The heat is on!
The heat is on!
Summer heat is here, and we haven’t had much of it this year. It will be over the 90 degree mark today, so there might be milkshakes for dinner in the Love house. Many summers ago on a very hot evening we did have milkshakes for dinner, and it was one of those traditions that stuck. I really don’t remember why we did it, to be honest I probably was tired, had nothing planned for dinner, the kids were hot, and what the heck….ice cream sounded good. Since that night, it is “tradition” to have ice cream for dinner on the first very hot day of summer. (all four of my children have grown up healthy and strong, no real detriment to their health!) 🙂 Today will be one of those hot days…in fact it will be dangerously hot this week as it is predicted to be 100 degrees or hotter with the heat index. With sports beginning with the start of school and active children at home, a few reminders about the heat just might be necessary.
We need to be aware of the risks of extreme heat and our children. Children don’t realize the affect of the extreme heat on their bodies. Children produce more body heat during physical activity and they sweat less than adults and children tend to drink less than adults. This is the perfect set up for dehydration and heat related illness for a child. What can you do to help your child handle the heat?
- If you have an infant or young child, keep your child inside in the cool to play today, especially during the hottest part of the day between noon and 4:00 pm.
- Be aware of the humidity. Often the humidity makes the temperature much more dangerous. With high humidity, perspiration is not able to evaporate and cool your child’s body.
- If you are outside, dress your child lightly in loose clothing and keep your child in the shade. Always use a broad spectrum sunscreen.
- Take extra water to any outdoor activities. Remind your older children to drink even if they say they are not thirsty. Remember that nursing babies and formula fed babies under 6 months of age don’t need extra fluids. Breast feeding and bottle feeding will provide the fluids they need.
- Interrupt play and give your child a drink. Use Popsicles, shaved ice and juice, fun straws, and other creative, fun ways to encourage fluids for older children.
- Be your child’s advocate if he or she is participating in sports practices or games during heat waves. Children and teens should cut back their practice time and take more frequent breaks during games. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) tells coaches and parents that a child should be well hydrated before a practice or game and should drink often, about every 20 minutes. The AAP recommends five ounces of cool water every 20 minutes for a child weighing under 90 pounds and 9 oz for a child weighing over 90 pounds. Be sure that children drink after the activity to replace fluids that were lost. FYI: an ounce is about 2 gulps.
- Be sure that coaches have the philosophy of no limited water intake and know the signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses. All coaches should take precaution during days of extreme heat, be sure that your child’s coach does! (I have been the crazy Mom watching the football practice to be sure the kids were getting water breaks!)
- Prickly heat rash are small red bumps that are common in young children in areas with perspiration. It is often seen in the crooks of elbows, back necks, and on tummys. Dress your child lightly in breathable fabrics, and keep the area dry and cool.
- Never leave your child in the car seat in the car even for a short time…“Beat the heat and check the back seat”
Signs of dehydration include:
- Dry or tacky mouth
- Muscle cramps
Signs of heat exhaustion may include:
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Profuse sweating
- Rapid, weak pulse
- Dark-colored urine
- Cool, moist, pale skin
Signs of Heat Stroke may include: (call 911 immediately)
- Dry hot skin
- Extremely high body temperature
- No sweating
- Rapid weak pulse
If your child is mildly dehydrated or has some minor signs of heat exhaustion, bring them to a cool place, give cool fluids to drink, cool them off with a cool bath or wet cloths placed on their neck and groin area. If your child does not feel better or has any signs of severe heat exhaustion or heat stroke, do not wait…call 911.
So on days like today, sit back, dress cool, relax, stay inside, play something quiet and drink a big glass of lemonade, or maybe a Popsicle, the heat is a perfect excuse to slow it down and keep it simple. Hmmm ice cream for dinner anyone?
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.