Summer 2014 Health Link Online

HealthLink Online

Uniting Children, Parents, Caregivers, and Health Professionals

Heat-related Illness

Heat-related Illness

When children are in a hot environment, they can get heat-related illness. The most common problem is dehydration.

Young children have more body surface area per pound of body weight than older children and adults. They get hot more easily and lose water faster by sweating than older children and adults.

Overheating may make people very thirsty. Other signs of heat-related illness include feeling very tired, headaches, stomachaches, fever and breathing faster than usual.

Children can die when left in a vehicle. When the outside temperature is 80 degrees, the inside of a vehicle will reach nearly 110 degrees in 20 minutes. It will be hotter than 120 degrees in 60 minutes. These temperatures can kill children.

Make sure that vehicle cooling systems work well. Check every seat in the vehicle before leaving it. Be sure that no child is left behind.

If it is hot, prevent heat-related illness with these measures:

  • Have a heating, cooling, ventilation and air conditioning contractor check and fix building cooling systems to work properly.
  • Maintain the cooling systems in vehicles.
  • Provide drinking water wherever children are at play or in warm environments.
  • Take breaks from active play to cool down.
  • Wet clothing by spraying water mist from a spray bottle or have the children play in the water from sprinklers. The evaporation of the water helps to cool them. Provide shade for outdoor play areas.