- Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down.
- Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
- Always lock car doors and trunks — even at home — and keep keys out of children’s reach.
- Always make sure all child passengers have left the car when you reach your destination. Don’t overlook sleeping infants.
- When securing your child in a safety restraint system in a car that has been parked in the heat, check to make sure seating surfaces and equipment (child safety seat and safety belt buckles) aren’t too hot.
- Use a light covering to shade the seat of your parked car. Consider using shades on windows.
**Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Weather Service, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Citizen Information Center, Washington State SAFE KIDS Coalition
Further, the Red Cross advises in addition to never leaving children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles, to:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Eat small meals and eat more often.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- Postpone outdoor games and activities.
- Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
- Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
- Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion.
- Move the person to a cooler environment with circulating air. Remove or loosen as much clothing as possible and apply cool, wet clothes or towels to the skin. Fanning or spraying the person with water also can help. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of a cool fluid such as a commercial sports drink or fruit juice to restore fluids and electrolytes. Milk or water may also be given. Give about 4 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes.
- If the person’s condition does not improve or if he or she refuses water, has a change in consciousness, or vomits, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.