Safety tips as temperatures soar
With temperatures rising, parents and caregivers need to be mindful, beat the heat and check the back seat. A child's body heats up 3 to 5 times faster than an adult's body.
Transport Canada offers some excellent safety tips to prevent Paediatric vehicular heatstroke. They say:
Always look inside the vehicle before you lock and leave your car
Put something like a smartphone or purse on the backseat so you will turn around and see what is in the back of the vehicle
Place your child's diaper bag or baby item on the front passenger seat to remind you that the child is with you
When your routine changes and someone else takes your child, call to check that the child has arrived as planned
Keep car keys out of children's reach. This will keep them from accessing vehicles, including the trunk, and getting accidentally locked inside
Teach safe habits
Teach older children how to buckle and unbuckle themselves and how to lock and unlock a vehicle so they do not get trapped inside
Inform your child's caregivers about the risks of paediatric vehicular heatstroke and inform them of safety tips to help mitigate these tragedies
What to do if the child is sleeping when you arrive
When you arrive at your destination and your child is sleeping, don't leave them alone in the vehicle. Even if they're sound asleep, move your child to a safe space outside the vehicle.
What to do if you see a child alone in a vehicle
If you see a child alone inside a vehicle, call 911 or get someone to call. The 911 dispatcher will tell you what to do.
Call 911 and follow the instructions from the dispatcher
If the dispatcher advises to remove the child from the vehicle follow their instructions
When you remove the child from the vehicle, and they demonstrate symptoms of heatstroke, you can help bring their body temperature down by:
moving the child to a cool, shaded place
apply cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing
fan the child as much as possible
You can also ask bystanders to search for the driver in nearby stores or buildings
Vehicle safety features can help
Car makers have started offering safety features to help tackle paediatric vehicular heatstroke. These systems are known as rear occupant alert systems and occupant monitoring systems. Some technologies remind drivers to check for passengers in the vehicle while others alert the driver if a passenger is detected in the backseat.
Although these technologies can help reduce the risks of paediatric heatstroke, they do not replace the responsibilities of the driver. It is important to know the capabilities and limitations of these technologies. Learn more about rear occupant alert systems and occupant monitoring systems.
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