The summer sun can be fun, but also deadly for young children. There are three main types of heat-related conditions: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. While all are troublesome, heat cramps tend to be the least serious of the three, though if left untreated, will grow in severity to heat exhaustion and then a heatstroke. Children and babies under the age of four are the most at risk for developing heat exhaustion. A heatstroke, most medical experts say, is life-threatening.
Heat cramps are painful, yet short-term muscle cramps in the stomach, legs, or arms that occur after young children exercise or play in extreme heat, according to Kids Health. Usually, children are most at risk if they aren't consuming enough fluids and are sweating profusely. This leads to low salt levels in the body, which causes muscle cramps. Simply, simply take the children to an air-conditioned or cool area where they can rest and stretch their muscles. You should also have them drink plenty of fluids.
If left untreated, heat cramps will turn into heat exhaustion. Many of the most common symptoms of heat exhaustion are: weakness, heightened thirst, dizziness, headache, confusion, rapid or weak pulse, fatigue, heavy sweating, nausea, clammy skin, dark-colored urine, and rapid heartbeat. Some of the more severe symptoms include: vomiting and fainting.
Like with heat cramps, you should bring your students to a shaded or cool area to lower their hiked-up body temperature and encourage them to drink fluids. Meanwhile, remove any excessive clothing the children are wearing, and put a cold cloth or water on their skin. If they are still not feeling better within half an hour, you should seek medical help immediately. This is because, if left untreated, this condition will worsen into a heatstroke, which can be fatal for young children.
When children are experiencing a heatstroke, their body does not have the power to control its own temperature, where it can soar well above 106 degrees - which is deadly. While many of the symptoms are the same as heat exhaustion, they are far more severe. They can result in a loss of consciousness or seizure.
Instructors should always seek immediate medical help in this situation to prevent death. Unfortunately, one of the most common forms of heatstroke each summer occurs when adults leave young children in hot cars. Be cautious and encourage your students' parents to do the same to mitigate the risk of this preventable tragedy.
How can I help prevent heat-related illnesses?
The best ways to prevent heat-related illnesses in your classroom are to pay attention to the weather and your students' exposure to the sun. Avoid bringing your students out into an unshaded play area if the temperatures are upwards of 78 degrees or more. Furthermore, limit their time outdoors and encourage them to drink plenty of fluids.
Notice what kind of clothing they are wearing, as well. If they are wearing heavy or dark fabrics, have them to change or stay in cool areas to avoid overheating. You can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting your students from the dangers of the summer sun. Follow these tips to keep your students safe this season!
At ProSolutions Training, we provide easy to access online child care training that will support each of our clients in their chosen field of early childhood education. Contact us today to learn more about our dynamic course catalog for CDA training and social service classes as well!