Summertime can be a wonderful time for children, but one of the biggest child killers rears its ugly head during the hottest months of the year — hyperthermia.

According the U.S. Department of Transportation, hyperthermia causes about 27 fatal children’s injuries each year — making hyperthermia the number one non-crash-related cause of death to children in the U.S. 

Hyperthermia & children’s injury prevention tips from Ray LaHood.

Whereas hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops, hyperthermia (a.k.a. heat stroke) occurs when your body temperature is too high.  Hyperthermia often causes children’s injuries when they are left in cars during hot days.  Car temperatures can nearly double the outside temperature on hot, sunny days.

“On a day when the temperature outside is 86 degrees, the temperature inside a car can quickly reach 135 or even 150 degrees!  And research indicates that leaving the windows open a crack does little to reduce this oven effect,” according to the official blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood.  And if you think that you would never “be one of those parents” who left a child in a car, LaHood wants you to check out this Pulitzer Prize-winning article by The Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten.

“Look, the fact is these are accidents,” LaHood said in his blog.  “But they are deadly and they are entirely preventable.”

Here are eight safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that you can take to prevent a hyperthermia accident or children’s injuries in your car.

  1. Never leave a child unattended in a car.
  2. Don’t let your children play in an unattended car and teach them a car isn’t a play area.
  3. Never leave infants or children in a parked car, even if the windows are partially open, the engine running or the air condition turned on.
  4. Make a habit of looking in your car — front and back — before locking the door and walking away.
  5. If you’re driving your kids to daycare, have your spouse call to double-check that everything went well.
  6. Ask your daycare provider to call you if your child doesn’t show up.
  7. Always lock your doors and trunk and keep your car keys out of your children’s reach.
  8. If you see a child alone in a hot car, CALL THE POLICE.  If they are in distress due to the heat, get them out ASAP.

Warning signs of hyperthermia include: red, hot and moist or dry skin; no sweating; a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse; nausea; or strange actions.  The best way to treat hyperthermia is to cool the child rapidly and dial 911 immediately.  For more information, visit the NHTSA’s Keeping Kids Safe website.

If your child has suffered an injury because of the carelessness of someone else, you should contact our bilingual law firm to find out if you are eligible to recover a settlement.  Dial 1-858-551-2090 for a FREE Consultation with a personal injury lawyer 24 hours a day, seven days a week or click here to submit your case for a FREE Online Review.