Keeping children safe when it's this hot - Tucson News Now

Keeping children safe when it's this hot

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Heat stroke can kill.

When it gets this hot, it just takes common sense to stay out of trouble.

That means we really need to watch out for our children, and it's not only about staying as cool as possible and staying hydrated.

Doctors say prevention works best.  Just keep children out of the heat, if you can.

"I think just keeping them out of the heat is really critical this time of year. We really need to keep them out of the heat and hydrated as well. Shaded. If they do need to be in the heat then short periods of time.  Sunscreen. But anytime that somebody's going to be in the heat for prolonged periods of time, they're really at risk," says Carondelet St. Mary's Hospital Emergency Medical Director Dr. Herb McReynolds.   

He says children under the age of two should not be out in this heat at all.

They overheat more easily because they have not developed the mechanisms they need that help keep them from overheating.

Emergency rooms can see a lot of people suffering from heat-related illnesses this time of year.

Dr. McReynolds says it's mostly border crossers who may have spent days in the desert, and it's people who work out in the heat such as roofers and road workers. 

However, children can end up in the ER too, if we're not watching for the signs that they are getting too hot.

Children can show the same signs of overheating as adults.

Call 911 if anyone is showing the symptoms of heat stroke.

"Are they seeming a little bit more lethargic, again, flushed skin, maybe losing the ability to sweat, vomiting, nausea, dizziness--all those are things or signs that adults suffer as well, but might not be readily recognized in children, especially if a bunch of children are playing together and they may not be supervised," says

Children have to have water available at all times when it's this hot.

Dr. McReynolds recommends eight ounces of water every 15 minutes for people out in the heat.

He says a mix of an electrolyte drink and water helps too.

He also says there are drinks children should not have, like soda.

"For children, the things to stay away from are the sugary drinks with a lot of caffeine. That's going to change their fluid balance. They will end up urinating more and becoming more dehydrated. So I think, again-- just like adults--they really need to stick to water and the weaker electrolyte solutions," Dr. McReynolds says.

In this desert heat, it's essential that children be supervised and that they learn how to be safe.

Even two-year-olds can learn a few things about sun safety.

"When we are walking we again notice the redness, or if a friend is sweating, our other children will tell them--look you're sweating. Let's go and get some water. Let's get in the shade. In the afternoon our playground too is a lot of sun. So we'll tell them to touch and feel carefully. You know, does it feel safe to touch," says YMCA Holsclaw Family Child Care Center preschool teacher Alma Espinoza.

Dr. McReynolds says, of course, call 911 immediately if anyone, no matter the age, is unconscious.

There are other signs of heat stroke.

He says, call 911 if a person is unresponsive, doesn't seem to know you, is throwing up repeatedly.

McReynolds says we should keep an eye on older people too.

He says while children under age two have not developed their ability to regulate yet, older people often have lost that ability and can overheat easily.

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