IMPERIAL COUNTY — The Imperial County Public Health department, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency warned residents about the dangers of heatstroke.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), heatstroke is the number one killer of children, outside of car crashes, said the release. Local agencies join efforts each year to attempt to reduce the deaths by reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of heatstroke and leaving children in hot cars.

“As outside temperatures rise, the risks of children dying from being left alone inside a hot vehicle also rises,” said Chris Herring, EMS manager. “What is most tragic is that the majority of these deaths could have been prevented.”

The Imperial County EMS Agency, law enforcement and local city officials ask parents and caregivers to do these three things:

  1. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended even if the engine is running and the air conditioner is turned on
  2. Make it a habit to look in the backseat EVERY time you exit the car
  3. Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach

The release said parents can also download the Baby Reminder App or the Child Safe App to use as a tool to check for their baby before walking away from their vehicle. According to the release, parents should know the warning signs of heatstroke, which include red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, nausea, and confusion or acting strangely.

The release said if a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, cool the child rapidly by spraying them with cool water or with a garden hose, never an ice bath. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Seven years ago, NHTSA launched a public education campaign, “Where’s Baby? Look Before you Lock,” in the hope simple tips from the campaign will save lives and help families avoid unnecessary heartache. Posters have been shared with local pediatricians and healthcare providers to promote the campaign, according to the release.

The release said children’s body temperatures can rise five times faster than that of an adult, and heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. According to the non-profit Kidsandcars.org, in 2019, 53 children lost their lives due to heatstroke from being left in hot vehicles. The average number of US child heatstroke fatalities per year since 1998 is 38, according to the release.    

To learn more about NHTSA’s “Where’s Baby? Look before you Lock” campaign, visit www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/heatstroke. Additional summer safety tips and fact sheets are available on the Imperial County Public Health department’s website:  http://www.icphd.com/health-information-and-resources/health-&-wellness/summer-safety/

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