Summer is officially here, and with it, hot temperatures! Children are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat and related illnesses like heat stroke and sunburn. Make sure your family can safely enjoy the season by following these tips to help protect children from the summer heat.
Stay informed. Listen to local news and weather channels for health, safety and weather-related updates, including heat warnings, watches and advisories. Follow guidance from local officials.
Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen. When going outside, choose lightweight, light-colored and breathable fabrics (such as cotton) for yourself and your children and always apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with protection from both UVA and UVB sun rays. Hats and umbrellas can also be used to limit exposure to harmful sun rays.
Drink lots of fluids. Keep your family hydrated, regardless of your activity levels. If you have a baby, check her diaper for concentrated (dark in color) urine, which can indicate dehydration. Fluids should be consumed before, during and after being exposed to extreme heat. Also avoid eating hot meals, as they may increase body heat.
Know how to identify heat-related illnesses. Learn the symptoms and signs of heat-related illnesses and conditions, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If your children show signs of these symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately.
Get lots of rest. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Make sure that children get lots of rest after they are active.
Do NOT leave children unsupervised in parked cars. Even in less threatening temperatures, vehicles can rapidly become dangerously hot. A child left inside a car is at risk for severe heat-related illnesses and/or death, even if the windows are cracked open.
Seek shelter in cool areas. Air conditioning is the best form of protection against heat-related illness. During extreme heat waves, be sure to spend as much time as possible in air-conditioned spaces (e.g., shopping malls, public libraries, heat relief shelters).
Keep children entertained. Children may become anxious or restless from being kept indoors during extremely hot days. Plan ahead for indoor activities and games and limit the screen-time on televisions, phones and tablets.
Reassure children. Children may become fearful or stressed from seeing the effects of extreme heat, such as dead animals. Remember that children take their cues from their parents and caregivers, so try to keep calm and answer their questions openly and honestly.
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