Officials urge parents to keep kids safe in the sun - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Officials urge parents to keep kids safe in the sun

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BORDEN, Ind. (WDRB) -- Officials with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources say there are dangers that parents face when they look for ways to keep kids cool in the heat.

Temperatures are pushing the triple digits, but officials say the heat can be dangerous even when mixed with water. While parents are on the go or stopping to relax while school is out, officials say the sun does not take a vacation.

"Whenever people are off trying to enjoy the time off, you have to remember that we can take time off for us, we can never take time off as a parent," said Conservation Officer Jim Hash.

Experts say children are susceptible to heat dangers everywhere.  The Exploited Children's Help Organization, ECHO, provided one demonstration in their own parking lot. They placed a baby doll in a car as the temperature rose to 130 degrees within 7 minutes.

"You should never leave your dog in a hot car, you should never leave your child in a hot car," said Kelsie Smithson of ECHO.

Smithson said leaving your child in the car while you run errands can turn into a deadly situation.

"It takes about two minutes to become lethal in car for children," said Smithson.

Smithson said demonstrations like this one proved that paying attention to youngsters is key.  Smithson said nationally there are around 30 to 50 hypothermia deaths from children being in hot vehicles.  Experts say accidents happen everywhere, even after you run errands and take time to cool off.  To beat the heat many try to get relief in the water, whether it be a pool or lake, but officials say to always have something handy when you get close to the water.

"We always recommend to wear a life jacket," said Hash.

"And that's not just when they're out on a boat or watercraft because it's very easy for kids to be playing around a boat ramp or around the edge of the lake fishing and slip into the water."

Hash said the life jackets might not be a great thing for your sun tan, but they can save a person's life.  He said drowning can happen to anyone at any age.

"It only takes a matter of seconds and it only takes a small amount of water," said Hash.

After children have recently drowned in Kentucky and Indiana, officials say now is the time to designate someone as a "personal lifeguard" for children.

" We always recommend when you have kids on a boat you should always have someone tending to them," Hash said.

"That way an incident like the ones we've had recently won't occur."

Hash said when adults gather together at pools or lakes, they should always make sure that children are being watched.  He said there is a reason why public pools have several lifeguards on duty – because it takes that many people to make sure everyone is safe.  Hash recommended also requiring children and adults to wear life jackets while they are out fishing because a person could die if they fall and hit their head.  He said there should always be a life jacket for every person on the boat.  Hash also recommended having a floatation device to throw out to someone who might wind up overboard.

Officials from the YMCA sent us a list of indoor swimming tips as well:

"All children need supervision regardless of their previous experience in the water.

Learn to swim, including the basic strokes, breathing, treading and general water skills – go beyond just getting from point A to point B.

Recognize that fatigue can sneak up on you in the water.  Take breaks.  And alcohol can magnify the effects of heat and fatigue.

If using floatation devices, use Coast Guard Approved devices.  Arm floats, tubes, and noodles are not reliable as safety devices.  And still make sure children are supervised.

Be familiar with surroundings – obstacles, depths, drop-offs, etc."

Health experts recommend drinking lots of water to stay hydrated and wearing lightweight, light colored clothing.

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