Children Left in Hot Cars
A story that never fails to shock and dismay is one of responsible, upstanding parents having one fateful lapse in memory: forgetting their child in the car, causing his or her untimely death.
On a hot day, a car acts as a solar oven, pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears explains. See what happens inside a car within minutes.
Lyn shares her heartbreaking story of accidentally leaving her 9-month-old son in the car, where he died of hyperthermia, or heat stroke. If you think this can’t happen to you, think again.
“It’s a parent’s worse nightmare,” Lyn says tearfully. “I still feel responsible every day, and that will never go away.”
“What I have learned the hard way is that it absolutely can happen to anyone,” she says. “My goal is to make sure no parent feels the same way I do every day.”
Emergency physician Dr. Travis Stork outlines what happens in a human brain when it performs everyday routines, and how easily distractions can cause this sort of mental lapse.
Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for swimmers in the United States. President of the American Lifeguard Association B.J. Fisher describes rip currents as natural waves that break at the shore line, but stronger waves in one area and weaker waves in another area cause a canal, or current, that pulls out to the ocean.
Most people are caught by surprise when they find themselves in a rip current. “Normally, panic or fear sets in, and people exhaust themselves trying to swim against the current,” B.J. says.
The canals, or currents, are usually only 6 feet to 100 feet wide, so the best thing to do is go with the flow of the current until its pull subsides, then swim to the side of the current and make your way back to shore.
“Face the shore, signal to the people along the shore,” B.J. instructs. “If you’re onshore, alert the lifeguard and call 911.”
“The current isn’t dangerous. It’s usually only about 5 mph,” B.J. adds. “It’s the panic that sets in and the struggling of swimming directly against the current. Go with the flow of the shore, take your time, conserve your energy, and swim back.”
Most people are unaware that jellyfish are in the water, so a jellyfish sting usually comes as a surprise.
“Don’t panic. It’s normally not a life-threatening situation,” B.J. instructs. “It’s more of a severe pain.”
He advises swimmers to make their way back to shore and try to get the tentacles off the skin with a gloved hand or tweezers. Jellyfish tentacles can emit more than one million stinging cells onto an unsuspecting swimmer’s skin, which twist burrow into the skin like pointed corkscrews. Rinse the affected area with salt water rather than fresh water, which can exacerbate the stinging cells.
A new product called JellyFish Squish, when applied immediately, stops the stinging cells from emptying their venom into the skin and helps to alleviate pain.
Pain from a jellyfish sting can last three to five hours, but if you’re having severe reactions such as difficulty breathing, call the doctor immediately.
Sisters CeCe, 7, and Edie, 6, are eager to take the training wheels off their bikes. They ask pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears for his advice.
Dr. Jim says that kids who have the coordination to throw and catch a ball, or hop on one foot, probably have the coordination to ride a bike without training wheels.
“There are two ways to do it,” he explains. “You can either raise up the training wheels, or lower the seat, take the pedals off for a little while, and let the kids push [the bikes] along and learn to balance that way.”
Make sure the child’s helmet fits correctly. The brow of the helmet should sit two adult finger-widths above the eyebrows, and the chin strap should be able to fit one adult finger. Make sure the bike is outfitted with reflectors and lights on both the bike and wheels.
Like it or not, barbecues and bacteria go hand in hand. Foods left out for just a few hours teem with bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella, which thrive in temperatures above 90 degrees. You can still enjoy your picnic and avoid food-borne illnesses. Just follow a few simple steps:
• Wash your hands before and after you handle food. (Use hand wipes if you don’t have access to a sink and faucet.)
• Seal meat in a plastic bag so the juices don’t leak onto other food in a container.
• Use a meat thermometer, inserted into the center of your meat, to make sure it’s cooked all the way through.
• Grill steaks at 145 degrees.
• Grill pork and ground, tenderized beef at 160 degrees.
• Grill poultry at 165-175 degrees.
*Barbequing meats can create heterocyclic amines, a carcinogenic compound. Minimize charring your food, and make sure to clean your barbeque frequently.