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Tips To Prevent Your 5-Year-Old From Getting a Heat Stroke

Dr Aditi Shah Dr Aditi Shah 3 Mins Read

Dr Aditi Shah Dr Aditi Shah


Does your kid insist on playing outdoors in summer? Here's how you can protect him from heat stroke

Toddler to Primary
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Tips To Prevent Your 5-Year-Old From Getting a Heat Stroke

The sun is shining brightly in the sky even as I am writing this article. At times, even adults don't realize that they can get dehydrated. The effect of the sun on little children is even worse.

Summer has been exceptionally hot over the past few years. Children are exposed to heat rather unnecessarily. In schools, the practice for sports day takes place on open grounds under the unrelenting sun during this season. And, during vacations, parents enroll kids in classes for football, tennis, etc., where again they are exposed to the sun. Summer is a time for vacations and playing outdoors is natural and necessary. But, it's the duty of parents to make sure that their kids are not exposed to extreme temperatures and heat-related illnesses.

Increased risk factors

Children are at a higher risk for developing heat-related illnesses than adults because of several reasons.

  • They have a higher surface area to body mass ratio.
  • The temperature at which they start sweating is high. By the time they start perspiring, their core body temperature has risen.
  • Their sweat rate is lower.
  • They take longer to acclimatize to warmer weather.
  • Children feel thirsty only after 2 to 3 percent dehydration has set in, so thirst is not a reliable indicator for hydration.
  • If a child has vomiting or loose motions, he will get dehydrated much faster.

What causes heat stroke?

Heat stroke is a medical emergency when the core body temperature is more than 104°F/40°C. This damages different organs of the body and, at times proves fatal.

Symptoms of heat stroke

Loss of consciousness or altered behavior, convulsions, and dry, hot skin.

How to prevent your child from getting heat stroke?

These simple techniques will help children stay safe this summer and prevent being affected by sunstroke:

  • Children should be kept well-hydrated before and during travel/exercise by giving them regular sips of water.
  • Outdoor games, practice sessions, or competitions should be scheduled early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
  • During exercise, children should drink fluids every 20 minutes. Fluid intake should be a minimum of 5 oz for 40 kg, 9 oz for 60 kg, and 10 to 12 oz for over 60 kg of body weight to prevent dehydration.
  • Activities happening on open grounds should be interspersed with scheduled breaks every 20-30 minutes.
  • It is sufficient to drink plain water if the duration of exercise is less than 1 hour.
  • If the duration of exercise and exposure to the sun is more than 1 hour, fluids with electrolytes and carbohydrates must be provided.
  • Proper clothing like cotton T-shirts and shorts help in heat dissipation. Avoid putting on too many clothes. Avoid tight helmets. Always cover the head with a cap when stepping out in the sun.
  • Medical assistance and first aid kits should be available on an urgent, SOS basis at sports facilities.

If a child develops any of these symptoms, move him to a cooler environment at once, cool the body with a fan, remove excess clothing, or place ice over the groin/axilla (underarm). Provide the child with plenty of fluids/oral rehydration solutions.

If the child vomits or develops signs of clouding of consciousness, rush the child to a nearby hospital where emergency medicine and intravenous fluids can be administered and the child can be monitored closely.

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