Heat Safety for Kids

Exposure to extreme heat can cause illness and death. The most serious heat illness is heat stroke. Other heat illness, such as heat exhaustion, heat cramp and heat rash should be avoided. There are precautions that children can take at any time temperatures are too high:

  • Stay Hydrated: Encourage your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Offer water before, during, and after outdoor activities.
  • Dress for the Weather: Dress your child in lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing that allows their skin to breathe and helps reflect the sun’s rays.
  • Seek Shade: Teach your child to seek shaded areas, such as trees or umbrellas, to take breaks from direct sunlight. Avoid prolonged exposure during peak sun hours (usually between 10 am and 4 pm).
  • Wear Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to your child’s exposed skin, including their face, ears, neck, and arms. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if they are swimming or sweating.
  • Wear Protective Gear: Encourage your child to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect their face and eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
  • Stay Cool: Engage in activities that help your child stay cool, such as playing in a shaded or air-conditioned area, using misting fans, or taking cool showers or baths.
  • Limit Outdoor Activities: When the heat is intense, limit your child’s outdoor activities and encourage indoor play or activities in shaded areas instead.
  • Be Mindful of Physical Activity: Encourage your child to take frequent breaks and rest when participating in physical activities in the heat. Remind them to listen to their bodies and not overexert themselves.

It is important to know symptoms of heat exhaustion: 

  • headache, dizziness or fainting
  • weakness and wet skin
  • irritability or confusion
  • thirst, nausea or vomiting

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:

  • May be confused, unable to think clearly, pass out, collapse or have seizures
  • May stop sweating

Risk factors for heat illness include: high temperature and humidity, direct sun exposure- no breeze, serious physical work or activity, low liquid intake, waterproof clothing and lack of recent exposure to hot environments. 

References

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2021). Heat Safety Tips for Parents and Caregivers. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Heat-Safety-Tips.aspx

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html

National Weather Service. (n.d.). Heat Safety for Kids and Pets. Retrieved from https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat-kids

American Red Cross. (n.d.). Heat Safety Tips for Parents. Retrieved from https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/heat-wave/heat-safety-tips-for-parents.html

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