How to Prevent Heat Related Illness in Children

Three Methods:Preventing Illness on Hot DaysOverheating in Winter: An Overlooked ProblemKnow the Signs of Heat Illness

Many children enjoy hot summer days, but it can also be dangerous. Heat-related illness sends many children to emergency rooms every year. Unfortunately, it also kills dozens of children every year. It is equally important to realize overheating can occur during the winter as well as the summer. This article will teach you how to prevent heat-related illness in children.

Method 1
Preventing Illness on Hot Days

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    Have children play outside in the shade and during the coolest times of the day, usually before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Use spray bottles or sprinklers to help children evaporate heat.
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    Keep your child well-hydrated. Give 4-to-8 ounces (118-to-237 ml) of juice or water about a half hour before starting activities.
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    Take frequent breaks to rehydrate. You should call children in to cool off and drink liquid every 20 minutes or so.
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    Stay in air-conditioned houses or public places during severely hot days. Use a public cooling station if needed. Take cool baths or showers to cool down if there's no air-conditioning at home.
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    Dress children in light-colored clothes. The clothes should also be lightweight. If you do not have air-conditioning, children should wear as little clothing as possible.
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    Have children wear brimmed hats and sunglasses. Apply sunscreen every two hours when outside.
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    Never leave children in a hot car by themselves. Heat builds up in the vehicle very quickly, leading to dangerous temperatures in only a few minutes. Check the car before going into a store or house for sleeping children.

Method 2
Overheating in Winter: An Overlooked Problem

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    Dress a child in layers. Remove a child's outer layer or coat when entering heated buildings or on longer car trips. If you are warm with a coat on, your child probably is too.
    • Remember when the child is strapped into a safety seat and gets hot, the child cannot easily remove his or her jacket.
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    Put babies and young children to sleep in their own beds. Avoid putting babies down with parents or siblings.
    • The fabric used in adult blankets causes overheating and suffocation more easily and extra bodies provide more heat.
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    Keep the thermostat at a constant temperature. Resist turning up the heat in a baby's room because a baby or very young child cannot dissipate heat as well as adults.

Method 3
Know the Signs of Heat Illness

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    Observe your child for symptoms of mild dehydration and heat cramps. These are the two earliest heat illnesses. If noticed, take the child to a cool place immediately and give liquids.
    • These symptoms can range from complainants of being very hot or very thirsty, sweating, muscle cramps, red skin and dizziness and nausea. Babies may have red skin or dampness around their neck and hair.
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    Take immediate action by moving a child inside and giving liquid (if possible)if you notice symptoms of heat exhaustion, severe dehydration or heat stroke. You should also remove excess clothing and give a child a cool bath or shower.
    • Symptoms may include excessive sweating or no sweating at all. A child may complain of vision problems, headaches, dizziness and weakness. He or she may exhibit agitation or confusion, hallucinations and rapid breathing.
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    Call emergency services immediately if you notice severe confusion or hallucinations, lack of sweat (dry skin), vomiting, trouble breathing (or fast breathing that does not slow down in a few minutes), unconsciousness or seizures.

Tips

  • Take your child's temperature (if possible) when you notice any signs of heat illness. Temperatures that are 104º F (40º C) or above is heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.

Warnings

  • Call emergency services immediately if a child is unresponsive, unable to keep fluids down, having severe mental changes or has a fever that is 104º F (40ºC) or above. Call for help if you notice a fever that continues to rise or does not go down despite intervening treatment at home.
  • Do not try to give fluids to a child who is unconscious. Do not attempt to put the child in a bathtub. Instead, place cool towels around the child or ice packs under the armpits, groin area and forehead.


Article Info

Categories: Childhood Health