Guest Post: Hot Weather, Children and Cars.

Welcome to day 8 of 9 of guest posts here on my blog. I didn’t want to leave my blog a barren wasteland whilst I take some time out so a group of lovely bloggers offered to write a post and share some thoughts, recipes, ideas and crafts with you.  

Guest posting today is Therese from A Rear Facing Family with a really relevant post for this time of the year.

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Hi guys. πŸ™‚

Summer this year has had a really good start! πŸ™‚ I hope the nice temperature and sunshine is here to stay for quite some time yet! It can be hard entertaining the kids if we’re cooped up in  the house all day because of bad weather.  hehe.

The warm weather is lovely, but sadly we’ve also had some tragic things happen and close calls, with people leaving kids in the car in the hot weather, which you should under no circumstance do. Last year I wrote a really detailed post about this. I don’t want to go into much detail about the children it’s happened to so far this year (that has been in the news) but I do want to once again underline the importance of not letting your kids alone in the car on a hot day (though they should never be alone any day no matter what the weather is like).

A fact that I think we may forget, or some might not even know about is how hot it gets in the car and how quickly this happens. For a while now (because of good media coverage) Facebook has had a few videos circulating where a person has sat himself or herself in the car for 1h with the doors shut and no window open, to experience how it feels like. I think this was an important message and I’m glad so many people did this to try and raise awareness of this issue. I take my hat off to those people! I think that you might have been saving someone’s life. 

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So how hot does it actually get?

A child’s body heats up about 3-5 times as fast as an adults and heatstroke begins when our core body temperature reaches 40 degrees. This is what causes our thermoregulatory system ti get overwhelmed and once our core temperature reaches 41.6 it’s lethal.

It only takes 10 min for the inside of the car to already have risen 20 degrees, and even with the car parked in the shade or with temperatures as low as 14 degrees heatstroke can occur.

How do I know someone is suffering from heat stroke?

The warning signs vary, but may include:

  • Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
  • No sweating
  • A strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse
  • A throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Being grouchy or acting strangely


How to treat heatstroke?

The NHS website tells us to do this:

Always call an ambulance in cases of suspected heatstroke. While you are waiting for the ambulance to arrive, you should:

  • move the person to a cool area as quickly as possible
  • increase ventilation by opening windows or using a fan
  • give them water to drink (if they are conscious), but do not give them medication, such as aspirin or paracetamol
  • shower their skin with cool, but not cold, water (15-18Β°C); alternatively, cover their body with cool, damp towels or sheets or immerse them in cool water (not cold)
  • wait for medical supervision to arrive before fully immersing the person in water because the body’s response could cause them harm
  • gently massage their skin to encourage circulation
  • if they have a seizure (fit), move nearby objects out of the way to prevent injury (do not use force or put anything in their mouth)
  • if they are unconscious and vomiting, move them into the recovery position by turning them on their side and ensuring their airways are clear

// Useful links:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – www.safercar.gov/heatstroke
Safe Kids – www.safekids.org
NHS – http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heat-exhaustion-and-heatstroke/Pages/Prevention.aspx
Parents Central – http://www.safercar.gov/parents/heatstroke.htm

Moving on from how to prevent, lets talk about how to keep our kids cool while driving and also what we can do  to keep the car seats cool in the car. πŸ™‚

Tips for keeping it nice and cool while driving

Now that it’s so hot, apart from putting the A/C on (which isn’t very cost friendly…grr) you can just as easy have your windows open a tad. Most people already do this, but did you know that instead of using window shades, which I have more then once damaged or even broken because it sticks to the window and when I have lowered the window it’s…..sort of gone down with the window…. OOOPS! I would recommend something called Window Socks ? πŸ˜€

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They are absolutely fantastic! And because they are rolled down over the actual door, it doesn’t hinder movement of the window. It also works as a bug net which is also very handy! πŸ™‚

Other important things is to obviously keep the kids and yourselves hydrated. So always have water at hand. Water is best, but there are several different yummy fruits that help as well, such as:

  • watermelon
  • grape fruit
  • grapes

to name just a few. Something to think about when doing a pit stop? πŸ™‚

You can also damp up a towel and put on, you can damp areas of a t-shirt, use a spray bottle and or use one of those small fans. All these depend on the child’s age though, I wouldn’t risk putting a damp towel on a baby for example, and because both a spray bottle and a fan is a hard object which can be lethal in an impact, I’m not too comfortable letting kids use it at will while the car is moving and I would therefore not recommend it. πŸ™‚

By using soft water bottles like this and this, we eliminate the dangers of hard objects flying in the car, so this is something I find extremely valuable.

A damp towel is just as good as a ‘Frog Toggs chilly pad’ if money is tight, but I want to sqeeze that one in there as it’s “ hyper-evaporative material that retains water while remaining dry to the touch”. πŸ™‚

Sun canopy for the car seat is offered by most of the brands so have a look at that if this is an option you want to use.

What can I do to keep the car seat cool?

Opening up the car door after the car has been parked a while often blasts you with heat. The car’s been baking in the sun, and inside the car seat and it’s metal buckles has as well… OUCH.

To keep the car seat more cool when parked, you can simply just lay a large towel over it. White works best for this. πŸ™‚
There is also the options of:

  • Summer covers for the car seats
  • Ice packs (not to be used while child is in seat!)

And if your good with a sowing machine you can make your own car seat cooler! Really cool.

I hope you found this useful, and if you have any more tips please let me know in a comment below! 

You will find Therese on her blog, on Facebook, on Twitter and on Google +

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Hannah
    April 23, 2015 / 10:42 pm

    Great article, some thought provoking ideas and points. You can also purchase the second soft water bottle from Sports Direct stores too.

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