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10 tips for keeping children safe during a heatwave

Hot weather is fabulous, a wonderful trip to the beach or enjoying time in the garden! However, when temperatures skyrocket it can become dangerous.

With this in mind, we have compiled 10 heat safety tips for keeping children safe in a heatwave. 

  1. Never leave children unsupervised in parked cars 

    Even in less threatening temperatures, vehicles can rapidly heat up to dangerous temperatures. A child left inside a car is at risk of severe heat-related illness or death, even if the windows are cracked open.

  2. Stay informed

    Listen to local news and weather channels for health, safety and weather-related updates. Follow the guidance from local officials. Also monitor those with any underlying health conditions as this increases the risk of heat stroke and exhaustion.

  3. Light clothing, heavy sunscreen

    Choose lightweight, light-coloured, and breathable fabrics (such as cotton), and use lots of suncream to protect you and your child from the heat and potential sunburn. 

  4. Drink lots of fluids

    Remember to drink plenty of liquids, regardless of your activity level. Check your baby’s nappy for concentrated (dark in color) urine, which can indicate dehydration. 

  5. Know how to identify heat-related illnesses

    Look for signs of heat-related illnesses/conditions such as heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps, and severe sunburn. If children show these symptoms, seek medical assistance. Refer to the NHS website for a complete list of health conditions caused by extreme heat exposure, and how to remedy them.

  6. Get lots of rest

    Try and limit activities. Make sure that children get lots of rest when they are active. NHS advises to “try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm.”

  7. Keep children entertained

    Children may become anxious or restless from being kept indoors. Plan for indoor activities and games. Playing in a paddling pool is a good way to keep children cool, ensure the pool is kept under the shade during hot weather and at all times watchfully supervise children.

  8. Reassure children

    Children may be stressed by the heat. Remember that children take their cues from their parents and caregivers, so try to keep calm and answer their questions openly and honestly. Also stick to regular bath and sleep times for your child.

  9. House safety/cooling tips

    During the day, keep rooms cool by closing blinds/curtains, especially in rooms facing the sun. Using a fan to circulate air in the room is beneficial.Review your child’s school sun policy. 

  10. Read NHS guidance for babies

The NHS advises giving your baby a cool bath before bedtime and keeping nightwear to a minimum and if your baby kicks and pushes off covers during the night consider putting them in just a nappy with a single well-secured sheet, that will not work loose, cover their face or get entangled during the night. Your baby will sleep most comfortably at room temperature between 16C and 20C, a nursery thermometer will help you monitor the temperature of the baby’s room.

For additional information view NHS Heatwave advice.

This blog has been repurposed from Save the Children US for our UK website.

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