Remain attentive and aware of risks to small children in summer heat
We're all saddened and sickened any time the news announces the death of an infant or toddler who was left inside a vehicle on a scorching hot day.
Of course these incidents are accidental. No one wold intentionally leave a small child unable to fend for themselves in a hot car alone. When air temperature hit 104 degrees, it temperatues inside a vehicle can climb quickly to 124 degrees! But it happens all too often. There have been at least three reports in Indiana in July alone: a four-month old girl, a 6-month old boy and an 11-month old girl.
Hot cars are only one of several dangers to be aware of with infants and toddlers. MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health recently offered tips on protecting babies from heat and sun.
- To prevent sunburn, dress baby in lightweight (not sheer) pants and long-sleeved shirts;
- Top baby off with a brimmed hat that shades the ears and neck;
- Steer clear of sun products with DEET;
- Keep baby hydrated (if in the sun, keep liquids in a cooler);
- If baby gets sunburned, apply cold compresses to the area(s);
- Don’t leave baby in the car!
Our Northeast Indiana community has a number of infant safety resources.
- Immunizations (see CDC schedule) offered by County Health Departments. Indiana recently developed a program titled MyVaxIndiana, which allows Hoosiers to access immunization records from any computer. You do need to contact your County Health Department for a PIN number to access the records. I’m signing up for that! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched unsuccessfully for vaccination records for myself or my children. Has that happened to you? Let me guess: when registering your kids for school?
- Safe Slumber offered by Parkview. This program starts with newborns in the hospital slumbering while sporting “sleep sacks” instead of being covered with loose blankets. Additionally, Parkview teams with FirstCandle to distribute cribs to community members who need a safe bed for baby.
- Infant car seat safety inspections by the Parkview Pediatric Trauma Center.
- Healthier Moms and Babies is an outreach project to improve pregnancy outcome and reduce infant mortality in Allen County. The outreach includes visit(s) from a nurse or social worker to provide education on nutrition, mother’s health and baby’s development; and information on community resources.