Fun, Sun and the Heat: Protecting Your Kids this Summer
Category: Family Medicine, Pediatrics
By Carolina Boyd
Hot weather and humid conditions can be hard on anybody, but they are especially tough for children. Make sure to protect your kids from the heat as much as possible.
Heat related illnesses happen when the body’s temperature gets too high. Infants and children 4 years old and under are at greatest risk during periods of extreme heat. Luckily, there are ways to protect your kids.
Never leave babies, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are slightly open, or the air conditioner is running. Leaving a baby or child in a car, especially on a hot day, puts them at risk for heatstroke, dehydration, or death.
Encourage your kids to drink water more frequently during the summer. On a hot day, you may need to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby more than usual in order to keep them hydrated. Avoid any caffeinated drinks, sodas or alcohol, as these will cause further dehydration.
Dress your babies and kids in cool, comfortable clothing that covers the body, such as lightweight cotton pants, long-sleeved shirts, and wide-brimmed hats.
Limit your child’s outdoor time between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest. In addition, slather on SPF 30 or higher broad- spectrum sunscreen on your children at least 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours. Just a few serious sunburns can increase your child’s risk for skin cancer later in life.
When your child is feeling overheated, giving them a cool bath or misting them with water can help. Swimming is another way to cool them off while they stay active.
As temperatures rise, heat exhaustion becomes a concern. Symptoms include fatigue, extreme thirst, and muscle cramping. If a child doesn’t cool down and rehydrate, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke (signs are headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and lack of sweat), which is potentially fatal.
Contact your Legacy Community Health pediatrician for more advice on how to keep your kids safe in the summer heat.
Image by unitonstudio from Pixabay