Protecting children from extreme heat

With the weather bureau predicting a fiercely hot day today, RCH paediatrician Dr Sarah McNab is encouraging families to have their heat plan ready.

Young children are more vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat, Sarah says. And those who are ill may be even more at risk, especially if they are already dehydrated due to vomiting and diarrhoea associated with common childhood illnesses.

Sarah says she will be grabbing the chance to remind families to keep their children cool and asking them what their plans are to deal with extreme heat.

“We all talk about the weather. When you talk about the weather, think about your heat plan as well. Do you have airconditioning at home? What are you planning to do to keep your children cool on extreme days?’’ Sarah says.

“Children dehydrate more quickly than adults and may be too young to tell you they are thirsty. With a bit of planning, parents can protect their children from our extreme heat days.’’

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts Melbourne is likely to hit higher than average day and night temperatures this summer.

Help keep your children cool:

  1. Put sunscreen and hats on children
  2. Give children lots of fluids to drink – water is best for children. Babies less than six months should be breast or bottle-fed more often
  3. Dress children for warm weather. Babies only need a nappy and singlet on a hot day
  4. On extremely hot days, go to airconditioned places if possible – local libraries, community centres, indoor play areas and pools, and shopping centres

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