NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Middle Tennessee will gets its first taste of warm summer weather this week as temperatures are expected to reach the low 90s.

In order to protect members of the Music City community from experiencing health issues amid the summer heat, the Nashville Fire Department and the Nashville Office of Emergency Management shared a variety of tips for kids and seniors, as well as pets.

Infants and Children:

Never leave an infant or child alone in your car when the weather warms up, even if the car is running, the windows are open, and you’re only stepping away for a minute.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said children left unattended in parked cars are at the highest risk of heat stroke, and potentially death.

According to officials, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes, even with the windows cracked.

Even if you wouldn’t intentionally leave a kid alone in a hot car, it can happen accidentally, especially if the child fell asleep.

In order to prevent this from happening, officials recommend putting something in the backseat to remind you of the child’s presence, like a briefcase, purse, cellphone, or shoe.

You can also create a calendar reminder on your phone or some other electronic device to make sure you dropped the kid off at daycare, camp, a relative’s house, etc. Then, have a plan in place so you are alerted if your child is late or a no-show.

In addition, you should keep your car locked when you’re not using it so kids can’t get inside.

If you see any child left unattended in a vehicle, you are urged to call 911.

Other heat-related recommendations for infants and young children include dressing them in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

You should also make sure they’re drinking plenty of fluids, but avoid really cold drinks or drinks with too much sugar.

Older Adults:

The CDC said people ages 65 and older are more prone to heat-related health issues for the following reasons:

  • Older adults do not adjust to sudden temperature changes as well as younger people.
  • Older adults are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes how the body normally responds to heat.
  • Older adults are more likely to take prescription medications that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.

Health officials encourage seniors to stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible, and warn against relying on a fan as your primary cooling mechanism when it’s extremely hot outside.

If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, the CDC recommends contacting your local health department or finding an air-conditioned shelter in your area, like a community center, library, or another public building. Also keep in mind that Metro Nashville’s Action Commission has programs to help with energy assistance.

In order to keep cool, older adults should wear loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing.

If you get too warm, take a cool shower or bath.

Furthermore, seniors are advised not to use the stove or oven to cook because it will make you and your home hotter.

Besides staying cool, officials also emphasize the importance of staying hydrated by drinking more water than usual and not waiting until you’re thirsty to drink. If your doctor gives you a limit on the amount of fluids you can drink or has you on water pills, ask them how much you should drink amid hot weather.

In addition, you are encouraged to get plenty of rest and avoid engaging in very strenuous activities.

You should also check on your friend or neighbor, but make sure you have someone to do the same for you.

No matter your age, Nashville emergency officials emphasize the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

(Source: Nashville Fire Department/Nashville Office of Emergency Management)


As for pets, emergency officials recommend paying close attention to them during the hot and humid months ahead.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) shared the following information about taking care of pets over the summer:

  • Give pets plenty of fresh and clean water because they can can get dehydrated quickly when it’s hot or humid outdoors.
  • Make sure your pets have a shady place to escape the sun, avoid over-exercising them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
  • Learn to recognize the symptoms of overheating in pets:
    • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
    • Increased heart and respiratory rate
    • Drooling
    • Mild weakness
    • Stupor or even collapse
    • Seizures
    • Bloody diarrhea and vomit
    • Elevated body temperature of more than 104 degrees
  • Keep in mind that animals with flat faces — such as Pugs and Persian cats — are more susceptible to heat stroke because they are unable to pant as effectively. These pets, along with elderly pets, the overweight pets, and pets with heart or lung diseases, should be kept in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible so they can stay cool.
  • Never leave animals unattended in a parked vehicle. 
  • Don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt when the temperature is really high. Not only can it burn their sensitive paw pads, but since your pooch is so close to the ground, their body can also heat up quickly. You should also keep walks to a minimum during extremely hot weather.

For more information about preventing heat-related health issues, check out the websites for the CDC or the American Red Cross.

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