Parents cautioned not to leave children in vehicles

Parents who leave children in searing-hot vehicles during the hot summer months are placing their children at risk.

"Vehicles can become extremely hot, even with the windows slightly down," Kingman police Cpl.

Tracie McKnight said.

"It doesn't take long for a child to suffer from heat stroke."

Dr.

Kenneth D.

Jackson, a family practice physician at Cerbat Medical Center in Kingman, said extreme heat can affect infants and small children more than adults.

"When temperatures get up to 105 the body tries to do its best to sweat - that's how the body gets rid of heat.

The capillaries in the skin dilate," Jackson said.

"But losing water when sweating causes the heart to pump harder - leading a child's capillaries to dilate and causing the child to lose fluids through sweating."

Jackson said this leads to heat exhaustion and stroke.

Symptoms include seizures, vomiting and mental instability.

"In hot weather heat stroke can lead to permanent disability or death in a very short time," Jackson said.

Each summer more than 30 children die from heat stroke in vehicles parked in the heat, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.

The National Weather Service predicts a summer that will be warmer and dryer than usual.

For Kingman that means temperatures into the 100s.

The SAFE KIDS Campaign warns parents to be vigilant about their children's safety during days when temperatures are 80 degrees or higher by offering the additional precautions:

o Keep cars locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway.

o Teach children not to play in or around cars.

o If a child is locked inside a car, get him out and dial 911 immediately.

o Always make sure all children passengers have left the car after trips.