Public Safety Education
- Child Safety Seat Installation Program
- Candle Safety Tips
- Child Passenger Safety
- Family Emergency Safety Guide
- Extreme Heat
- Babies & Toddlers
- Home Fire Safety Checklist
Child Safety Seat Installation Program
Did you know that according to national averages, approximately 4 out of every 5 child safety seats are installed incorrectly? These installation errors are grave enough to contribute or cause injury or death to your child in the event of an otherwise survivable crash. If used correctly, child safety seats are 71% effective in reducing deaths for infants in passenger cars and are 54% effective in reducing deaths for children ages 1 to 4.
Mehlville Fire Protection District's Child Safety Seat program allows Fire District residents to make an appointment to have their child safety seat checked. Our trained installers will check your child safety seat to ensure that it meets current standards and regulations. Installers will also give instructions on how to correctly install and use child safety seats for children of all ages.
To schedule an inspection, please call the District office at 314-894-0420 for an appointment.
Candle Safety Tips
Candles may be pretty to look at but they are a cause of home fires -- and home fire deaths. Remember, a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn.
- Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
- Think about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles.
If you do burn candles, make sure that you...
- Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won't tip over easily.
- Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
- Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
- Don't burn a candle all the way down -- put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
- Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
- Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.
Religious candle safety
Lit candles are used in religious services, in places of worship, and in the home. Whether you are using one candle, or more than one on a candelabra, kinara, or menorah, make sure you take a few moments to learn about using candles safely.
- Candles should be placed in a sturdy candle holder.
- Handheld candles should not be passed from one person to another at any time.
- When lighting candles at a candle lighting service, have the person with the unlit candle dip their candle into the flame of the lit candle.
- Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire.
- Candles placed on, or near tables, altars, or shrines, must be watched by an adult.
- Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- If a candle must burn continuously, be sure it is enclosed in a glass container and placed in a sink, on a metal tray, or in a deep basin filled with water.
Reproduced from the National Fire Protection Association website, www.nfpa.org.
Child Passenger Safety: Fact Sheet
Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States.1 But many of these deaths can be prevented. Placing children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.2
How big is the problem?
- In the United States during 2009, 1,314 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and approximately 179,000 were injured.2
- One CDC study found that, in one year, more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat or booster seat or a seat belt at least some of the time.3
What are the risk factors?
- More than two-thirds of fatally injured children were killed while riding with a drinking driver.4
- Restraint use among young children often depends upon the driver's seat belt use. Almost 40% of children riding with unbelted drivers were themselves unrestrained.5
- Child restraint systems are often used incorrectly. One study found that 72% of nearly 3,500 observed car and booster seats were misused in a way that could be expected to increase a child's risk of injury during a crash.6
How can injuries to children in motor vehicles be prevented?
- Child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants, and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years.2
- There is strong evidence that child safety seat laws, safety seat distribution and education programs, community-wide education and enforcement campaigns, and incentive-plus-education programs are effective in increasing child safety seat use.7
- According to researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, for children 4 to 7 years, booster seats reduce injury risk by 59% compared to seat belts alone.8
- Child passengers should never be seated in front of an airbag. Airbags can injure or kill children in a crash that might otherwise have been survivable.
Guidelines for Parents and Caregivers
Parents and caregivers can:
Use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short. This sets a good example.
Make sure children are properly buckled up in a seat belt, booster seat, or car seat, whichever is appropriate for their age, height and weight.
Know the stages:
- Birth through Age 2 - Rear-facing child safety seat. For the best possible protection, infants and children should be kept in a rear-facing child safety seat, in the back seat buckled with the seat's harness, until they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular seat. The weight and height limits on rear-facing child safety seats can accommodate most children through age 2, check the seat's owner's manual for details.
- Between Ages 2-4/Until 40 lbs - Forward-facing child safety seat. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (the weight and height limits on rear-facing car seats can accommodate most children through age 2) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat buckled with the seat's harness, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of their particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds; many newer seats have higher weight limits-check the seat's owner's manual for details).
