Doctor Releases Tips for Protecting Kids From the Heat

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UCLA Health

With the summer heat in full swing, it’s important to take special care of young children and newborns who are at higher health risk than adults. Dr. Dennis Woo, a pediatrician at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, provided some tips for protecting children from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, including:

•Avoid going outside, if possible, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when temperatures are highest and the sun’s rays the strongest.

•Be aware that high temperatures are not the lone risk factor. If the humidity level is high, it can prevent your body’s internal cooling mechanism — sweating — from working effectively. 

•Keep children well hydrated. Remember, they may not tell you they’re thirsty or want to drink, but offer plenty of fluids, especially water. Babies younger than six months should be fed more frequently. If you are breastfeeding, be sure to drink plenty of water, too.

•Signs of overheating in newborns include damp head or neck, indicating they are sweaty; redder-than-usual faces; rash; rapid breathing; or hot chest.

•Keep kids in climate-controlled areas. If your home lacks air conditioning, consider going to public places with AC, including movie theatres, malls or even museums. In addition, there are nearly 100 “cooling centers” located throughout Los Angeles County.

•NEVER, EVER leave a child (or pet) alone in a vehicle — not even for a moment. Children have died from heatstroke in cars in temperatures as low as 60 degrees — and cracking windows does NOT help slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature.