Children cannot control their body temperature as efficiently as adults during hot weather because they do not sweat as much and so can be at risk of ill-health from heat. Heat- related illness can range from mild heat stress to potentially life-threatening heatstroke. The main risk from heat is dehydration (not having enough water in the body).
If your child is showing signs of a heat related illness, the following steps to reduce body temperature should be taken immediately:
1. Move the child to as cool a room as possible and encourage them to drink cool water (such as water from a cold tap).
2. Cool the child as rapidly as possible, using whatever methods you can. For example, sponge or spray the child with cool (25 to 30°C) water – if available, place cold packs around the neck and armpits, or wrap the child in a cool, wet sheet and assist cooling with a fan.
3. Dial 999 to request an ambulance if the person doesn’t respond to the above treatment within 30 minutes.
During periods of high temperature, the following steps should be taken:
– children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are in excess of 30°C
– encourage children playing outdoors to stay in the shade as much as possible
– children should wear loose, light-coloured clothing to help keep cool and sun hats with wide brims to avoid sunburn
– use sunscreen (at least factor 15 with UVA protection) to protect skin if children are playing or taking lessons outdoors for more than 20 minutes
– provide children with plenty of water (such as water from a cold tap) and encourage them to drink more than usual when conditions are hot.
I hope you find this information useful – but please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or concerns.