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Staying Safe During the Summer Heat

Summer is here and so is the hot weather. While we enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, here are some tips to keep you and your family safe in the hot weather.

Preventing Heat-Related Illness

Anyone can suffer from heat related illness. Severe heat conditions pose the greatest risk to our most vulnerable populations including: infants and young children, children and youth with special healthcare needs, pregnant women, and the elderly.

Heat related illness and why people (including children and youth) with chronic medical conditions are more vulnerable to the heat:  English | Spanish

Pregnant?  Pregnant women are more likely to get heat exhaustion or heat stroke because their body must work harder to cool down both their body and their unborn baby. Pregnant women are also more likely to become dehydrated. For pregnant women, exposure to excess heat could lead to preterm birth, low birth weight of newborns, and stillbirths. It is especially important for pregnant women to follow the tips below to prevent heat exhaustion.  See also Safe Pregnancies in Extreme Heat for more information; you can use the Select Language option at the top of the toolbar to translate the page..

For detailed suggestions on how to stay safe in the heat, see CDC’s Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness English | Spanish.

  • Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Stay cool indoors as much as possible. If you don’t have air-conditioning at home, try a shopping mall, library or cooling shelter.
  • Limit outdoor activities to cooler times of time (e.g, morning or evening), cut down on exercising in the heat, and rest in the shade.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Be aware of warning signs and symptoms of heat related illness: English | Spanish
  • Do not leave infants, children or pets in cars, not even if the windows are cracked open!

Preventing Child Deaths from Hot Cars

Even if it feels cool outside, cars can heat up quickly. In just ten minutes the temperature inside the car can rise by 20 degrees. Cracking a window does little to keep the car cool. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult. In 2022, 33 children lost their lives due to heatstroke from being in a hot car, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). In both 2018 and 2019 a record number of 53 child died as a result of being left in a hot vehicle [1].

Take action – if you see a child alone in a car and are concerned –call 911.

Hot Weather, Open Windows: Protecting Children from Window Falls

Every year in the U.S. thousands of children are sent to emergency departments for unintentional window falls. Although falls from windows can occur year-round, they are most common in the summer months when people open windows to cool off. Window falls can be quite serious, resulting in bone fractures, severe head, chest or abdominal injuries, and occasionally even death.

Tips to Prevent Window Falls:

  • Prevent young children from opening windows on their own by installing a window lock, available at a hardware store or online. Make sure it is a removable lock, that can be taken off quickly in case of emergency.
  • Limit window openings to four inches or less by adding a window guard or stop, available at a hardware store or online.
  • Do not rely on window screens — they are designed to keep bugs out, not kids in.
  • Keep furniture and toys away from windows.
  • Discourage children from jumping on beds or furniture.
  • Supervise children around open windows.
  • Close and lock windows when not in use.
  • Teach children about the dangers of window falls.

If your child falls out of the window, call 911 and avoid moving your child. 

They may have a neck or spine injury that is not obvious [3].

For more information:  Window Safety Products, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): Preventing Window Falls

References:

  1. National Safety Council. (n.d.) Motor Vehicle Safety Issues – Hot Car Deaths. Retrieved June 27, 2023 from Hot Car Deaths – Data Details – Injury Facts (nsc.org)
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2020, August 3). Healthy Children.Org. Prevent Child Deaths in Hot Cars – HealthyChildren.org
  3. CHOC. (n.d.) Window Safety. Retrieved June 27, 2023 from Protect your child from window falls – CHOC
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