tips to beat the heat

Keep your preschool age kids safe this summer with these simple tips to keep them cool and avoid heat related illnesses while at play.

Sun Safety: Avoiding Heat Stress
Little bodies heat up quickly when the mercury rises. Try these simple tips to help your preschooler keep her cool while at play this summer.

Sunburn isn't the only concern for parents during warm months. Heat injuries like heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke can be caused by too much time playing in the hot sun. Try the following tips to help keep your kids cool and safe.

Drink Up!

Water is the best thirst quencher during warm months, so make sure your child is drinking plenty throughout her play day, and keep the following points in mind:
  • Children should not be allowed to drink caffeinated drinks like soda, or sugary juices and sports drinks, which have a diuretic affect, removing much needed water from the body.

  • Kids need to drink water frequently, even if they don't feel thirsty. Thirst is not a good measure of proper hydration.

Drink Often

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that "before prolonged physical activity" you make sure she is well hydrated. Being properly hydrated is key for preventing heat-related illness during warm weather play. "During outdoor activities, periodic drinking should be strongly enforced." Here are guidelines to consider:

Younger Children
For a child weighing 88 pounds, give your child at least 5 ounces of chilled tap water for every 20 minutes of play.

Adolescent Children
For a child weighing up to 132 pounds, provide at least 9 ounces of chilled water for every 20 minutes of activity.

And don't wait for your child to say she's thirsty before giving her water; thirst is often a sign that she is already dehydrated. Keep in mind, drinking additional water may cause your child to make more trips to the potty, but don't let that keep you from keeping her well-hydrated.


Plan Play Time

On days of high or excessive heat and humidity, it's important to schedule play before or after the hottest times of the day, typically 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The AAP recommends that "the intensity of activities that last 15 minutes or more should be reduced whenever high heat and humidity reach critical levels."

Check your local weather listings daily during the warmest months of the year to find out if a heat advisory is in effect for your area. During high heat days, plan for play before the sun is high or after the sun has begun to go down.


Play with Water

On hot summer days, water play--sprinklers, water balloons, lawn water slides, super soakers, etc.--are a cool and fun way to keep your kids from overheating while playing. As always, never leave children unsupervised when playing with water or water-based toys.

Pick Cool Clothes

During really hot days, make sure kids wear cool, comfortable clothing. One layer of lightweight, light-colored clothing made of absorbent fabric--like cotton--is best, because they "facilitate evaporation of sweat." Sweaty clothes can feel heavy, so be sure to that "sweat-saturated garments" are replaced with dry ones.

Know the Signs of Illness

It's important to know what the signs of heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke look like. Seek immediate emergency care if:
  • Your child develops an unexplained fever higher than 102°F after play

  • Your child experiences nausea, vomiting, fainting, confusion, or diarrhea

  • Your child's skin feels hot and dry, or she stops sweating all together

  • Sunburned skin looks infected

  • Your child has trouble looking at light (indicating sunburn of the cornea)
Seek Medical Attention Immediately If your child develops any of these symptoms, get her out of the sun immediately and call your pediatrician. To help bring down her body temperature have her take a cool or tepid shower, or place her on a couch and cover her with cool (not cold), damp towels. Encourage her to take sips of cool water to get her hydrated.

Read more about heat related illnesses here.

Protect Their Skin

Be Sun Smart

Important Disclaimer: This information is not meant as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a doctor with questions about your or your child's condition. does not recommend or endorse specific tests, products, procedures, opinions, or other information provided by any sponsors or other third parties. Please also see's Terms of Use.
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