- Between Ages 4-8 OR Until 4'9" Tall - Booster seat. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (by reaching the upper height and weight limits of their seat), they should ride in belt positioning booster seats. Remember to keep children in the back seat for the best possible protection.
- After Age 8 AND/OR 4'9" Tall - Seat belts. Children should use booster seats until adult seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (not the neck). When adult seat belts fit children properly they can use the adult seat belts without booster seats. For the best possible protection keep children in the back seat and use lap-and-shoulder belts.
All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an air bag.
Place children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.8
- CDC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System [online]. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (producer). [2010 August 2].
- Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Traffic Safety Facts 2008: Children. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2009. [cited 2010 August 2].
- Greenspan AI, Dellinger AM, Chen J. Restraint use and seating position among children less than 13 years of age: Is it still a problem? Journal of Safety Research 2010. 41: 183-185.
- Shults RA. Child passenger deaths involving drinking drivers-United States, 1997-2002 [published erratum appears in MMWR 2004;53(5):109]. MMWR 2004;53(4):77-9.
- Cody BE, Mickalide AD, Paul HP, Colella JM. Child passengers at risk in America: a national study of restraint use. Washington (DC): National SAFE KIDS Campaign; 2002.
- Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Traffic Safety Facts Research Note 2005: Misuse of Child Restraints: Results of a Workshop to Review Field Data Results . Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2006. [cited 2010 August 2]
- Zaza, S, Sleet DA, Thompson RS, Sosin DM, Bolen JC, Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to increase the use of child safety seats. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2001: 21 (4S), 31-47.
- Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. Child passenger safety. Pediatrics. 2011;127(4):788-93.
Reproduced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov.
Family Emergency Safety Guide
Emergencies happen. It can be a tornado, house fire, flood, or terrorist attack. No one wants to think about accidents or disasters. But being prepared for an emergency can help protect your family. The whole point of emergency preparation is to do as much as possible before an emergency happens. That's why we created this booklet. It is a way to educate Missouri residents about being prepared for emergencies and encourage you to lead that process. We want you to share this information with family, friends, and neighbors. Working together, we can be prepared and save lives.
The most important thing to remember in an emergency is to stay calm. If something happens, try to get as much information about the situation as possible. Many of us rely on TV, the radio, or the Internet for news. But some emergencies might knock out the electricity, that is why it is important to have a battery-powered radio nearby.
READY IN 3: THREE STEPS TO PREPARE FOR AN EMERGENCY
Local, state, and federal agencies have plans to protect the public. But you are responsible for your own safety, even in an emergency. This booklet focuses on preparing you and your family. At home, school, work, and even in our cars, we need to know what to do in an emergency and where to go. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency have partnered to provide Ready in 3, a program developed to make preparation for an emergency or disaster easier for everyone.
Ready in 3 includes three steps.
- Create a plan for you, your family, and your business.
- Prepare a kit for home, car, and work.
- Listen for information about what to do and where to go during an actual emergency.
READY IN 3: CREATE A PLAN
Develop an emergency plan for you and your family. Your family might not be together when an emergency happens. That's why it is important to have a plan in place. The entire family should know and understand the plan.
Talk about how you will reach each other in different situations. You might think about a couple of different plans. Planning for a tornado can be different than planning for a terrorist attack that involves poisonous chemicals.
Consider contacting the same friend or family member by phone or e-mail. Think about making an out-of-town family member or friend the contact. It might be easier to make a long-distance phone call instead of a local call during an emergency. It could be easier for an out-of-town person to connect separated family members.
Plan for two situations: staying home or leaving.
You should be prepared to stay in one place (like your house) or to evacuate. Deciding whether it is best to stay or go depends on the type of emergency. Officials may tell you what you need to do. In some cases, limited communication and information may require you to decide what is best for you and your family.
- Watch TV or listen to the radio to get as much information as possible.
- Use common sense.
- Try to stay calm and keep your family calm.
Prepare a shelter at home.
Before an emergency, decide which room in your house will be safest if you have to stay. The room should be in the interior of the house. Pick a room with few windows and doors. There are a few things to keep in mind including:
- There should be enough space in the room for all family members and pets.
