Go play outside! Ahhhh….music to every mothers ears. They may be home from school for three months, but summer is the time when you get have a cleaner house because the kids can spend all day playing outside. That’s great but parents need to be aware of unsafe temperatures and condition before sending the little one’s out to play.
Kids don’t just sit under a shady tree and take it easy. They run, jump, roll around, and run some more. Days when it’s too hot can, and probably will have some awful results for your children. Things like dehydration and heat illnesses, including heat cramps, exhaustion, and worst of all stroke. Yes…children can suffer strokes just like the rest of us. Believe it or not, because of their body compositions, kids are at even greater risk for these scary side effects than adults.
The number one overlooked issue with children in the heat is dehydration. Send them outside previously hydrated. Don’t wait until they are thirsty, by then the body is already beginning to dehydrate. Set a timer while they are playing. Whenever the timer goes off, time to drink whether they are thirsty or not. The American Academy of Pediatrics says a good-size drink for a child is five ounces of water for a child weighing 88 pounds and nine ounces for a teen weighing 132 pounds. Keep those kids nice and juicy!
Signs of heat illness can include painful cramps of the stomach muscles, arms, or legs. Heat exhaustion almost always starts with dizziness and nausea, but can lead to vomiting, headaches, weakness, muscle pain, and sometimes even unconsciousness. Heat stroke occurs usually at a temperature of 104 degrees or higher, nausea, vomiting, seizures and dehydration. Also be aware for a lack of sweating, shortness of breath, and unconsciousness which can lead to coma.
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, get them out of the sun into a cool, comfortable place immediately. Start SLOWLY pumping them full of of cool fluids and take off any excess layers of clothing or bulky equipment. My mother used to put cool, wet cloths on our heads or overheated skin. If your kids are cramping gentle stretching for the sore muscles can help. If your child has heat exhaustion, do not allow them back in the hot sun on the same day. Monitor your child, and if you don’t see improvement, see a doctor right away. If you’re concerned your child is suffering from heat stroke, do not hesitate to call 911, as they will require immediate medical attention before it gets worse.
Let’s try to avoid all of this ugliness though. Have a safe summer and follow all of these tips to ensure you memories of summer are good ones, not bad ones.
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