Beat the heat: These tips can protect children from the sun, water

Understanding daily water intake, heat exhaustion signs can protect your children

During the summer, it’s important for parents to stay educated when it comes to heat and water safety.

Dr. Gowan, Emergency Room Medical Director with North Central Baptist Hospital, recommends these tips to prevent dehydration and accidents and signs to watch out for while children and families are enjoying their summer activities.

When it comes to daily water intake for children, Dr. Gowan recommends the following:

  • Children 1-3 years should drink roughly 4 cups of water daily
  • Children 4-8 years should drink roughly 5 cups of water daily
  • Children 9-12 years should drink roughly 8 cups or more daily

But, if your kids are out in the heat, water breaks should be taken every 20 minutes.

Dr. Gowan recommends adding the following to your child’s daily water intake to help rehydrate:

  • Children 1-3 years, add a cup of water
  • Children 4-8 years, add 1-2 cups of water
  • Children 9-12 years, add 2-4 cups of water

If you suspect a child is dehydrated or overheated, move them out of the heat and into the shade. Place them by fan or air conditioner, and rehydrate.

Look for these signs of heat exhaustion or a heat stroke:

  • High fever (over 100.4)
  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness/fatigue
  • Anxiety/Rapid heart rate
  • Lack of appetite
  • Confusion or agitation
  • Stupor or lethargy
  • Seizure

Everyone should apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply every 2 hours. Dr. Gowan says you should use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or higher.

For infants and young children, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding the use of sunscreen products in infants younger than six months. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF can be applied to small areas, such as the face and the back of the hands, Dr. Gowan said.

If you are trying to beat the heat by heading to the water, ensure that children have adult supervision and well-fitted flotation devices.

If you are near natural bodies of water such as rivers and lakes, pay attention to wildlife hazards such as certain types of snakes. Children should never place their hands where they don’t have complete visualization, Dr. Gowan said.

You can find more information at Baptist Health System’s website.

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