Help Children Beat the Heat!
Is your family feeling the summer heat? With a lot of the United States sweltering in summer heat, it’s important for adults to be knowledgeable of the impact heat can have on children. It’s also important to be educated and prepared on how to deal with possible problems that may occur due to intense heat.
When heat and humidity reach abnormally high numbers for an area, often heat advisories will be put in effect by local meteorologists. Usually you’ll hear them ask everyone to pay extra attention to the elderly, young children and people who have pre-existing health conditions. So why are young, healthy children at greater risk during very hot weather?
One reason is that children have a difficult time regulating their body temperature. They also have a hard time recognizing when they are too hot or too cold. Try helping them pay close attention to how their body is feeling. When they are red faced and sweaty, talk to them about ways to cool down, same for when they have goose-bumps. We urge you to take some time to teach them how to make the appropriate changes when their body needs them, such as taking off or putting on a jacket when their body becomes too hot or cold. On average, children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than healthy adults. So don’t just assume that because you’re not too hot, that your children aren’t over heating. During time of excessive heat, here are a few important things we ask you to keep in mind, to keep your family safe and healthy.
1) Drink lots of Water- children should drink at least 8ounces of water every thirty minutes. Sports drinks are okay, but water is the best. You can try adding just a splash of juice or sports drink to 8 ounces of water. This may encourage children to keep drinking fluids without becoming bored of water. Keep water room temperature or cool as very cold water can cause stomach cramping.
2) Be Careful Cooling Off in Water- swimming, pools or sprinklers can be a great way to cool down. However, be aware of the children’s activity level while playing. Yes, the water helps cool their body down, but if they have a high activity level, they could be overly exerting themselves. Have them stop to take breaks in the shade and drink water!
3) Dress for the Weather- lightweight, light-colored and loose fitting clothing are best. Hats and sunglasses to protect children from the sun are also a good idea and don’t forget to use sunscreen. In high heat and humidity, reapplying sunscreen every hour is recommended.
4) Check the Car- NEVER leave a child in a car unattended. A car can heat up as much as twenty degrees in just ten minutes. Cracking a window does not help!
Using the above tips will help keep children’s body temperatures down. However it is also important to be aware of the signs of heat problems so that you are able to you’re your child down quickly and appropriately so to avoid heat stroke, which can be fatal. Early signs of heat illness include:
2) Muscle cramps
3) Upset stomach
5) Fatigue and Weakness
6) Clammy Skin
7) Decreased activity level
If you notice any of the above symptoms in a child, remove them immediately from heat. Air conditioned areas are best but if you cannot get to air conditioning find a shady spot as soon as possible. Using cool wet sponge or towel on skin will help lower body temperature, and of course drinking cool liquids. Mild symptoms should diminish relatively quickly; however if symptoms persist or you are unable to cool the child down call your doctor or 911 for assistance. We are here at www.ifnotyouwho.org to answer any questions, stay cool and thanks for stopping by!