2. July 2012 15:51
July is here and so is the sunshine, beckoning our young children outdoors for playtime. We agree – fresh air and outdoor play is an excellent way to encourage children to be active. Yet, the rising temperatures serve as a serious reminder that illness and child death from hyperthermia does occur.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are three main types of reactions to hot temperatures: Heatstroke or Sunstroke (Symptoms include hot, flushed skin, high fever over 105° rectally, the absence of sweating, confusion or coma, and shock); Heat Exhaustion (Symptoms include pale skin, profuse sweating, nausea, dizziness or fainting, or weakness); Heat Cramps (Symptoms include severe muscle cramps in the legs and abdomen, no fever, tightness or spasms of the hands).
Infants are at added risk. Because they are less able to sweat with heat stress, infants are at increased risk for these conditions. Heat stroke usually follows exposure to very high temperatures, like being trapped inside a hot car or being confined to a crib near a radiator.
Keep a close eye on where your child plays. Cars – though fascinating to young children – are not safe places for play. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services stresses parent awareness on prevention of hyperthermia following the death last month of a 2-year-old Burke County child who was left in an unattended vehicle. July is the peak time of year for child deaths in hot vehicles, officials say.
Play outdoors if you must. Durham Magazine recently featured “Made in the Shade,” a list of Durham community parks that offer ample shade for these hot days. Their list included Burch Avenue Park, Indian Trail, Piney Wood Park, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church playground (check online for availability), and Rockwood Park. Click here to view the list.
» Summer safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
» Click here to read prevention tips from Safe Kids North Carolina.