MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Floridians are no stranger to heat, and with the month of August a day away, we are undoubtedly entering one of the hottest months of the year.
Such extreme heat has its dangers. Heatstroke is certainly one and another is the death of children being left inside hot vehicles which, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, happens every 10 days.
On Thursday, which is National Heatstroke Prevention Day, national and local authorities aimed to raise awareness and educate about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars.
In Miami, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department simulated a vehicular heatstroke scenario demonstration. Fire fighter’s used a life-sized pediatric simulator showing what happens when a child is left in the car. As part of the demonstration, a distracted mom left her toddler behind in the car with temperatures soaring past one hundred. Fire rescue crews demonstrated how they would break into the car to try to save the child. Many times, it’s too late. “At a certain point, 107 to 108 degrees for any length of time, you actually start to cook the cells,” explained Dr. Jerry Brook from Broward Health North. “The body shuts down,” he continued, “literally you’ll probably start to damage cells irreversibly.”
In Broward, the Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue is teaming up with Broward Health for a similar demonstration for National Heatstroke Prevention Day. Also, a new app called SafeKids Alert will be debuted. The app allows users to set a Hot Car Alert that notifies them if the car has been stationary for more than 10 minutes and they haven’t pressed the alarm off button–indicating they have taken their children with them. The app is available for android phones as of today. It will be out on I Tunes soon.
The call-to-action for National Heatstroke Prevention Day is a national event as well. To spread the word, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Safe Kids Worldwide and the Administration for Children and families are using social media to share important safety tips.
Some of the safety tips include:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn’t show up for care as expected;
- Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a phone, purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat;
- Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach;
- Community members who see a child alone in a vehicle should immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.