Precautions to keep children safe during summer heat

Unusually hot summer temperatures this year have led to several people ending up with heat stroke and other heat related illnesses; two people are reported to have succumbed to the heat within the last two weeks in Kuwait.

When searing temperatures are accompanied by high humidity the conditions for falling victims to heat increases considerably. Doctors and other health authorities are warning everyone to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid the high temperatures that prevail from 11am to 4pm.

Children need extra care and protection in summer to prevent their exposure to the heat that can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat strokes.

Here are some of the steps that parents can take to ensure their children stay safe from the ill-effects of summer heat.

The first and most important step is to keep your children hydrated. Because of the humidity, the body’s temperature will increase higher than normal and it will need more fluids to stay cool. Encourage your kids to drink water all the time and provide them additional refreshing drinks like coconut water or watermelon juice. Make sure your kids drink before they play, while they are playing, and after they are done.  Babies that are under 6 months should not be drinking water; however, you must nurse them more than usual to keep them hydrated.

Be aware of how many times your child goes to the bathroom throughout the day — your child needs to relieve himself at least every six hours and the urine should be pale yellow.

Secondly, be wise with your child’s wardrobe. Dress your children with light colored and loose clothing. Light colors absorb less sunlight while the loose clothing allows the body to sweat and let off heat. Moreover, always apply sunscreen on your child’s skin during daytime.

Another tip is to cool off with water. Giving your child a cool bath after playtime is a great refreshing way of sustaining your child’s energy and health. Provided that, swimming is the best outdoor activity you can involve your children in during this season.

Additionally, plan your child’s outdoor activities early in the morning before the sun gets too hot. Always try to limit exposure to the sun during peak hours (11am – 3pm). Also consider the many air-conditioned indoor facilities where your children can play during hot hours.

More importantly, cars can get hot during summer days, so make sure you never leave your children or forget them in the car even for a couple of minutes. Children’s bodies heat up 3 to 5 times more quickly than adults’ does; and fatalities can occur even if the windows are down.

Finally, it is important to know some signs of heat exhaustion to know when you should cool them off. The signs include fast heart rate, vomiting, headaches, weakness, dizziness, fainting, cramps, clammy skin, drowsiness, and fatigue.

Tips provided above are courtesy of Cook Children’s Health Care System, a US-based, not-for-profit, pediatric health care organization.