How can you protect children from dangerously high temperatures this summer?  Read on to find out.

Staying Safe in Summer Heat

Summer is a time for fun in the sun, but the hot weather can present a danger to children, especially here in the South where triple-digit temperatures are common during summer months.  Make sure your children stay safe by following the guidelines below:

  • Keep them hydrated.  Have children drink a glass of water 1-2 hours before going outside and then another glass 10 to 15 minutes before going out.  Once outside, encourage children to drink about every 20 to 30 minutes, even if they aren't thirsty.
  • Limit outdoor playtime between 11am and 3pm, when temperatures peak.
  • Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to children before going outside.
  • Ask parents to dress children in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing made from natural fibers like cotton and linen, as these fabrics tend to 'breathe' better than synthetic fabrics like polyester.
  • Know the signs and types of heat stress.  Children do not know or understand the symptoms and will play to exhaustion.  There are three types of heat stress:  heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.  Each has a different set of symptoms and each should be treated differently.  Click here to see a chart, created by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, listing the symptoms and treatments for each.
  • NEVER leave a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.  On a 93-degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit in 20 minutes.  If a child becomes locked in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.
  • Keep an eye on the weather.  Looking at a thermometer only tells you the air temperature, but as anyone in the South knows, the humidity plays a big role in how hot it feels (the heat index).  Pay attention to your local weather forecast, and use this chart to determine whether or not it is safe for children to play outside.
  • Make sure playground equipment and vehicle seats aren't too hot.  Dark car interiors and metal slides can get especially hot, and children can be burned in just one second.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
Council for Children & Families
Iowa Department of Public Health
Healthy Children

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