The long days of summer provide a much-anticipated break from day care, and school, and are often filled with swimming, cookouts, travel and outdoor fun. The summer can also carry danger for children as the hot sun puts kids at risk of sunburn, dehydration and heat-related illness. As you take part in summer activities be sure to:
Look for signs of heat exhaustion Cases of heat stroke spike
during the summer months and this can be life-threatening
in children. Prior to heat stroke, kids often show milder
symptoms such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Make
sure children take water breaks and wear lightweight clothing
when playing outside. See the sidebar for more information.
Check for car safety. Make sure your child’s car seat is
properly fitted before hitting the road for a family vacation.
Never leave a child unattended in a car. The temperature
inside a car can rise quickly, and just a few minutes can be the
difference between life and death. Establish a routine to check
the car before locking.
Protect skin from the sun. Wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting
clothing and apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher whenever
your child is going to be outdoors. Reapply every three hours or
immediately after your child has been in or splashed by water.
Try to avoid outdoor activities during peak sunshine hours.
Avoid bug bites as the weather warms up, bugs come out
in full force. To avoid bug bites, apply insect repellant before
spending time outdoors, avoid using heavily scented soaps or
lotions and cover arms and legs as much as possible.
Wear a life jacket! If you’re heading to the lake to cool off
this summer, make sure to bring a U.S. Coast-Guard approved
personal flotation device. A properly fitted life jacket is snug
yet comfortable, and will not move above the chin or ears
when you lift it at the shoulders
Wear a hat! This protects your toddler/child from the harmful
effects of the sun. It also teaches them the value of protection
from the effects of sun exposure, a life lesson that can never
be learned early enough.
Drink enough water. Kids are more prone to dehydration
than adults, and their risk increases as temperatures rise. The
amount of water a child should drink varies by age, weight and
activity level. However, a general rule is to take half of your
child’s weight (up to 100 pounds) – and that’s the number of ounces of water they should drink everyday.
SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION IN CHILDREN
Before heat stroke symptoms appear, kids often show signs of heat cramps and heat exhaustion. This often occurs after a child has been exercising or playing in the heat and becomes dehydrated.
Signs of heat exhaustion include:
· An elevated body temperature,
usually between 100˚ and 104˚ F
· Cool, clammy skin despite the heat
· Goose bumps
· Fainting, dizziness or weakness
· Increased sweating
· Increased thirst
· Muscle cramps
· Nausea and/or vomiting
Children may be at a higher risk
for heat exhaustion if they:
· Are overweight or obese
· Are taking certain medications
· Have a sunburn
· Are sick
It’s important to treat heat
exhaustion immediately, as it can
develop into heat stroke.
If your child shows symptoms,
· Bring your child to a cool, shaded
place – preferably in an airconditioned
building or vehicle.
· Encourage him or her to drink
cool fluids that contain salt (like
· Apply a cold wet towel or
sponge to the skin.
· Gently stretch or massage sore
muscles if your child complains
of painful muscle cramps in his
or her legs, arms or abdomen.
If your child is unable to drink
or seems to be losing alertness,
call your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.
To view our Summer Newsletter click here