Protecting children from the perils of summer heat

  • Published
  • By The Medical Group
  • 78th Air Base Wing
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-vehicle related deaths for children, and it can happen to anyone.

  While we may not know exactly how high the temperatures will get in Georgia, we know that more days than not, it will be extremely hot. 

But the heat doesn't mean we get to stop our daily lives. So, we must drive, work, travel and enjoy our families all while coping with the sun. 

For those with children it's always a good idea to take a moment and refresh your memories about the danger of heatstroke. 

Babies and young children are more susceptible to heat than adults and can become stressed very quickly. 

Despite the increased sensitivity they may not show signs early, so if you observe any of these symptoms in your infant or child, it's best to take them to a healthcare provider immediately:

-increased body temperature; -looking ill or unwell;
-darker or decreased urine, fewer wet diapers
-increased thirst (but later, as the baby gets weaker, he or she may drink less); 
-dry mouth and eyes; 
-headache, muscle cramps; 
-being sleepy or 'floppy;' 
-confusion, shortness of breath and vomiting; 
-loss of consciousness;
The consequences of heat stroke in children can be rapid and devastating. Preparation and prevention are the keys to avoiding this tragedy.
-Never leave a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you're not in it so kids don't get in on their own. 
-Avoid taking your baby or young child out during periods of extreme heat. If you have to go outside, protect their skin from the sun by keeping them in the shade or by covering their skin with loose clothing and a hat. 
-Use baby or toddler formula sunscreen on skin which cannot be covered by clothing. Always check the product label before applying.
-Babies may need extra feedings (formula or breast milk) in hot weather, but in most cases other drinks are not needed. 
-Give young children regular drinks throughout the day, ideally water. Avoid giving sugary or fizzy drinks.
-Dress babies and young children in light, loose clothing.