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NEWS | June 7, 2018

Heat Stress Safety

By 628 ABW Safety Office 628 ABW Safety Office

With summer knocking at the door and high temperatures already visiting Joint Base Charleston, it is imperative to recognize the potential life-threatening factors associated with heat exhaustion, especially in relation to small children and family pets. The greatest risk for heat stroke/exhaustion for small children and pets results from being left unattended in a hot vehicle. On average, 37 children die in hot cars every year in the United States. Peak occurrences happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day.


A National Safety Council study shows that heatstroke deaths in children can be correlated with the statistics below:


*         87% of children who die are three years old or younger

*         54% are forgotten in a vehicle

*         27% are playing in an unattended vehicle

*         18% are intentionally left in a vehicle by an adult


It is crucial that unattended vehicles be locked at all times to prevent the unwanted entry by children who could fall victim to heat related illness/injury. With current temperatures climbing in the 90’s during the afternoon, it only takes 30 minutes for the temperature to jump to 119° in an unprotected vehicle. Educating yourself and your family members about the dangers associated with high temperatures in vehicles could potentially save a life.


Always remember to check your backseat when exiting your vehicle to ensure that children not secured by a car seat have safely exited as well. Younger children that cannot exit a vehicle on their own due to child safety seats will need assistance. Also make sure that all family pets have been removed from the vehicle upon exiting. It can be easy to become complacent when getting out of your vehicle due to various factors, including the high temperatures. This is why it is vital to ensure that all family members unable to exit the vehicle by themselves are not left unattended in an environment of extreme heat.


The attached chart indicates some different outside temperatures and the timeframe in which it can drastically climb. Always remember, if you see a child alone in a car, break the window and call 911 for assistance.