- Exterior doors to the house should be locked.
In an emergency where poisons are in the air, you may have to seal the room as best you can. This involves:
- Closing windows, air vents, and fireplace dampers.
- Turning off air conditioning, forced air heating systems, exhaust fans, and clothes dryers.
- If instructed, seal doors and air vents with heavy-duty plastic sheeting and heavy- duty tape.
- Keep emergency supplies in this room.
- Listen to the television or a battery-powered radio for information.
Know where to go if you have to leave.
Sometimes it may not be safe to stay in your home. Plan where family members can meet. Know where you will go and how you will get there.
- Plan several different routes in different directions.
- If you are driving, keep windows and vents closed, and air conditioning and heat off.
- Bring an emergency supply kit with you.
- If you can, bring your pets. However, many public shelters won't allow pets. Have a plan for your pet's care in case you can't bring your pet with you.
READY IN 3: PREPARE A KIT
If an emergency happens, you might not be able to get food or water for days or weeks, and your electricity may not be working.
Try to have three days' worth of food and fresh water for each person in your plan. You should have one gallon of water for each person for each day. If you have the room, you should store two weeks' worth of drinking water for each person.
But food and water aren't the only things you need to have on hand. The following items should be a part of your emergency kit. The kit should be kept in a container that can be easily carried in case you have to leave home. You could use a large bag, plastic container, or a trash can with a lid. You can find a more detailed emergency kit checklist at the end of this brochure.
- Water and canned or dried food
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries for the radio and flashlight
- Prescription medicine
- First-aid kit
Keep a small, portable emergency supply kit in your car at all times. In addition, you should include a small, personal supply kit with:
- A gallon of water
- Several cans of food and a manual can opener
- A sleeping bag or extra blanket u Extra money
- First-aid supplies
READY IN 3: LISTEN FOR INFORMATION
It is important to stay calm in an emergency. Get as much information about the situation as possible. Many of us rely on TV, the radio, or the Internet for news. But some emergencies might knock out the electricity. Make sure to have a battery-powered radio with extra batteries.
City, county, and state officials have developed emergency plans. During an emergency,it is important to follow their instructions and advice. They will provide you with the latest information.
SPECIAL SITUATION PLANNING
Emergency planning if you have a child in school
Many schools have their own emergency plans. Officials at your child's school should have current contact information for you and another family member. Make sure they have up-to-date work, home, and cell phone numbers. Give your e-mail address, if you have one.
It's important to ask your child's teacher or principal how they will contact parents in case of an emergency. You should also know what steps will be taken to protect the children. Some questions you might consider asking include:
- How will you reach me if there's an emergency?
- Do you regularly practice fire, earthquake, tornado, and terrorism drills?
- Is there enough water and food stored at the school for all the children?
- What first-aid supplies are at the school?
- Are the teachers and administrators prepared to "shelter in place"?
- Do you have a plan to separate those students who may have been exposed to chemicals, bacteria, or viruses from others?
- Where will the students be taken if they must evacuate the school?
Emergency planning at work:
Your employer may have a building-evacuation plan. Some companies practice regular emergency-evacuation drills. There should be a meeting place outside your building where everyone can gather.
But don't rely on your employer for everything. Keep your own supply of fresh water and canned food at your desk or in your locker. A flashlight and battery-powered radio may also be helpful. Everyone should consider keeping a change of clothes at work. A pair of strong, practical shoes or boots should be included.
Emergency preparation for pets:
Make sure your pets have identification tags and up-to-date vaccinations (shots). If you must leave home, bring your pet with you, if possible. You can plan ahead by creating a supply kit for your pet that includes extra food, water, and medicine. A carrier and leash will also be important. For cats, remember to include extra litter.
Emergency planning for people with functional needs:
Senior citizens and disabled persons living in special-care facilities should review the building's emergency plans. Know where your medicines and special medical equipment are located in case you need to have someone get it during an evacuation. Equipment such as wheelchairs, canes, or walkers should be labeled with your name.
