06 Jul How Can I Protect My Child From Heat-Related Illness This Summer?
Summer is in full swing, but as temperatures rise, it’s important to take extra precautions to keep you and your family safe. It’s vital that parents continuously take precautions to protect their children from heat-related illness and know what signs to look out for to detect if your child is experiencing heat exhaustion/heat stroke.
How to Prevent Heat-Related Illness:
- Stay hydrated. If possible, bring a water bottle with you wherever you go. Stainless steel or other insulated bottles are best for keeping water cold on hot days.
- Spend plenty of time in air conditioning. If you know you will be outside for most of the day, take precautionary steps a few days before your outdoor plans. Make sure you are drinking water well before you leave, and if you are near an open building or your home, try to come inside periodically to cool off.
- Find shade and other protection from the sun. Provide your kids with sunglasses, baseball caps, or anything else that may help protect them from the sun. If you are having a picnic or will be sitting outside for a while, find a spot in the shade or switch off between shade and sun throughout your time outside.
- Apply sunscreen. Reapply. Repeat. It’s not enough just to lather some sunscreen in the morning or before you go swimming. Continue to take breaks to reapply at least once every two hours (more often if your child is swimming/sweating). Once kids are playing or swimming, it may be hard to get them to take breaks or to sit still, so it might help to offer your child a distraction or play a game with them for a few minutes while you reapply. Do not apply sunscreen to babies under 6 months old. For more information on applying sunscreen on kids and babies, click here.
- Dress lightly. Wear light fabrics and colors, and again, don’t forget sunglasses or visors to protect from sun exposure!
- Do not leave your child or pet in the car for any reason. Even if you are just pulling up to drop something off at the post office and will be right back, bring your child in with you. Even if the windows are rolled down, on a day when it’s 90+ degrees outside, a hot car is still incredibly unsafe, and, in general, never leave your keys in your vehicle when you are not inside with your child (so air conditioning wouldn’t be an option either).
Know the signs of heat-related illness. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Muscle aches
- Skin numbness or tingling
If you child develops any of these symptoms- especially after spending time outside in the heat- please contact your pediatrician’s office as soon as possible- whether it be through a phone call, a virtual visit, or sending us a secure message via MyChart.
For more information on heat-related illness in children, click here.