FORT WORTH, Texas — When it comes to vehicular heat stroke, every second counts.
That’s why police and paramedics joined forces Tuesday at Medstar headquarters to explain what to do if a child is trapped in a hot car and how quickly heat stroke can turn deadly.
“It absolutely can happen in a course of minutes,” said Dr. Veer Vithalani, the medical director of Medstar.
Fort Worth police say if you come across a child in a hot car take action.
- The most important thing is to get emergency response to the location
- Stay on the line.
Approach the car
- Try opening all of the doors.
- If they are all looked and the child is unresponsive or in distress you may need to force your way into the car.
Break the window
- Find a sharp object, like a strong knife or window punch.
- Pick a door window that is furthest away from the child to prevent injuries from breaking glass.
- Hold the sharp object against the glass and hit it with a blunt object or your hand if necessary.
- Once broken, unlock the door and reach the child.
Once you remove the child from the car, Medstar says take the following steps.
Cool the child immediately
- Take the child into an air-conditioned space if there is one nearby.
- Begin passive cooling with fans or air conditioners.
- Active cooling can be done with ice packs in the armpits, back of the neck or groin.
- If the child is unresponsive or not breathing, send someone to receive an Automated External Defibrillator and begin CPR.
- Lay the child on a hard flat surface, being careful not to place them directly on the hot pavement.
- Take your middle two fingers of one hand and place it in the center of the child’s chest, between the nipples.
- Press downward, aiming for about 1/3 of the way of the depth of the child’s chest.
- Perform 30 compressions at a rate of about 2 compressions per second.
- After 30 compressions place your mouth over the child’s mouth and nose and give two breaths, just strong enough to see their chest rise and fall.
- Alternate compressions and rescue breathing until paramedics arrive.