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  • Writer's picturechildrens wellness center

Protecting Children in Extreme Heat

As the weather gets hotter, it's important to pay close attention to the temperatures to protect

your kids from extreme heat. Temperatures over 90°F pose a significant health risk by causing

dehydration, heat exhaustion, or stroke. If it's really hot outside, it's best for kids to stay

indoors where it's air conditioned or be outside for only a limited amount of time. Always check

the weather ahead of time to plan accordingly.

There are many ways to help keep children cool during very hot days, including turning on the

air conditioner. If you use fans, keep them at a safe distance from your kids and discourage

them from touching the fans to avoid potential injuries. Keep in mind that fans can't cool the air

when the temperature is over 90°F; it's best to use the air conditioner when the temperature

reaches this high. Dressing in loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing, using ice packs,

swimming in the pool, and taking a cool bath are other ways for kids to cool down.

During hot days, it's important to keep your children hydrated. Encourage them to drink water

frequently throughout the day and remind them as well. For babies under 6 months, they

should only be given breast milk or formula. After 6 months, they can have 4 to 8 ounces of

water daily. Kids between the ages 1 to 3 should be given 4 cups of fluids that include water

and/or milk. Between the ages 4 and 8, kids should be given 5 cups. And for older children, they

should drink 7 to 8 cups. Water and whole milk are the best options for beverages. You can

infuse water with lemon or other fruits to give flavor and make drinking water more fun for

your kids.

For children who play sports or participate in vigorous exercise, they will need to drink more

water to stay hydrated. Look out for signs of dehydration such as dry lips, flushed skin,

irritability, fatigue, headaches, and less visits to the bathroom. For babies, you might also notice

fewer wet diapers.

Whenever traveling, it's extremely important to never leave babies and children in a parked car,

regardless if the windows are open. Even within a few minutes, the inside of the car can

become dangerously hot, which can lead to a heat stroke. If the temperature reaches 104°F,

children's major organs will begin to shut down. Keep your car keys out of your child's reach

and your car locked to prevent the possibility of your child entering your car. Kids can

sometimes accidentally lock themselves inside. Let them know that cars are not a safe place to

play hide and seek.

Always look out for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke during very hot days. If you notice

excessive sweating, dehydration, light-headedness, extreme fatigue, fever, nausea, abnormal

breathing, or muscle spasms, contact ER right away. Heat stroke is the most serious and occurs

when the body overheats and begins to shut down. Signs of this include a rapid pulse,

confusion, or unresponsiveness. If this happens, immediate medical attention is needed.

If you have any questions or concerns about keeping your children safe during hot weather, call

our office.

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