Most of us already know how dangerous Georgia’s summer heat can be. We know to limit our time outside on hot days, drink plenty of water, and seek cool shelter if we start feeling disoriented. But do you have a plan for the heat safety of your children and pets?
Heatstroke occurs when the body becomes overwhelmed by heat and major organs stop functioning. It can occur within minutes. Children and pets are especially susceptible to heatstroke if they’re left in a hot car or allowed to play outside for too long without a break. Last year, 52 children died from overheating in a locked car; since 1998, 856 kids have succumbed to heatstroke inside a hot car. Here’s some advice on preventing heatstroke this summer:
Know their limits. Children’s bodies heat up faster and do not regulate heat as well as adults. Make kids take frequent breaks from outdoor games inside an air-conditioned building or in a cool body of water. Similarly, your dog might love playing fetch, but unlike humans, they often won’t stop playing once their body is hot and exhausted. Make them take a break and rest in a shaded, cool place for at least 20 minutes before resuming activity.
Have a heatstroke contingency plan. Listen to weather forecasts and heed warnings to stay indoors when the heat index is expected to be high. Plan your day so that children aren’t spending lots of time outdoors during the hottest part (typically 12:00-4:00 PM). Know where you can go for heat relief if you have a power outage at home. Malls, movie theaters, libraries, and places of worship are good contingency places. Become trained in First Aid so you will know how to deal with heat-related emergencies. The American Red Cross offers additional tips for preparing to face extreme heat here.
Always check your vehicle for children and babies before leaving it parked outside. On a warm day, the interior of a car can reach deadly temperatures within just 10 minutes. Heatstroke fatalities have occurred in vehicles parked in the shade and with the windows rolled down. Always check your vehicle for children, babies, or pets before locking it and leaving. Place an essential item like a wallet or phone in the backseat where children are strapped in so you’ll notice them before exiting your car. Taking off one of your child’s shoes and putting it on the dashboard is another variation on this memory cue. If you’re missing a child, check parked vehicles first, including the trunk — in 29% of hot car deaths, the child had climbed into the vehicle on their own.
Have plenty of water available. Have water or sports drinks ready to go during summer months so that kids can quickly cool off after being outside. Place multiple water bowls around your yard for your pets. If you leash your dog to a yard stake, make sure the water bowls are within your dog’s reach. Invest in reusable water bottles for kids and an inexpensive portable water dish for pets, and bring them with you in the car and while outside your neighborhood.
Know the signs of overheating. Common signs of heatstroke include body temperatures above 104°; red skin; rapid or weak pulse; short, shallow breathing; vomiting; seizure; confusion; and unconsciousness. Pets, especially dogs, can suffer from heatstroke if their temperature exceeds 103°.
Excessive panting, vomiting, and diarrhea are all signs of a dog that’s too hot. Your dog’s gums can turn bright blue or red, or they can become pale and dry. They might become dizzy, convulse, or collapse.
If you see any of these symptoms, go to the nearest emergency room or veterinarian’s office immediately.
Have additional questions? Contact the personal injury attorneys at Burrow & Associates
Summer in Georgia is full of fun activities: swimming, hiking, bicycling, ziplining, and more. But Georgia’s heat is also prevalent and requires caution to avoid heatstroke. Know the signs of overheating and how to prevent it, and enjoy the summer safely. If you have additional questions or if you need help with your personal injury case, please contact Burrow & Associates at (678) 323-2394 or via our website.