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National Heatstroke Prevention Day Wednesday July 31st

Flickr User: Scarygami

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has designated July 31st as National Heatstroke Prevention Day.Since 1998 alone, more than 550 children across the United States have died from heatstroke while unattended in vehicles. During 2012 a total of 32 children died of heatstroke in vehicles in the U.S., including 5 in the state of Texas.

Children are at risk, because once a vehicle is parked in the sunlight temperatures can sky rocket on the inside. Solar radiation passes through the windows heating the interior. Heat convection contributes to the rise in temperature. Long wave radiation is generated from heated objects and is trapped inside the vehicle heating the air.

Children are especially as risk because their small bodies absorb heat more quickly and perspiration does not cool infants and children as well as adults. Also, children can’t change their environment, can’t remove clothing or in many cases can’t get out of the vehicle.

Authorities say leaving the windows down does not prevent the child from overheating. Ten minutes ias all the time it takes for a car to reach deadly temperatures in the the heat of summer. The temperature inside the vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Young children are particularly at risk as their body heats up three to five times faster than adults.

This can be extremely dangerous. When a child’s internal temperature gets to 104 degrees major organs begin to shut down and when the child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees the child can die.

The Texas Department of Transportation urges you to never leave your child alone in a car not even for a minute. Make sure your car is locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in there on their own.

Create a reminder by putting something in the back of your vehicle next to your child, such as a briefcase,a purse or a cell phone that will reminder you that the child is back there when you start to get out of the vehicle.

Lastly, take action. If you see a child alone in a car call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a child’s life. Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere.

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