As an incredible heat wave continues in Minnesota, we thought it was a good time to talk about ways to keep kids safe in the heat. In addition to our quick tips for protecting your kids from dehydration, here are tips on avoiding heat exhaustion. We believe in Making Safe Simple, so take a few moments to review these tips!
- Children adjust more slowly than adults do to changes in environmental heat. They also produce more heat with activity than adults, and sweat less. Sweating is one of the body’s normal cooling mechanisms. Children often do not think to rest when having fun and may not drink enough fluids when playing or exercising.
- Heat exhaustion results from a loss of water and salt in the body due to excessive sweating. It occurs when the body is unable to cool itself properly and, if left untreated, can progress to heat stroke.
- Signs of heat exhaustion in children are: profuse sweating, pale skin that’s cool and damp to the touch, rapid and shallow breathing, headache, nausea, normal or below-normal body temperature, vomiting or diarrhea, dizziness, weakness or fainting, and muscle cramps.
- If your child is experiencing heat exhaustion, move them to a cool place right away and let them rest. You should remove extra clothing and apply cool cloths (towels with cold water) and fan their skin. Give them cool sports drinks containing salt and sugar such as Gatorade (if they don’t feel nauseous).
- Call your doctor or go to the emergency department if their condition hasn’t improved or they are unable to take fluids within an hour.