Portland’s seen some brutal and dangerous heat waves in the last few years. As pediatricians and parents, we understand the importance of protecting children from scorching summer heat.
Excessive heat can pose serious health risks, especially for children. Knowing these practical strategies can help your children stay cool and safe during the summer months.
Stay properly hydrated, especially during hot weather. Keeping children hydrated can keep their body temperatures more regulated.
At East Portland Pediatric Clinic, we recommend providing your child plenty of fluids throughout the day. Encourage them to drink water frequently and carry a reusable water bottle when out and about. A small cooler with an ice pack can help keep water cold and appealing.
Younger children, infants, and kids with special needs have a harder time communicating that they’re thirsty. Watch for fewer than six wet diapers a day for infants. For toddlers, keep an eye on the time between their bathroom breaks.
Consider a sports drink with electrolytes for older kids if they exercise hard for more than an hour. Younger kids will love Pedialyte popsicles.
Recognize Signs of Heat Exhaustion
You can’t push through everything. Be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion, as it can lead to more serious heat-related illnesses.
Symptoms may include:
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Cold, clammy skin
If your child experiences any of these symptoms, move them to a cool and shaded area, provide water. Call us if you’re not sure what to look for. Seek medical attention if they throw up or don’t recover within an hour.
If your child’s body temperature is over 103 degrees, call 911. Heat stroke is a medical emergency.
Choose Appropriate Clothing
Appropriate clothing protects children from the sun’s harmful rays and prevents overheating. Black and dark clothing can “soak up” sun and feel hotter.
Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics that allow air circulation. We love to see UV-blocking rash guards for water play.
Ask your child to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shield their face and eyes from the sun.
Cool Indoor Environments
Use fans and close curtains or blinds to block out sunlight. If available, use air conditioning to keep temperatures comfortable. Check into the Cooling Portland Program for help getting access to an air conditioner if you don’t have one.
Safe Outdoor Play Opportunities
While outdoor play is essential for children’s physical and mental well-being, safety always comes first. Encourage your child to play in shaded areas. Apply sunscreen regularly, and take frequent breaks to rest and hydrate.
Plan on getting outdoor exercise earlier in the morning or later in the evening, when the sun’s not as strong and temperatures are cooler.
At East Portland Pediatric Clinic, we prioritize the health and safety of your children, especially during any scorching summer heat..
By recognizing signs of heat exhaustion and planning days that keep your kids safe and cool, you can help your child beat the heat and enjoy a safe and enjoyable summer.
Your doctors are here to support you and your family’s well-being throughout the year. Stay cool, hydrated, and safe!