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Heat Safety: Protecting our children and pets

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 2:58 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - This week is bringing us a hot stretch of weather, with highs in the 90s and heat indices in the triple digits. Though we all should take precautions to beat the heat (stay hydrated, take frequent breaks, avoid being outdoors the hottest part of the day), we need to pay special attention to our children and our pets in this weather.

CAR SAFETY

It is unfortunate we have to mention this, but make sure you always check the backseat! Your car in this heat is not safe, even for a few minutes. When the outside air temperature hits the mid-90s, the inside of your car can heat to 114° in just 10 minutes! After an hour, your car’s inside temperature rises to 138°.

Always check the backseat!
Always check the backseat!(WOWT)

In addition to “looking before you lock”, you should also keep your car doors locked when it’s parked at home. According to the NHTSA, 26% of vehicular heatstroke deaths are due to children getting into unattended vehicles.

PET SAFETY

During the summer months, we recommend walking your dogs early and late in the day. Not only is the air temperature more comfortable, but the temperature of the ground is much safer for your pet as well.

The general rule: If you can’t keep your hand or foot on the asphalt for 5 to 7 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.

When asphalt reaches 140°, paw burns can occur after just one minute!
When asphalt reaches 140°, paw burns can occur after just one minute!(WOWT)

At an air temperature of 95°, asphalt can heat to 140° with concrete reaching 125°! At those temperatures your dog’s paws could burn in as little as a minute on asphalt and within 5 minutes on concrete. Choose grassy, shaded areas if you must take your dog out during the heat of the day. Booties can also be worn to further protect your pet’s paws.

PLAYGROUND SAFETY

While kids are out of school for the summer, you may want to take them to the playground so they can get some exercise and burn off energy. Playground surfaces and equipment can become very hot and cause serious burns, so it is important you practice some safety tips.

Similar to checking the pavement before walking your dog, you should always check the temperature of the playground equipment before letting your child play. A young child’s skin is much more delicate than our own, and is more susceptible to burning.

Always check the temperature of playground equipment
Always check the temperature of playground equipment(WOWT)

Metal slides are well-known culprits of playground burns. However, even as uncoated metals slides have been replaced with plastic, burns continue to occur. Slides and swings can heat up quickly, as well as dark-colored rubber surfacing on a playground. Make sure your child wears shoes to prevent foot burns on the hot playground surfaces or surrounding asphalt and concrete.

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