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Keeping your children safe in extreme heat

It is so important to keep kids safe in summer heat. Here are some things you need to be aware of and how to handle heat emergencies.
Becky Rickman, FamilyShare Modified: June 10, 2014 at 9:51 am •  Published: June 12, 2014
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When it comes to summer, kids have no boundaries. They will run and play hard on the hottest of days and never give it a second thought. That's why we have to be aware of how much heat is too much and what to do to protect them.

First off, it is vital to recognize the symptoms of heat-induced illness.

Heat exhaustion comes easily to little ones who are full of energy in higher temperatures. Symptoms to watch out for include thirst, fatigue, leg or stomach cramps, and cool, moist skin.

Heat exhaustion is simply treated. Remove the child from the sun and cool them off. Make certain they are well-hydrated with water and not sugary or caffeinated drinks. Nothing too cold to drink, as it may induce cramps. Put them in a cool bath and hold a cold, wet rag to the back of their neck, which is a pulse point and immediately cools the body down. Have them lie down with a quiet movie or activity and let them rest.

When it goes beyond heat exhaustion into heat stroke, we have to take immediate action. This is a condition that can be critical and even fatal if not treated.

According to BabyCenter.com, if your child's heat exhaustion progresses to heat stroke, he may have any of the following symptoms:

  • A temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) or higher — but no sweating
  • Hot, red, dry skin
  • Rapid pulse
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Lethargy (Your child might not respond as strongly as usual when you call his name or tickle his skin, for example.)
  • Unconsciousness
If you suspect heat stroke, err on the side of caution. A child suffering from heat stroke can easily and quickly slip into unconsciousness. The child's temperature must be lowered as quickly as possible without causing him to go into shock. Here is the immediate action to take:

Call 911. The child with these symptoms needs to be seen quickly. The reason for calling 911 rather than driving your child to the hospital is that there are tasks you need to do to relieve your child while waiting for help to arrive.

Comfort child. Throughout this process, speak softly and don't show anxiousness or fear. Comfort your child by singing a soft song or encouraging them.

Move to a cool place. If you are outdoors, find shade. If you are indoors, go to the coolest room.

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