur when a child is unintentionally left in a car. If you have a change in routine – for instance, Mom takes the child to day care in the morning when it’s usually Dad’s job – put something you need for work (purse, cell phone, even a shoe) in the back seat so that you won’t forget about your child when you are on autopilot, as we all are in the morning.

    http://www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-guide/kids-in-and-around-cars/never-leave-your-child-alone.html

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