Heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related illnesses and deaths in the U.S., according to the National Weather Service. Children are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses, especially since they aren’t aware of how much heat can affect them. Before the dog days of summer arrive, take some time to review some of the ways you can protect your kids from heat-related illnesses this summer.
Know the Warning Signs
When the body is unable to cool itself or loses too much fluids through sweating, a person may suffer from a heat-related illness. All of the following are warning signs of a heat-related illness:
- Dehydration can lead to fatigue, irritability, high body temperature and vomiting, explains Better Health Channel. Lower your children’s risk of suffering from dehydration by ensuring they drink regularly throughout the day.
- Heat cramps are painful muscle cramps or spasms, usually in the legs or abdomen, which are also accompanied by heaving sweating. Relieve discomfort by applying pressure or gently massaging the area. Give your child sips of water only if he or she is not feeling nauseous.
- Sunstroke is a potentially fatal condition that can cause an altered mental state, dizziness, nausea, shallow breathing and high temperature. If you suspect sunstroke, cool the victim with a fan, or move them to an air-conditioned environment. However, make sure you don’t provide them with any water.
For any of the issues above, seek immediate medical attention.
Other Safety Tips for Dealing with Heat
- Keep children cool in the car. Children’s thermoregulatory systems warm three to five times faster than adults’, and car temperatures can reach as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit in 20 minutes during the summer, explains Fire & Rescue. Never leave kids unattended in a car and ensure everyone gets out when you reach your destination, including anyone who is sleeping.
- Use proper sun protection for kids. Children need to wear protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses and must use sunscreen whenever they go outdoors. Such precautions can prevent sunburn and UV damage to the eyes and skin.
Before allowing your children to spend any extended time outdoors in the heat of summer, peruse Real Kids’ collection of stylish sunglasses. Also, make sure you’re prepared with plenty of water on hand and take frequent breaks indoors or in a shady spot.