As we move into September, we look forward to autumn and a respite from the summer heat. Sadly, it has been another deadly summer, with children and pets dying or being seriously injured when left in hot vehicles. One hospital took advantage of social media to educate people on the dangers of being left in a car on a hot, summer day.
After treating many children each summer for heat-related illnesses, Hamilton Health Sciences in Ontario, Canada decided the best way to educate people about the dangers of hot cars was to show them in real time what happens to a person locked in a vehicle on a hot day. Elise Copps, a communicator at Hamilton and a former TV health reporter, came up with the idea of using Facebook Live for a demonstration.
Dr. Anthony Crocco, chief of pediatric emergency medicine at McMaster Children’s Hospital, agreed to sit inside a car with the windows closed to demonstrate the effects of extreme heat. Copps put out word of the demonstration to news media, and local and national news outlets were on hand to televise the event to their audiences. The livecast was also promoted with a $40 ad buy on Facebook that targeted people within a 40-mile radius of the city.
Even though the sky was overcast on the day of the demonstration and the outside temperature was only 77 degrees Fahrenheit, it was not long before the temperature inside the closed car rose to 104 degrees. By the end of the broadcast, the temperature inside the car exceeded 140 degrees.
Once Dr. Crocco exited the car, he was checked out by paramedics and talked with reporters. He also answered questions from the Facebook audience. The doctor used normal people’s language, not medical jargon, to answer questions and describe his experience.