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Tips to help keep kids cool in hot weather

When temperatures soar, many children are at risk of dangerous heat-related illnesses.
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As a parent or caregiver there are plenty of ways to ensure kids stay cool in the warmer weather.

Here are some tips to help:

Stay hydrated 

  • Children should stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary, carbonated and caffeinated drinks to reduce risk of dehydration. Fill water bottles halfway then add ice cubes so water stays cool.  
  • Families can eat raw fruits and vegetables. These foods help cool the body and keep kids hydrated.
  • Keep your food in a safe temperature zone. Use ice packs to keep picnic foods cool, particularly foods that may spoil easily such as dairy, meat or prepared dips.

Protect yourself

  • Avoid being outdoors at the hottest time of the day (approximately 3pm).
  • Pack sunscreen, sun hats and sunglasses for the whole family.
  • Dress for the weather. Dress children in light weight breathable materials. If children are outdoors, they can wear long sleeves to protect themselves from the sun. Spend as much time in the shade as possible.   
  • Keep long hair tied up or in braids to allow as much air as possible to evaporate sweat.
  • Keep room temperatures down. If you have air conditioning, set it to maintain a comfortable temperature. No air conditioning? Use fans to circulate air and keep blinds or curtains closed to reflect out sunshine and keep rooms cool. 

Plan cool activities

  • Head to an air-conditioned library or community centre for playtime. Look for splash-pads, waterparks or pools suitable for young children. 

Know the signs

  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness so you can identify problems early on and seek help: severe headache, confusion, unsteadiness, loss of thirst, nausea/vomiting, dark urine or no urine, and severe lethargy. 
  • See your doctor or call 8-1-1 for advice if your child has a severe headache, confusion or unsteadiness. If your child is severely lethargic, go to your closest emergency department or call 9-1-1.
BC Children's Hospital
Children's Health
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