Kids and Heat: How to Keep Your Kids Safe

Jamie Quinlan, the RN, DNP at the University of Utah Hospital Emergency Department sat down with Nicea and Jessie to talk about a very important topic. With the summer days reaching high temperatures, special care must be taken to ensure that children remain safe in the heat.

Leaving your child in the car unattended can be deadly. Kids and hot cars do not mix. When you have children in the car, use reminders to ensure that you will check for them when you get out of the car. For example, leave something you need in the back, such as your purse, briefcase or phone. On a 93-degree day, the inside of a car can exceed 125° degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 20 minutes. The temperature inside of a car is hotter than outside temperatures, and can climb rapidly. Always lock your car doors after you get out of the vehicle. This will prevent children from getting into the car on their own and possibly getting trapped inside. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911 immediately.

It is also important to protect your children from the sun. It is smart to avoid sun exposure during peak sun hours (10 AM – 6 PM). Schedule outdoor activities carefully, for morning and evening hours. Wear protective clothing, a wide brimmed hat, and sunglasses (with 99-100% UV protection). Sunscreen is a must (on both sunny and cloudy days)! Look for products with UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 15. Sunscreen should be applied liberally 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapplied every two hours or sooner if swimming, sweating or toweling off. While you are outside look for shade to stay in whenever possible.

Dehydration and Heat-Related Illnesses is also a threat for all ages during hot weather. Keeping well hydrated is very important. Do not wait until a child says he is thirsty before offering fluids. At this point, he is already dehydrated, so be sure to provide plenty of fluids before going outside, while out in the heat and afterwards. Seek medical attention immediately for any signs of heat-related illness.

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