Journalist Feels the Heat

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After a statement released by ER24 warning the public about serious medical risks when leaving their children in cars while parents go shopping, eNews Channel television journalist Serusha Govender decided to take it a step further.

Serusha explained to ER24 that we need to park a car in the sun and monitor the rise in temperatures inside the vehicle compared to outside. The results went beyond what all of us expected and it was clear that a child or an adult exposed to the extreme heat could suffer a serious medical condition.

Shortly after 10:00 on January 11th ER24 parked two vehicles in the parking lot of a shopping centre in Rosebank. With one vehicle being a control vehicle, the temperatures were monitored inside and outside. Initial readings indicated that outside temperature was 29 degrees Celsius and inside of the vehicle was a cool 19.4 degrees Celsius.

A test vehicle was left for 30 minutes and readings indicated that the outside temperature was 29.2 degrees Celsius and inside the vehicle quickly reached 36.1 degrees Celsius. After just one hour temperatures soared to a staggering 43.2 degrees Celsius.

During a brief discussion Serusha decided to climb into the vehicle and feel the heat. At 12:00 the temperature was 31.3 degrees Celsius outside and 57.3 degrees Celsius inside. After 15 minutes ER24 paramedics advised Serusha to climb out of the vehicle as temperatures continued to rise inside. Serusha, a young and healthy adult, explained to paramedics that she started to feel a bit dizzy and her hands started to shake, not to mention the severe sweating.

At 13:20 temperatures reached over 63 degrees Celsius in the vehicle.

The experiment proved just how dangerous it could be if you leave your child or pet in a vehicle while you go shopping.

Children will suffer more than adults. The reason for this is that their body surface is different to those of adults and their auto-regulation is not as effective as a healthy adult. Usually the effects will show much later in children but it will progress faster and be more severe.

Excessive exposure to heat may result in children suffering seizures or brain damage. If this condition is not corrected immediately the child can go into heat stroke or heat exhaustion and may result in death.

A motor vehicle is a metal box that can act as an oven when parked in direct sunlight or high temperatures. Extreme temperature can change a child’s life in a matter of minutes.

ER24 Paramedics advise on the following:

  • Under no circumstances should you leave your child (or pet) in a vehicle, even if a window is left open and you know you will only be away for a few minutes.
  • Always make sure that your children have left the car with you when you arrive at your destination to avoid accidently locking them inside of the vehicle.
  • If you notice a child in a vehicle, immediately try to locate the parents or owner of the vehicle and contact the Police (10111) or Emergency Medical Services (084124). Taking immediate action could save the life of the child.
  • Children that were successfully removed from a vehicle after being left unattended in the heat should undergo a medical examination in order to determine if they have any signs or symptoms of heat exhaustion or stroke.

Notes:

  1. This release was approved by eNews Channel prior to its release.
  2. In the photos:
    1. eNews Channel Journalist, Serusha Govender
    2.  High Resolution Photos will be made available on ER24’s online gallery at www.flickr.com/ER24EMS

The release will also be available online at www.er24.co.za

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