Tips for keeping kids healthy and safe in extreme heat – The Cincinnati Enquirer


Hot weather is back in Greater Cincinnati this week, with a National Weather Service advisory issued for Wednesday and highs of at least 90 degrees forecast through Sunday.
High temperatures pose the threat of heat-related illnesses. One of the most at-risk groups is kids and teenagers. They typically absorb heat more quickly than adults, Dawne Gardner, an injury prevention senior specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, told The Enquirer in an email. Due to their small size, young children’s body temperatures can heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s in hot weather, she added.
As we get through the latest heat wave, we’ve compiled tips from Gardner, the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for keeping yourself and your kids healthy in extreme heat.
Know the signs: Here’s how to recognize heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses
Experts: Extreme heat is dangerous for more than children, elderly. How to know if you’re at risk
The Ohio Department of Health recommends adults drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water, and stick to cool, not overly cold, beverages to cool down. 
Kids should drink water frequently before playing outside and should not feel thirsty, Gardner says. Parents should also encourage children to drink water during outdoor activities, around every 15 to 20 minutes. The CDC recommends that kids avoid sugary drinks in extreme heat.
For adults, it’s also advised to avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages if you’re going to be out in the heat, as they can add to dehydration and intensify the effects of heat-related illnesses. If you work outside, it’s recommended to drink two to four glasses of water each hour.
Summer is in full swing, which means so are outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking and swimming. However, in extreme heat, Gardner recommends taking it easy during the hottest hours of the day and planning outdoor activities for the early morning or evening instead.
Adults, children and infants can wear loose, light-colored clothing to stay cool. It’s also recommended to wear hats, sunglasses and a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays with at least 15 SPF.
Children playing outside should take a five- to 10-minute break in a cool, shaded place, preferably in an air-conditioned environment, after every 20 minutes of outdoor activity, Gardner says.
The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness also warns against kids and teens participating in sporting events or practices during the hottest hours of the day.
Beat the heat: Try these Cincinnati-area cooling centers and public pools
Cool down: Our list of Cincinnati water parks and spraygrounds
Gardner encourages parents to remember the acronym “A.C.T.” to avoid heat-related illnesses.
A: Avoid heatstroke-related illnesses and death by never leaving your child alone in a car. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees within just 10 minutes even if a window is cracked open, the Health Department website states. Gardner also advises to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so children can’t get inside. 
C: Create reminders to avoid leaving your child in the car. Gardner recommends putting something that’s necessary for your final destination – such as a briefcase, purse or cell phone – in the backseat next to your child. She also encourages parents to “Look Before You Lock” every time they get out of the car.
T: Take action. Call 911 if you see a child alone in a car, Gardner says. “One call could save a life.”
Kids aren’t the only ones at risk for heat-related illnesses in hot weather. The Ohio Department of Health recommends checking in with your elderly or at-risk neighbors, such as those with chronic medical conditions.
Cooling centers can be a good way to cool down if you don’t have access to air conditioning. See our list of Greater Cincinnati centers here.

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