Keeping Your Kids Safe in the Heat

By Joe Gullo

Published 07/04 2014 03:48PM

Updated 07/04 2014 03:53PM

It's the summer, and chances are, your kids are outdoors and having fun, but they need to be careful.

Infants and small children are among those at highest risk for heat-related illnesses.

Experts say it's important to recognize that children and adults tolerate heat very differently.

"Children are at higher risk for heat-related injuries because they have thin skin and they don't manage the heat exchange well," Dr. James Fortenberry, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, said. "They tend to lose more fluids through their skinand so they need extra fluids relative to what an adult does."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Infants and children younger than four are among those at the greatest risk for heat-related illness.

For babies under six months, doctors suggest:
  • Keeping them out of direct sun
  • Have them hydrated prior to going out
  • Have them drink every 20-30 minutes
For older kids:
  • Anticipate and plan ahead. They, too, need to drink before going out.
  • Take frequent breaks to rehydrate
  • Avoid sodas with caffeine
While water is usually sufficient, officials say after about an hour, water is not enough-utilizing a sports drink can be helpful for the extra electrolytes in it.

Parents should be able to recognize these symptoms of heat illness.
  • Faintness
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Muscle Spasm
These are signs that medical attention may be needed for a child.

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