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Heat safety: How to protect your kids from rising temperatures

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Posted at 11:10 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 07:36:12-04

INDIANAPOLIS — As temperatures begin to rise, children should be cared for when going outside.

according to Emergency Medicine physician at Riley Children's Health Dr. Kara Kowalczyk.

"The difference with kids is they can't always communicate how they're feeling," Kowalczyk said. "They can't always say that they're too hot or ask for a drink. Kids don't sweat as much as adults and so they're going to, unfortunately, suffer heat exhaustion faster than adults."

Kowalczyk is an emergency medicine physician at Riley Children's Health. She said children, much like adults, can experience a heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Both of these can be extremely harmful to kids and even cause neurologic changes.

In order to protect kids, adults should check how hot the surfaces a child is playing on before the child goes on them.

"It is possible to get burned from really hot playground equipment or really hot pavement, and so make sure that you touch the things before you send your kids out to play barefoot," Kowalczyk said. "Put your hand down, see if it's too hot to keep your hand down. If it is, it's going to be too hot for them to play."

Kowalczyk said in order to help make sure children don't get burned from playing at the playground, it is best to take them to these areas earlier in the day or later in the evening as the temperature lowers. If you suspect your child is dehydrated, make sure to give them plenty of water, take them to a cooler area, and if the child's symptoms are not improving, call 911.

Signs of dehydration:

  • Very thirsty
  • Decreased urine output
  • Not producing tears when crying
  • Feeling dizzy, tired, or lightheaded
  • Dry mouth, lips, and eyes
  • Nausea
  • Headaches