Tips for keeping kids safe from heat exhaustion

Hot, sunny days can be dangerous, especially for kids.
Tips for keeping kids safe from heat exhaustion
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 7:23 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - With school out, temperatures rising and the sun shining, kids are going to be playing outside. But hot, sunny days can be dangerous, especially for kids.

“Heat stroke can be very life-threatening,” said Susie Sellers, the training officer at St. Joseph’s Ambulance Services. “Heat exhaustion, of course, is more common, so when you get to those symptoms of heat exhaustion they need to be treated right away.”

Sellers said there are warning signs parents need to look out for to make sure their kids are safe from the heat. “Excessive sweating too the point where they stop sweating would be severe,” she said. “If kids start to get flushed and they just don’t act right, they get lethargic.”

In extreme cases, Sellers said, kids won’t even want to drink water. “There is a point where you get so dehydrated, you almost get to the point where you’re confused and too lethargic to drink,” she said. “With kids, because they can’t voice how they feel a lot of times, they don’t understand that. They just get really tired, want to lay down and go to sleep and not drink.”

That’s dangerous, because staying hydrated is one of the best best ways to prevent and treat heat exhaustion. “The more water they have, the more they can sweat and the more they can tolerate the heat,” Sellers said.”

So what should parents do if they start to see these symptoms?

“The best thing is getting them away from the exposure, out of the heat, cooling them down,” Sellers said. “Not necessarily dumping them in ice, but definitely getting the hot clothes off, cool water, cold packs.”

Sellers advised that if you’re worried your child may be experiencing heat stroke, you should call 911. “It’s better to be overcautious,” she said. “We would rather you call us and say ‘Hey, come check us out,’ rather than waiting till it’s too late. And when you talk about heatstroke, you’re talking about a person that’s no longer conscious, maybe even trouble breathing, seizure like activity, things like that. And that is life threatening, so you don’t want to get to that point.”

In Parkersburg, Chase Campbell, WTAP News.