Tag Archives: kids heat safety

Beat the Heat: Tips to Keep Your Child Safe from Heat Related Illness This Summer

heatAs temperatures rise and we find ourselves spending more time outdoors with children this summer, it’s important to remember that high temperatures and too much time in the heat can have negative effects on your child’s body. Here are some tips on preventing heat related illness in children.

HYDRATION:  Staying hydrated is one of the most important things we can do to prevent heat related illness. It is essential to give your child water frequently while they are outside on a hot day. Many children may not ask for water while they are playing outdoors, but it’s important to provide children with water even if they don’t ask for it. Additional and frequent hydration with water or sports beverages is especially crucial while children are playing sports or exercising. Infants less than 6 months of age should not be given water, but they can be given extra breastmilk or formula to keep them hydrated.

SUN PROTECTION: Protecting your children from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays is also important. Dress your child in lightweight and light-colored clothing. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can offer additional protection. Keep children in the shade as much as possible and try to avoid exposure to direct sunlight on very hot days, especially during the sun’s most intense hours (between 10 AM and 4 PM).

Apply sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 to any areas of your child’s skin that are not protected by clothing. Using sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” or UVA/UVB protection is ideal. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outdoors.  Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on cloudy days as well, as the sun’s rays are still present.

Infants less than 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible. If you do take young infants outdoors, be sure to keep their skin protected with lightweight clothing and a hat and to keep them in the shade. You can apply a small amount of sunscreen to your infant’s exposed skin if needed.

STAY COOL: Staying indoors in a location with air conditioning is a great way to beat the heat on days when temperatures are extremely high. If you do not have air conditioning available in your home, think about going to a public location such as a library, museum, or mall. This is a great way to engage in a fun activity for the day while still staying cool. Additionally, a cool bath or shower may help cool your child down on a hot day.

MONITOR: While prevention is the key, it is also important to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If your child exhibits any of these signs or symptoms, speak to your child’s pediatrician or take them to be evaluated by a physician immediately.

•Dizziness
•Nausea
•Vomiting
•Headache
•Weakness
•Fatigue
•Confusion
•High body temperature
•Muscle Cramps

Following these tips will ensure a fun and healthy summer and will help you beat the heat!

hassFrom the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Kavita Patel, MD, is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

The Top 5 Summer Emergencies and What to Do (Part 1 of 5)

hot-summerWarmer weather invites activities and adventures. But what happens when things go awry? In this special five-part series, the real experts at NYU Langone Medical Center provide valuable tips to serve as your guide. Part 1:

Exposure to Extreme Temperatures

Rising temperatures and humidity can cause a range of symptoms including dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Most are familiar with dehydration, which is a loss of body fluids through sweating and physical exertion. Signs of dehydration in infants and children can include decreased urination or wet diapers, fewer or no tears when crying, dry or parched mouth, a sunken soft spot of the head in infants or toddlers, and decreased energy.

If early signs are not heeded, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion. This form of more severe dehydration is characterized by weakness, muscle cramps, pale skin, profuse sweating, dizziness, and nausea. If symptoms are not resolving with fluids and rest at home or become very severe (such as fainting), these children should be brought to an emergency department to get evaluated and treated.

The next progression of heat exhaustion is heat stroke, which is when the body stops being able to release its own heat. The body becomes so dehydrated it can’t sweat anymore, causing the body temperature to reach dangerous levels. This can lead to confusion, kidney damage, heart problems and, in the most extreme cases, fatality. Symptoms also include hot, flushed skin with high fever over 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Every patient with heat stroke needs to be brought to the emergency room so they can be rapidly cooled and a thorough physical examination can be performed to determine if there is any organ damage.

To protect your child from extreme heat this summer: Plan to allow your child more time to rest when playing outside. Encourage your child to drink water or a sports drink frequently while playing in the heat. Try to find a cool (ideally air-conditioned) place to take breaks from playing outside. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen when outdoors. Never leave your child in a car or other closed vehicle, even if you plan to come back soon as temperatures inside a closed vehicle can rise to dangerous levels quickly.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.