Extreme temperatures cause many health risks for children such as sunburn, heatstroke, dehydration, brain damage and even death. The Tennessee Department of Human Services encourages state child care agencies to heighten preventative measures to keep children safe when transporting them during the summer months.
On an 80-degree day the temperature inside a locked vehicle increases 19 degrees in just 10 minutes; 29 degrees in 20; and 43 degrees in just one hour. For any human being subjected to such excessive extremes, the experience could prove fatal.
A child’s body temperature increases three to five times faster than that of an adult, and children exposed to extreme temperatures can suffer heatstroke, brain damage and death. National statistics show that more than half of all reported exposure deaths involved children under the age of two.
“We understand that child care providers know firsthand about the heightened risks during the summer months,” said DHS Commissioner Raquel Hatter. “We want to encourage additional measures to ensure the safety of the children transported each day and their enjoyment of the summer season. The loss of even one life is unacceptable.”
Staggering summer heat extremes are the norm in Tennessee, so the Department of Human Services is reminding child care providers across the state that are licensed to transport children of the facts and work to prevent fatalities. Failing to follow proper procedure can result in the loss of life for a child. The Department has stringent transportation requirements and strong penalties for failure to follow proper procedure.
DHS licensing staff will be making extra visits to monitor child care agencies during the summer months. Those not adhering to safety requirements will face a range of penalties, from being put on notice, probation, paying civil penalties, to the suspension, or even the denial or revocation, of their license. DHS licenses 2998 child care agencies statewide and more than 1892 offer transportation.
Anyone witnessing a transportation violation or other child-care violation is urged to call the Child Care Complaint Hotline at 800 462-8261, a number that must be posted on all licensed child care buses. More information at http://tn.gov/humanserv/adfam/cc_main.html