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Health & Wellness

Look Before You Lock

By Lafayette General Health
June 23, 2020

As summer approaches, temperatures rise. And that can put children and pets at higher risk of suffering from heatstroke. Here are a few tips to help prevent and recognize a heatstroke and keep them safe.

According to 853 children have died of pediatric vehicular heatstroke since 1998. Of those deaths, 54% were caused by children being forgotten by their caregiver, and 46% were aged three or younger. As summertime comes and temperatures rise, heatstrokes become more and more common and, especially for children, can lead to severe injury and even death.

Inside of a car, where temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes of inactivity, the risk of heatstroke occurring rises drastically. If you find a child who has been left in a car, you should:

  • If the child is responsive, please stay with the child until help arrives. Have someone else search for the driver.
  • If the child is unresponsive or is in distress, immediately call 911, get the child out of the car and spray the child with cool water.

In Louisiana, it's actually illegal to leave a child in a car for even a minute, and is punishable by up to six months of imprisonment—as well as a hefty fine. In an effort to help everyone keep their kids safe, the National Safety Council created this handy reference sheet for creating a safe "Look Before You Lock" routine.

Learn to Recognize These Heatstroke Symptoms:

  • Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
  • Heavy sweating
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure upon standing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If You Think You're Experiencing Heat Exhaustion:

  • Stop all activity and rest
  • Move to a cooler place
  • Drink cool water or sports drinks

Contact your doctor if your signs or symptoms worsen or if they don't improve within one hour. If you are with someone showing signs of heat exhaustion, seek immediate medical attention if he or she becomes confused/agitated, loses consciousness or is unable to drink. You will need immediate cooling and urgent medical attention if your core body temperature (measured by a rectal thermometer) reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher.