The danger inside hot cars
Fri, 28 Jun 2013 01:15:01 GMT —
Hot temperatures are sweeping across mid-Missouri to start the summer, but it's important to keep safety in mind when hitting the road in the extreme heat.
According to the Huffington Post, this year is on track to tie the deadliest year for hot car-related deaths.
John Kerr, a nurse practitioner at St. Mary's in Jefferson City, speculates one possible reason why.
"Parents these days are so busy with keeping up with activities, with other children, with infants, with the new communication age everybody is very busy. Sometimes the attention isn't there. The ability to focus isn't there," Kerr said.
It was that type of hustle and bustle that cost a one-year-old child in Fresno, California his life.
"The family had just returned from a shopping trip, with multiple kids in the vehicle. Somewhere, in between the exchange, of getting the groceries out and the kids, everyone thought that someone had gotten the baby out," Fresno Police Lieutenant Mike Doyle said of the June 7 death.
It only takes minutes for a car to become deadly, and in that case the baby had been in the car for over an hour.
Kerr described what makes infants so susceptible to heat exhaustion.
"Infants, in particular, don't have ways to cool their bodies like adults do. Even though adults maintain the ability to sweat, infants with a smaller body surface area can't cool their body as well as adults can. So they're very vulnerable when the windows are rolled up and the heat is rising rapidly," he said.
Kerr said an infants body will go through stages of heat exhaustion including a decrease in tear production, development of warm, clammy skin and seizures.
He also added that it's never a good idea to keep a child in the car, no matter what the temperature.
Pets are also at risk for heat exhaustion in cars. Dogs are not able to sweat like humans can, so they are vulnerable to overheating.
It's safer to leave animals at home while running errands rather than risking their health or lives by leaving them in the car.