Editorial: Extreme temps can be dangerous for children, so take precautions

Jun. 25, 2013 @ 11:11 PM

It sure has gotten hot out there. No question summer is here, And even though temperatures are not quite as bad here as they can get elsewhere in the South, they still are forces to be reckoned with.

Extreme heat poses many health risks, especially for children. The Tennessee Department of Human Services reminds parents as well as child care providers across the state that are licensed to transport children of the facts and preventative measures to keep children safe when transporting them during summer months.

On an 80-degree day the temperature inside a locked vehicle increases 19 degrees in just 10 minutes; 29 degrees in 20; and 43 degrees in just one hour, DHS says. For any human being subjected to such extreme temperatures, especially a child, the experience could prove fatal.

A child’s body temperature increases 3 to 5 times faster than that of an adult, and children exposed to extreme temperatures can suffer heatstroke, brain damage and death. National statistics show that more than half of all reported exposure deaths involved children under the age of two.

“We know child care providers share our concern for the safety of children in their care during the summer months,” said DHS Commissioner Raquel Hatter. “We want to encourage heightened awareness in order to ensure the safety of children and their enjoyment during the summer months. The loss of even one life is unacceptable.”

Failing to follow proper procedure can result in the loss of life for a child. DHS licensing staff will be making extra visits to monitor child care agencies during the summer months, Hatter said. Those not adhering to safety requirements will face a range of penalties, from being put on notice, probation, paying civil penalties, to the suspension, or even denial or revocation, of their license.

Anyone witnessing a transportation violation or other child-care violation is urged to call the Child Care Complaint Hotline at 1-800-462-8261, a number that must be posted on all licensed child care buses. More information is available at http://tn.gov/humanserv/adfam/cc_main.html.

Children depend upon responsible adults to care for them. Don't let the kids down this summer.