The tragic death of 12 year old Joshua Thibodeau at soccer camp shows how dangerous hot weather can be. Especially as a parent, it is important to watch out for your children in the heat. Below are tips on how to spot and prevent heat related illnesses to keep your kids safe.
The fact that kids’ bodies produce more heat and sweat less than adults during physical activity, makes them more susceptible to heat-related illness. In addition, kids are less likely to remember to stay hydrated and can, therefore, get into trouble with dehydration long before an adult would.
With summer temperatures rising near 100 degrees, there are a few ways we can prevent children from getting heat related illnesses. Air conditioning is the No. 1 protective factor. If you don’t have air conditioning, spend time in public facilities, such as libraries and malls that do have air conditioning. Although they may not be as strong, fans can help too.
If your kids are going to spend some time outdoors, do it in the early morning or in the evening when it’s cooler. They should wear light loose fitting clothing and drink lots of fluids before, during, and after spending time outside. For example, a 90 pound child needs to drink about 6 ounces every fifteen minutes during warm weather exercise. Cold water and sports drinks are good for hydration, but avoid soda and juices. Also, occasionally keep an eye on your child to make sure they don’t over exert themselves.
There are a few symptoms to watch out for. If your child appears dizzy, faint, or weak or has cold/pale skin, you need to get them to shade or to a cool location and start hydrating them with cold water or a sports drink. If your child is suffering from heat stroke with hot, dry, red skin, confusion or loss of consciousness, call 911 immediately. In the meantime, cool them down by spritzing them with water, fanning them, or put them in a cool bath or shower.
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