KIDS and Oklahoma's heat

Wednesday, July 18th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

You've heard the phrase: "Children are resilient." But there is one thing kids are not strong enough to handle, extreme heat.

From 1996 to 2000, more than 120 children died from heat stroke after being trapped in an automobile. As KOTV's Tami Marler explains, heat-related deaths can be prevented. Ethan Gonders: "Well sometimes I uh, go swimming." Ethan likes to spend hot days in a swimming pool, but sometimes chores get in the way - and the Gonders have to pile into a hot car. Ethan says it's not too long of a wait for the air conditioner to kick in. "Well not when we crank it up to four. All the way up to four? Yeah." And his mom, Kristin Gonders, would never dream of leaving the kids in the car - even if her errands only take a few minutes. "It's way too hot, and even if you're going into the store for five minutes, it's just too risky to leave them in the car. It's too hot."

Mary Beth Ogle with the Safe Kids Coalition: "I'm just running in for a few minutes, and then they get taking a little bit longer than a few minutes." "A few minutes can make the difference between life and death." It's one of the most common mistakes the folks at Safe Kids Coalition see. Another? Giving kids easy access to automobiles. Little ones love to play in cars and hide in trunks. Too often, a child's body can't stand the heat...and it only takes a couple of minutes. Ogle, "They're just very susceptible to heat exhaustion, heat stroke. Their little organs just don't get a good blood supply if their body overheats. And they go into shock and die very rapidly."

In temperatures over 80 degrees, no errand is quick enough to take a chance with your child's life