Infants and small
children are not able to regulate their body temperature in the same way that
adults do. Every year, children die from heat stroke from being left in a hot
car, often unintentionally, with the majority of these deaths occurring in
children 3 and under. Here are a few tips from the American Academy of
Pediatrics for parents when traveling in a car with infants or young children:
- Always check the back seat to make sure all children are out of the car when you arrive at your destination.
- Avoid distractions while driving, especially cell phone use.
- Be especially aware of kids in the car when there is a change from the routine, ie. someone else is driving them in the morning, you take a different route to work or child care.
- Have your childcare provider call if your child has not arrived within 10 minutes of the expected arrival time.
- Place your cell phone, bag or purse in the back seat, so you are reminded to check the back seat when you arrive at your destination.
- The inside of a car can reach dangerous temperatures quickly, even when the outside temperature is not hot. Never leave a child alone in a car, even if you expect to come back soon. Lock your car when it is parked so children cannot get in without supervision.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Plan for extra rest time – heat and a change from the normal routine leaves kids and parents feeling tired.
HEAT STRESS IN EXERCISING CHILDREN
- The intensity of activities that last 15 minutes or more should be reduced whenever high heat or humidity reach critical levels.
- At the beginning of a strenuous exercise program or after traveling to a warmer climate, the intensity and duration of outdoor activities should start low and then gradually increase over 7 to 14 days to acclimate to the heat, particularly if it is very humid.
- Before outdoor physical activities, children should drink freely and should not feel thirsty. During activities less than one hour, water alone is fine. Kids should always have water or a sports drink available and take a break to drink every 20 minutes while active in the heat.
- Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight and limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat. Sweat-saturated shirts should be replaced by dry clothing.
- Practices and games played in the heat should be shortened and there should be more frequent water/hydration breaks. Children should promptly move to cooler environments if they feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseated.
Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Pediatrics. Please feel free to use tips in any print or broadcast story with appropriate attribution of source.