Dehydration can occur when kids lose more body fluid by sweating or urinating than they replace by drinking. When a child is dehydrated, this increases the risk of other heat-related illnesses as it interferes with the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade, slide on sunglasses.
Some symptoms of dehydration to look out for:
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Little-to-no urine output
In severe cases, dehydration can cause:
- Sunken eyes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lethargy (lack of energy)
If your child is dehydrated, make sure to give them plenty of water and keep them in a cool, shady area. If they do not feel better soon, take them to see a doctor.
Sunburn is a type of skin damage that occurs when your kid’s unprotected skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Sunburn can damage the DNA of skin cells, which can lead to moles or eventually, skin cancer. Keep in mind that any part of the body can burn; if skin is exposed to the sun and is unprotected, it is at risk of sunburn.
Babies and small children have very sensitive skin and can burn in as little as 20 minutes. Children with fair skin or red hair are also more at risk for sun damage.
If your kid does get sunburn, make sure to keep them out of the sun and have them drink plenty of water. For more serious burns you can carefully apply a cold compress or aloe vera to help soothe the skin.
If blisters develop on your child’s skin then make sure you make an appointment with their doctor.
Fortunately, avoiding sunburn is easy. Here are some precautions to take:
- Apply sunscreen regularly – make sure you apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside and reapply frequently (especially if your kid is swimming or sweating!).
- Cover up – make sure your kid is wearing sun-protective gear and clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat or light-coloured clothing with long sleeves.
- Avoid the sun during peak hours – since the sun is strongest from 10am to 3pm, encourage your kids to play in the shade or indoors during that time.
- Eye protection – it is possible for your kid to get sunburn in their eyes so make sure they are wearing sunglasses with ultraviolent protection (you can find some snazzy and colourful shades so that they are inclined to wear them!).
Other common heat-related illnesses
Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the most common risks for kids and teens who engage in physical activity in the sun for a long period of time. These occur when kids are very dehydrated.
Here’s some advice to prevent heat-related illnesses from happening:
- Limit outdoor activities during peak sun hours
- Rest often in shady areas or go to an air-conditioned space
- Provide lots of fluids for your children such as water and clear juice
- Never leave kids or pets alone in a car, even for a few minutes!
Encourage your kids to be sun safe with this fun and easy saying:
Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide!
Slip on a shirt
Slop on some sunscreen
Slap on a hat
Slide on sunglasses
For more information on sun safety, please visit: AboutKidsHealth or the AKH Summer Safety page.