Here’s why you should put a large stuffed animal in a child’s car seat | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

With summer just around the corner and warm days with us already, families look forward to spending quality time outdoors. The Montreal Children’s Hospital Trauma Centre issued an alert Wednesday in the form of a series of recommendations intended to keep one of those days from ending in a preventable life-altering tragedy.

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Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle — even with the windows partially open. Cars heat up quickly and an open window does little to affect the temperature. A study funded by General Motors of Canada found that on a 35 C day, the air temperature in a previously air-conditioned small car exceeds 50 C within 20 minutes and 65.5 C within 40 minutes.

The body temperature of a young child left in a hot vehicle can increase three to five times as quickly as that of an adult, according to the Canada Safety Council. High body temperatures can cause permanent injury and even death — and infants and children younger than four are among those at greatest risk. On average, 37 children die each year in the United States from heat stroke after being left alone in a car.

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  • Keep a large stuffed animal in your child’s car seat when the seat is unoccupied. When your child is in the seat, place the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat to serve as a visual reminder: When it is in the front seat, you know your child is in the back seat.
  • Make sure your childcare provider knows to call you if your child has not been dropped off at the usual time.
  • Always place an item such as a purse or bag in the back seat so that you have to open the back door every time you leave the vehicle.
  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, call the police.
  • If a child is in distress due to heat, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible and cool them rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

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  • Constant, undistracted and attentive surveillance of children around any body of water: no phones, screens, books, alcohol or chatting with neighbours. The supervising adult should be within arm’s reach of anyone with weak swimming skills.
  • Swimming lessons are encouraged and training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is recommended.
  • Never swim alone, regardless of age.
  • Know the swimming skill level of anyone in your pool.
  • Ensure there is no direct access to the pool from the house, patio or deck.
  • Install adequate fencing around the pool: a four-sided, self-locking fence at least 1.2 metres tall.
  • Close and lock the gate to the pool when it is not in use.
  • When there is direct access to a lake, keep doors locked at all times to prevent a child from wandering into the water.
  • Ensure that children taking a field trip to a pool, lake or water park are properly supervised.
  • Teach children to always swim with a buddy.

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About 15 children are brought to the emergency department of the Montreal Children’s each summer after falling from a window or balcony. Screens are useful for keeping insects out, but are not strong enough to keep children in — they can easily push through and fall out. Toddlers are curious and enjoy exploring their environment, but are not aware of the consequences of their actions.

  • Don’t place furniture such as a bed, chair or dresser in front of a window. It’s an invitation to climb up.
  • Use window guards that create a protective barrier or window stops that limit window opening. Windows should open no more than 10 cm (4 inches). You can find these devices at hardware stores.
  • Never leave a child alone on a balcony. Adult supervision is essential at all times.

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