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Extreme Heat and Your Child: Prevention Strategies

PreventExtremeHeatIllness-Childventures-OntarioChildcareCenterMany of us can hardly wait for warmer temperatures to arrive, especially after a long, cold winter. Now that they are here we get excited that we can get our children outside for some summer time play and exercise. By all means, enjoy the warmer temperatures. Remember though, that when it becomes extremely hot this can put you and your child’s health at risk, especially for infants and young children.

When allowing your children to play outside in warmer temperatures than normal it’s important to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and know about heat stroke which is a medical emergency.

Heat illnesses include:

  • Heat stroke, exhaustion, fainting, edema(swelling of the hands, feet & ankles)
  • Heat rash and heat cramps

To avoid heat stroke:

  • Dress your child in light, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Keep your child in the shade whenever possible.
  • Make sure the car is cooled off before you go for a ride.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning at home, visit a public, air-conditioned place on very hot or humid days. The public library and the mall are good options.
  • Offer your child plenty of liquids. Water is best! Make it tasty and fun. Add flavoring with natural fruit juice to make it more appealing. You can also make hot days healthy by offering extra fruits and vegetables, as they have high water content. Watermelon, oranges, strawberries and grapes are always fun healthy choices and usually pretty easy for small hands.

Watch your child’s health closely and stay alert for symptoms of heat illness. They include:

  • Changes in behaviour (sleepiness or temper tantrums)
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Extreme thirst and decreased ruination

If you see any of these signs during extreme heat, immediately move the child to a cool place and give liquids.

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