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Supervision guidelines for on-base children

Posted 7/7/2011   Updated 7/7/2011 Email story   Print story


by Family Advocacy Program

7/7/2011 - F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- The Family Advocacy Program has received an increased number of calls regarding unsupervised children on the local installation. Capt Janelle Weyer, Family Advocacy Officer, would like to remind parents that Air Force Global Strike Command and F. E. Warren Air Force Base have specific guidelines regarding child supervision. "Children six years of age and younger must be supervised at all times and must not be left in unattended vehicles especially during hot weather," said Capt. Weyer. "Children between the ages of seven and 11 years of age should not be left in vehicles for more than five minutes in hot weather. The keys should be removed and the parking brake must be applied," she added.

Though it may not seem hot outside to you, children left alone in a parked car on a hot day can quickly meet their death. During the summer months, the temperature inside a parked car can reach more than 120 degrees in as few as 10 minutes. Direct sunlight and a dark-colored car can speed the process. Heat exhaustion can occur at temperatures above 90 degrees, and heat stroke may occur when temperatures rise above 105 degrees.

When in a hot car, a child loses body fluids and salts through perspiration, causing heat exhaustion. If not treated immediately, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which prohibits the body from perspiring. The body temperature then rises, causing severe damage to the brain, liver, and kidneys, and even death.

Automobiles can become like ovens in a matter of minutes on a hot summer day.

It is not a good idea to leave a child under the age of 10 in a car alone, regardless of the temperature outside. Hazards include a stranger abducting the child and the child releasing the break or wandering away from the vehicle.

To keep children safe, follow these tips:

1. Children under the age of six must be supervised at all times.

2. A child must be at least 12 years of age to baby-sit other children and must complete a certified baby sitters training.

3. Check the temperature of child safety seats and seat belts before buckling children up. The metal can become hot enough to cause burns.

4. Call 911 or 773-3501 (Law Enforcement desk) immediately if you find a child left alone in a parked car or a child becomes locked in a car. The child's life may depend upon it.

5. Ensure children drink plenty of fluids.

As a community member, if young children are observed around base that may be unattended, engage them and ask them where their parent is. Sometimes the parent may be nearby but not necessarily visible. If the children truly are unattended, then call law enforcement and remain with the children until law enforcement arrives. For more information call the Family Advocacy Program at 773-4228.

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