– compiled courtesy of N.C. Dept. of Insurance and American Red Cross
As the weather heats up this summer, folks around here may head out to enjoy Kerr Lake or area swimming pools. It’s fun to cool off with water activities like swimming and boating, but it’s important to keep safety in mind.
According to information from the Red Cross, an average of 11 people die each day in the U.S. from unintentional drowning – and one in five of those are children 14 or younger.
The Red Cross Swim app, sponsored by The ZAC Foundation, has safety tips as well as kid-friendly videos and activities. There’s a free Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers online course in English or in Spanish to provide additional information about water safety and handling water emergencies.
Other tips include:
It’s important to keep in mind that safety hazards lurk on dry land, too. And N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and the Safe Kids North Carolina program are reminding people of the dangers of leaving children and pets in cars as summer temperatures climb.
Causey, who also serves as the Chair of Safe Kids NC, observed how quickly a vehicle can heat to dangerous – and sometimes deadly – temperatures.
“Summers are great in North Carolina, but the warmer temperatures also mean the very real danger of heatstroke,” Causey said in a written statement. “It only takes 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to rise to unsafe levels.”
Across the country each year, 35 to 40 children die because of heat exposure in cars. In fact, 53% of child heatstroke deaths occur because a caregiver has forgotten a child in the car. Since 1998, 32 children have died in North Carolina from a being left in a hot vehicle. July is the deadliest month for cases of vehicular hyperthermia in children, but the danger spreads from March through November in our area due to the subtropical North Carolina climate.
Pets are also susceptible to even mildly hot temperatures in vehicles, where an animal in a car on an 80-degree day can experience temperatures close to 100 degrees after 10 minutes and close to 115 degrees after 30 minutes.
Symptoms of overheating in pets can include:
“Even the best of parents and pet owners can make the deadly mistake of leaving their child or animal unattended, and that’s why we’re trying to educate people before a tragedy can occur,” Causey said. “These statistics demand the increased education of all parents and caregivers that it is never safe to leave a child or animal unattended in a vehicle.”
For more tips on how to avoid heat-related incidents, visit https://www.ncosfm.gov/community-risk-reduction/safe-kids/heatstroke-never-leave-your-child-alone.
Heat Safety Tips:
Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.
If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness and exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 911.
HEAT STROKE LIFE-THREATENING Heat stroke usually occurs by ignoring the signals of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 911 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.
The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand with more than 35 customizable severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid app puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid scenarios, including heat emergencies, at your fingertips. Download these apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps. Learn First Aid and CPR/AED skills (redcross.org/takeaclass) so you can help save a life.