With summer right around the corner, now is a great time for caregivers to brush up on best practices to keep children safe from the potential dangers associated with rising temperatures.
Among them – overheating.
Due to their smaller body size, children are more susceptible to heat related illnesses, and can suffer fatal side effects within minutes of exposure.
Most of us know that hot cars pose the biggest safety risk, and that leaving children or animals unattended for even one minute is not only dangerous, but also illegal.
In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hot vehicles are the primary non-crash, vehicle-related killer of children under 14.
But, while most people know the dangers associated with hot cars, few people know that making a common mistake can cause strollers to be equally lethal.
Certainly you’ve never made the mistake, right?
Chances are, you have.
Imagine, you’re outside on a hot summer day and you notice your baby’s cheeks begin to flush, so you use a blanket to shield him from the sun as any good parent would do. And, there it is… the common mistake that can cause serious issues for your little one.
Well, even if it’s with a very thin cloth — the blanket can have a furnace-like effect, according to Swedish researchers.
In fact, doing this can cause the temperature inside a stroller to skyrocket to dangerous levels.
“It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos,” pediatrician Svante Norgren told the Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet. “There is also bad circulation of the air and it is hard to see the baby with a cover over the pram.”
The newspaper conducted its own experiment to determine how much temps rose when strollers were enclosed with a blanket — and the results were shocking.
They found that without a cover, the temperature inside the stroller was 71.6 degrees.
When a thin cover was applied, the temp climbed to a squelching 93.2 degrees in just 30 minutes, and up to 98.6 degrees after one hour.
Yikes! Had you allowed your little guy to stay in those temps for even a short time you could put him in serious danger.
Lesson learned! If the sun is too much, take him inside. Don’t risk it.
Signs of heatstroke can include hot, red, dry skin; rapid pulse; restlessness; lethargy; rapid, shallow breathing; vomiting and unconsciousness.
Heatstroke Prevention in Infants
- Dress your baby in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
- Try to keep your baby in the shade when outside — and check to make sure that he’s staying cool during car rides.
- Give him more fluids than usual on hot days.
- If the temperature is especially hot, keep your baby inside if you can.
- If your home is very hot and you don’t have air conditioning, seek comfort at a public library, the mall, or a community shelter provided especially for relief from the heat.
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