Beat the Heat...Check the Back Seat!
"Beat the Heat, Check the Backseat!"
One of the biggest weather related risks during the summer months is the possibility of a child dying in a vehicle from heat stroke. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes, and 50 degrees in an hour. In the Arklamiss region, where temperatures are in the 90s almost every day in the summer, this means that temperatures will reach well over 100 degrees inside a vehicle in a very short period of time, and will approach 150 degrees within an hour. This can cause hyperthermia (heat stroke) in literally a matter of minutes, particularly in children, whose body temperatures warm at a rate 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s.
In the last 12 years, 475 children have died nationwide from heat stroke suffered while in a vehicle. Half of these were children that were forgotten by a parent or other caregiver, and nearly 20 percent died when parents knowingly left their child in a vehicle. The rest died when they were playing in an unattended vehicle. Of these 475 fatalities, 8 occurred in Mississippi, 13 in Louisiana, and 11 in Arkansas. This year alone, 29 children have already died nationwide from heat stroke while in a vehicle.
All of these tragic deaths are preventable. To help bring awareness to this issue, the NWS is using the slogan “Beat the Heat, Check the Backseat” to remind people to be sure they remember small children who may be in a car seat, and to never leave children unattended in a vehicle, even for a few moments.
Some basic safety recommendations:
- NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE. NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE!
- IF YOU SEE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A HOT VEHICLE CALL 9-1-1.
- Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.
- Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. If a child is missing, check the car first, including the trunk. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area. IF A CHILD IS MISSING, ALWAYS CHECK THE CAR FIRST!
- Keep a stuffed animal in the carseat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.
- Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
- Make "look before you leave" a routine whenever you get out of the car.
- Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.
Remember that pets should also never be left in a vehicle during the summer months.
If you have any questions about “Beat the Heat, Check the Backseat,” please contact Alan Gerard at the NWS in Jackson at 601-936-2189.
Much of the information on this page is based on research by Jan Null, Certified Consulting Meteorologist. You can find his research and information at: http://ggweather.com/heat/index.htm
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