When the summer sun blazes bright, children often spend more time outdoors—running, jumping, climbing, biking and being active. It is important to remember that physical activity in excessive heat can cause a variety of health issues including sunburn, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash. Below are a few tips that can help prevent your child from experiencing any of these heat-related illnesses. (Please note: If you feel that your child is experiencing symptoms of a heat-related illness, dial 911 and seek medical attention immediately.)
- If you are aware that the day is going to be excessively hot, try to limit outdoor play time to the morning and evening hours (before 10 am and after 4 pm).
- Sunglasses and hats with brims help protect against the sun’s harmful rays. Always apply a sunscreen with SPF 15 or above that protects against UVA and UVB rays before your child heads outdoors. Apply liberally and reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing should be worn in a single layer to help absorb and facilitate sweat evaporation. If your child should sweat through their clothing, have them change into a dry outfit before continuing their activity.
- Fluids, fluids, fluids! Children should be well hydrated before they go out to play and have access to drinking water while participating in outdoor activities.
- During prolonged outdoor activity, like a sports game or practice, children should be given frequent breaks (in 20-minute increments) to recover (in the shade) and rehydrate.