People living at home who are disabled or have special medical needs should identify people who can help during an emergency. Make sure these people know where you keep your emergency supplies. Give someone a key to your house or apartment.
Medical-alert tags or bracelets will help identify your disability if you need medical attention. If you need dialysis or another life- sustaining treatment, know the location of more than one facility. A supply kit for people with functional needs should include the following additional items:
- A list of prescription and nonprescription medicines, including dosages
- A list of allergies
- Extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries, if necessary
- Extra wheelchair batteries or other special equipment, if necessary
- A list of the brand/style and serial numbers of medical devices
- Copies of medical insurance and Medicare cards
- A list of doctors
- A list of emergency contacts and family
- Phone numbers of close neighbors who can help
PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK AND STAY ALERT
You've talked to your family and friends. Your plan is in place. Your emergency supply kit is stocked and ready. Be proud of the fact that you've taken the right steps to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible.
The final step is to remain alert. Review your plan regularly. Be sure to check your food, water, and medical supplies so that they stay fresh.
Remember emergencies can affect anyone. But by being Ready in 3, you've made the decision to take an active role in your safety and the safety of the ones you love.
EMERGENCY KIT CHECKLIST
One gallon of water for each person per day, for a minimum of three days. If you have the room, you should store two weeks' worth of drinking water for each person. Remember to change your stored water supply every six months.
Canned or dried food
Include canned or dried foods that will not spoil. Remember to pack a can opener that does not need electricity.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola u Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Canned juices
- Nonperishable, pasteurized milk
- "Comfort" foods like chocolate and candy
- Clean clothes and sturdy shoes for each person
- Rain gear
- Coats, hats, and gloves
- Sleeping bags or blankets
- An extra credit card and some money
- Extra set of keys for your car and house
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries for the radio and flashlight
- Eating supplies such as paper plates, plastic forks and spoons, and napkins
- Heavy-duty tape (duct tape, electrical tape)
- Heavy-duty trash bags or plastic sheets
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Paper and pencil
- Needles and thread
- Toilet paper, moistened towelettes
- Liquid detergent
- Plastic garbage bags with ties
- Household chlorine bleach
- Plastic bucket with tight lid
- Prepaid, long-distance calling card
- A whistle to signal for help
- Prescription medicine
- Baby supplies such as diapers, formula, bottles
- Feminine hygiene supplies u Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses including supplies
- Dental supplies
- Entertainment such as books, playing cards, and board games
- Important family documents stored in a waterproof container including identification, insurance information, bank account numbers, and birth certificates
- Pet supplies such as food, water, and identification
- Adhesive bandages in different sizes
- Safety pins
- Antibiotic ointment
- Latex gloves
- Several 2-inch and 4-inch sterile gauze pads u Several triangular bandages (3)
- 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls) u 3-inch sterile rollerbandages (3 rolls)
- Moistened towelettes
- Petroleum jelly
- Aspirin or nonaspirin pain medicine
- Anti-diarrhea medicine
- Road maps
- Tire repair kit and pump
- Jumper cables
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries for the flashlight and radio
- Fire extinguisher
- A gallon of water
- Several cans of food and a manual can opener
- A sleeping bag or extra blanket
- Extra money
- First-aid supplies
- Cat litter or sand for traction in case you get stranded
The data made available here has been modified for use from its original source, which is the State of Missouri. THE STATE OF MISSOURI MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTY AS TO THE COMPLETENESS, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, OR CONTENT OF ANY DATA MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS SITE. THE STATE OF MISSOURI EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. The data is subject to change as modifications and updates are complete. It is understood that the information contained in the Web feed is being used at one's own risk.
Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety
- Elderly people (65 years and older), infants and children and people with chronic medical conditions are more prone to heat stress.
- Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. During conditions of extreme heat, spend time in locations with air-conditioning such as shopping malls, public libraries, or public health sponsored heat-relief shelters in your area.
- Get informed. Listen to local news and weather channels or contact your local public health department during extreme heat conditions for health and safety updates
- Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages and increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level.
- Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat. Historically, from 1979-2003, excessive heat exposure caused 8,015 deaths in the United States. During this period, more people in this country died from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined. In 2001, 300 deaths were caused by excessive heat exposure.
- People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn't enough. In such cases, a person's body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs.
- Several factors affect the body's ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other conditions related to risk include age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use.
- Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people need to be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. The elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. However, even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.
- Summertime activity, whether on the playing field or the construction site, must be balanced with measures that aid the body's cooling mechanisms and prevent heat-related illness. This pamphlet tells how you can prevent, recognize, and cope with heat-related health problems.
What Is Extreme Heat?
- Conditions of extreme heat are defined as summertime temperatures that are substantially hotter and/or more humid than average for location at that time of year. Humid or muggy conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when a "dome" of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the ground. Extremely dry and hot conditions can provoke dust storms and low visibility. Droughts occur when a long period passes without substantial rainfall. A heat wave combined with a drought is a very dangerous situation.
During Hot Weather
- To protect your health when temperatures are extremely high, remember to keep cool and use common sense. The following tips are important:
Drink Plenty of Fluids
- During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.
- Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
- Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol, or large amounts of sugar--these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
Replace Salt and Minerals
Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen
Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Sunburn affects your body's ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels) 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully
If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas so that your body's thermostat will have a chance to recover.
If you are not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
Stay Cool Indoors
Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area. Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
Use a Buddy System
When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
Monitor Those at High Risk
Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.
- Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
- People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature.
- People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.
- People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.
- People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.
Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
Adjust to the Environment
Be aware that any sudden change in temperature, such as an early summer heat wave, will be stressful to your body. You will have a greater tolerance for heat if you limit your physical activity until you become accustomed to the heat. If you travel to a hotter climate, allow several days to become acclimated before attempting any vigorous exercise, and work up to it gradually.
Do Not Leave Children in Cars
Even in cool temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes. Anyone left inside is at risk for serious heat-related illnesses or even death. Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death. When traveling with children, remember to do the following:
- Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
- To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
- When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.
Use Common Sense
Remember to keep cool and use common sense:
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals--they add heat to your body.
- Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and minerals in your body. Do not take salt tablets unless under medical supervision.
- Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.
- Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches.
- Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.
- Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.
Hot Weather Health Emergencies
Even short periods of high temperatures can cause serious health problems. During hot weather health emergencies, keep informed by listening to local weather and news channels or contact local health departments for health and safety updates. Doing too much on a hot day, spending too much time in the sun or staying too long in an overheated place can cause heat-related illnesses. Know the symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.
Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. The body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106℃F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Recognizing Heat Stroke
Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:
- An extremely high body temperature (above 103℃F, orally)
- Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache
What to Do
If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Do the following:
- Get the victim to a shady area.
- Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
- Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102℃F.
- If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
- Do not give the victim fluids to drink.
- Get medical assistance as soon as possible.
Sometimes a victim's muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If this happens, keep the victim from injuring himself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his or her side.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. It is the body's response to an excessive loss of the water and salt contained in sweat. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment.
Recognizing Heat Exhaustion
Warning signs of heat exhaustion include the following:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
The skin may be cool and moist. The victim's pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. Seek medical attention immediately if any of the following occurs:
- Symptoms are severe
- The victim has heart problems or high blood pressure
Otherwise, help the victim to cool off, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than 1 hour.
What to Do
Cooling measures that may be effective include the following:
- Cool, nonalcoholic beverages
- Cool shower, bath, or sponge bath
- An air-conditioned environment
- Lightweight clothing
Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body's salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles may be the cause of heat cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
Recognizing Heat Cramps
Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms--usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs--that may occur in association with strenuous activity. If you have heart problems or are on a low-sodium diet, get medical attention for heat cramps.
What to Do
If medical attention is not necessary, take these steps:
- Stop all activity, and sit quietly in a cool place.
- Drink clear juice or a sports beverage.
- Do not return to strenuous activity for a few hours after the cramps subside, because further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Seek medical attention for heat cramps if they do not subside in 1 hour.
