How to Recognize Heat Illnesses in Babies & Toddlers

It is not a very cheerful topic to talk about but in this hot British summer I believe it is a very important topic. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be scary—and kids are at increased risk.

The best thing you can do is learn how to spot and prevent heat-related illnesses in your little one.

How we can prevent Heat Illnesses

· Teach kids to always drink plenty of fluids before and during activity in hot, sunny weather — even if they're not thirsty. Hydration is key.

·Early signs of dehydration include fatigue, thirst, dry lips and tongue, lack of energy, and feeling overheated. But if kids wait to drink until they feel thirsty, they're already dehydrated. Thirst doesn't really kick in until a child has lost 2% of his or her body weight as sweat.

· Make sure kids wear light-coloured, loose clothing and use sunscreen when outdoors.

· On hot or humid days, make sure your kids only participate in heavy activity outdoors before noon and after 6 p.m.

· Teach kids to come indoors, rest, and hydrate immediately whenever they feel overheated.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are brief, painful muscle cramps in the legs, arms, or abdomen that may occur during or after vigorous exercise in extreme heat. The sweating that occurs with intense physical activity causes the body to lose salts and fluids. This low level of salts causes the muscles to cramp.

Kids are particularly at risk for heat cramps when they aren't drinking enough fluids.

Although painful, heat cramps on their own aren't serious. But cramps can be the first sign of more serious heat illness, so they should be treated right away to help avoid any problems.

What to Do:

A cool place, rest, and fluids should ease a child's discomfort. If possible, give fluids that contain salt and sugar, such as sports drinks. Gently stretching and massaging cramped muscles also may help.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a more severe heat illness that can occur when someone in a hot climate or environment hasn't been drinking enough fluids. Symptoms can include:

· increased thirst

· weakness

· fainting

· muscle cramps

· nausea and/or vomiting

· irritability

· headache

· increase sweating

· cool, clammy skin

· body temperature of 38C or above

What to Do:

· Bring your child to a cooler place indoors, an air-conditioned car, or shady area.