Stay Safe in Hot Weather
Extreme heat can make children sick in many ways, including dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
It is possible to safely participate in outdoor activities during the summer heat. To help protect kids from heat illness::
- Stay hydrated
- Dress lightly
- Provide shade in play areas
- Plan for extra rest time
- Cool off
- Prevent the effects of sun exposure
Weather monitoring resources:
Staff can use the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Child Care Weather Watch resource to help understand words used in weather forecast. This resource, along with local forecasts, can help staff monitor the temperature, humidity, and air quality. To stay up to date on current conditions: https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/Files/HCCI/weatherwatch.pdf
Check the Air Quality Index at http://airnow.gov and subscribe to EnviroFlash. This service from the US Environmental Protection Agency and state/local environmental agencies provides daily emails with information about local air quality. Poor air quality can negatively affect children with asthma and other special health care needs.
Check the forecast for the UV Index at https://www.epa.gov/enviro/uv-index-overview to limit exposure to the sun on days when the Index is high.
Sign up to receive hourly weather forecasts from the National Weather Service on a computer or mobile phone. The National Weather Service (NWS) provides up-to-date weather information on all advisories and warnings. It also provides safety tips for caregivers/teachers to use as a tool in determining when weather conditions are comfortable for outdoor play. www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml
Encourage children to drink water regularly and have it readily available—even before they ask for it.
Infants: On hot days, infants receiving breast milk in a bottle can be given additional breast milk in a bottle, but they should not be given water—especially in the first six months of life. Infants receiving formula can be given additional formula in a bottle.
Toddlers and preschool children: Provide regularly scheduled water breaks to encourage all children to drink during active play, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Fluoridated water (bottled or from the faucet) can reduce the risk of early childhood caries and is the best drink choice for young children in between meals.
CFOC Standards: https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/188.8.131.52
National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/NCECHW/Pages/National-Center-on-Early-Childhood-Health-and-Wellness.aspx