Keeping children safe in a heatwave
As the hot weather is set to continue for some time and heatwave warnings are in place, we wanted to pass on simple messages on looking after children in a heatwave.
· Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
· Wear a hat if you go outside
· Stay in the shade
· Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
· Do not leave children unattended in stationary cars
Cool yourself down:
· Drink plenty of cold drinks
· Eat cold foods, such as fruit and salad
· Sprinkle water over skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck
Keep your home cool:
· Keep sunlit windows closed, open when it starts to get cooler
· Keep curtains or blinds drawn to keep the sun out
· Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment
There are also simple things you can do to keep children comfortable inside and outside
- On very hot days (ie where temperatures are in excess of 30°C), children should not take part in vigorous physical activity.
- Children playing outdoors should be encouraged to stay in the shade as much as possible.
- Loose, light-coloured clothing should be worn to help children keep cool and hats of a closed construction with wide brims should be worn to avoid sunburn.
- Thin clothing or suncream should be used to protect skin if children are playing or taking lessons outdoors for more than 20 minutes.
must be provided with plenty of cool water *and encouraged to drink more
than usual when conditions are hot.
*The temperature of water supplied from the cold tap is adequate for this purpose.
Measures to avoid indoor spaces becoming unnecessarily hot are as follows.
- Windows and other ventilation openings should be opened during the cool of early morning or preferably overnight to allow stored heat to escape from the building. It is important to check insurance conditions and the need for security if windows are to be left open overnight.
- Windows and other ventilation openings should not be closed, but their openings reduced when the outdoor air becomes warmer than the air indoors. This should help keep rooms cool whilst allowing adequate ventilation .
- Use outdoor sun awnings if available, or indoor blinds, but do not let solar shading devices block ventilation openings or windows.
- Keep the use of electric lighting to a minimum during heatwaves.
- All electrical equipment, including computers, monitors and printers should be switched off when not in use and should not be left in ‘standby mode’. Electrical equipment, when left on, or in 'standby' mode generates heat.
Children aged under 4 years old can be particularly vulnerable to the heat and so it is important to keep them cool and to watch for signs of heat stress.
Children suffering from heat stress will show general signs of discomfort (including those listed below for heat exhaustion). These signs will worsen with physical activity or if left untreated and can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion: Signs of heat exhaustion include the following.
- Hot, red and dry skin.
Sweating is an essential means of cooling and once this stops a child is at serious risk of developing heatstroke. Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion or heat stress is left untreated, but it can also occur suddenly and without warning.
The following steps to reduce body temperature should be taken at once.
- Move the child to as cool a room as possible.
- Sponge the child with cool, (not cold) water and, if available, place cold packs around the neck and in the armpits.
- Place the child near a fan.
If a child shows signs of confusion, follow the steps above. If a child loses consciousness, place the child in the recovery position and follow the steps above. In both cases, call 999 or 112 for emergency medical assistance.
More information can be found at: http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/EmergencyResponse/ExtremeWeatherEventsAndNaturalDisasters/Heatwaves/heatwaves_teachers/
Tips for summer safety in general can be found at: http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/summerhealth/Pages/Summerhealthhome.aspx?WT.mc_id=71001