Sunburn should be avoided because it damages the skin. Although the discomfort is usually minor and healing often occurs in about a week, a more severe sunburn may require medical attention.
Symptoms of sunburn are well known: the skin becomes red, painful, and abnormally warm after sun exposure.
What to Do
Consult a doctor if the sunburn affects an infant younger than 1 year of age or if these symptoms are present:
- Fluid-filled blisters
- Severe pain
Also, remember these tips when treating sunburn:
- Avoid repeated sun exposure.
- Apply cold compresses or immerse the sunburned area in cool water.
- Apply moisturizing lotion to affected areas. Do not use salve, butter, or ointment.
- Do not break blisters.
Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can occur at any age but is most common in young children.
Recognizing Heat Rash
Heat rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.
What to Do
The best treatment for heat rash is to provide a cooler, less humid environment. Keep the affected area dry. Dusting powder may be used to increase comfort.
Treating heat rash is simple and usually does not require medical assistance. Other heat-related problems can be much more severe.
Fire Safety Campaign For Babies & Toddlers
The U.S. Fire Administration's A Fire Safety Campaign for Babies and Toddlers is a public awareness and education campaign designed to draw attention to the increased risk of fire death for young children, and to teach parents and caregivers how they can avoid the tragedy. A child under the age of five is twice as likely to die in a residential fire than the rest of the population. The campaign's slogan: "Prepare. Practice. Prevent the Unthinkable." urges parents and caregivers to prepare by installing and maintaining working smoke alarms; safely storing lighters and matches out of children's reach and sight; and practicing a fire escape plan with small children, which should include helping toddlers understand how to quickly respond in case of fire, and planning how adults can escape with babies.
Four national organizations have partnered with the U.S. Fire Administration and will give the multi-year campaign nationwide reach to parents and caregivers. The American Academy of Pediatrics, ZERO TO THREE, National SAFE KIDS Campaign, and NFPA (the National Fire Protection Association) will support the campaign by engaging their members and networks in disseminating the campaign materials.
The following 2 Articles are presented in PDF Format for easy downloading, viewing and printing:
Home Fire Safety Checklist
- There is one smoke alarm on every level of the home and inside and outside each sleeping area.
- Smoke alarms are tested and cleaned monthly.
- Smoke alarm batteries are changed as needed.
- Smoke alarms are less than 10 years old.
- Cooking area is free from items that can catch fire.
- Kitchen stove hood is clean and vented to the outside.
- Pots are not left unattended on the stove.
Electrical & Appliance Safety
- Electrical cords do not run under rugs.
- Electrical cords are not frayed or cracked.
- Circuit-protected, multi-prong adapters are used for additional outlets.
- Large and small appliances are plugged directly into wall outlets.
- Clothes dryer lint filter and venting system are clean.
- Candles are in sturdy fire-proof containers that won't be tipped over.
- All candles are extinguished before going to bed or leaving the room.
- Children and pets are never left unattended with candles.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
- Carbon monoxide alarms are located on each level of the home.
- Carbon monoxide alarms are less than 7 years old.
- Family members who smoke only buy fire-safe cigarettes and smoke outside.
- Matches and lighters are secured out of children's sight.
- Ashtrays are large, deep and kept away from items that can catch fire.
- Ashtrays are emptied into a container that will not burn.
- Chimney and furnace are cleaned and inspecdted yearly.
- Furniture and other items that can catch fire are at least 3 feet from fireplaces, wall heaters, baseboards, and space heaters.
- Fireplace and barbecue ashes are placed outdoors in a covered metal container at least 3 feet from anything that can catch fire.
- Extension cords are never used with space heaters.
- Heaters are approved by a national testing laboratory and have tip-over shut-off function.
Home Escape Plan
- Have two ways out of each room.
- Know to crawl low to the floor when escaping to avoid toxic smoke.
- Know that once you're out, stay out.
- Know where to meet after the escape.
- Meeting place should be near the front of your home, so firefighters know you are out.
- Practice your fire escape plan.
Reproduced from the U.S. Fire Administration website, https://www.usfa.fema.gov