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Beat the heat: keeping kids safe in a heatwave

The sun is out, the skies are blue and we are loving it up here in our Stirling HQ! However, with all the good things that the nice weather brings, we need to remember to make certain changes in our daily routine to accommodate the high temperatures with this heatwave, especially where our kids are concerned.

Children and babies are more sensitive to hot weather than adults and can overheat due to the fact that they sweat less and are not as able to regulate their body temperature. This puts them at higher risk of suffering from heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and any existing health conditions can be exacerbated.

With this recent heatwave, here are 4 tips on how to keep your wee ones comfortable and healthy when the heat’s on:

 

  1. Don’t leave them in cars – even if it’s only for a couple of minutes as you grab something from the grocery shop or run a couple of quick errands. Every year children die from being left in cars in hot weather. There was actually a very sad case of this happening in Ireland just last year so it’s not only an issue in hot countries like Spain or Greece.

 

  1. Kids dehydrate quickly in hot weather so make sure that they drink enough throughout the day, preferably water. If you’re still breastfeeding then offer a feed more often and make sure to drink more yourself.

Signs of dehydration to watch out for include:

  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Sunken or dark-looking eyes
  • Irritability or tears
  • Fewer wet nappies or bathroom visits
  • Skin is hot, dry and pale
  • Mouth and tongue are dry and look coated
  • High temperature
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
  • Loss of interest in eating/drinking

 

  1. Keep rooms cool and ventilated. Open windows to allow a breeze but keep curtains partially drawn to keep the sun out. If you put a fan on, set it for about 24C but don’t point it directly at your kid; rather, use it to circulate air. If it’s really warm, drape wet towels around the place and set a bottle of frozen water in front of the fan to cool the air a bit.

 

  1. It’s better to stay inside and avoid the hottest parts of the day but if going outside is unavoidable, dress your kids in cool, loose-fitting clothes with a broad brimmed hat to keep the sun off. For young ones over 6 months old, slather them in SPF30 sun cream with UVA and UVB protection and try to stick to the shade as much as possible. If they’re in a pram, don’t fully cover it to keep the sun off as buggies very quickly overheat when covered, even with a very thin and light piece of material.

 

It’s lovely when the sun decides to show its face but we do need to remember that this heatwave is not without its dangers, especially for the very old and the very young. Enjoy the nice weather while it lasts but do so in a safe way for everyone.

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