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Always Check the Back Seat: Preventing Child Heatstroke in a Car - Odessa American: Medically Speaking

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Always Check the Back Seat: Preventing Child Heatstroke in a Car

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Posted: Monday, April 25, 2016 3:41 pm

Summer is quickly approaching which means kids are home from school and hanging out with mom or dad, grandma or babysitters. With our marvelous West Texas sunshine also comes blistering, scorching heat. What we all must remember is if it is incredibly hot outside, the inside of your car can be about 45 degrees hotter. A car’s interior during the spring and summer months in West Texas is literally one of the hottest places you will ever encounter.

Very recently a child expired due to a heatstroke from being left inside of a hot car. Donna Schoel, RN, Trauma Prevention Manager at Odessa Regional Medical Center needs for people to understand that “a child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s, and heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches around 104 degrees.” A death as tragic as leaving a child in a hot car is 100% preventable.

ORMC through the Trauma Program is bringing awareness to our community by educating the public how a few simple steps will prevent a heartbreaking death. Some of you are wondering how anyone could possibly forget they have a child in the car, but it does happen; especially if someone isn’t used to having a child in the car.

Donna Schoel, RN provides education for our community and has available handouts, awareness thermometers and literature on the dangers of hot vehicles. A few of the steps she suggests are:

• Place your purse or briefcase in the back seat.

• If someone else besides you is dropping off your child at daycare, have     them call or text when the child has been dropped off as planned.

• If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately. If they are in distress, get them out as quickly as possible and spray them with cool water to bring down their body temperature.

Also, rain or shine, if the temperature is high, do not leave your child in the car to run a quick errand. Your car’s temperature begins rising immediately which means your child’s body temperature begins rising immediately. There is no circumstance that is worth risking a child’s life.

Everyone involved in your child’s life needs to get involved in heatstroke prevention, including caregivers, nurseries, schools and family members. If you would like Donna to come to your church, school or organization to educate your staff and family, you can contact her directly at (432) 582-8855. For more information on preventing child heatstroke in cars, you can visit www.safercar.gov/heatstroke.

Never assume and always check twice when leaving your vehicle. Child heatstroke in your car is 100% preventable.

Odessa, TX

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