Children and some vulnerable adults cannot control their body temperature as efficiently during hot weather and so can be at risk of ill-health from heat. Heat- related illness can range […]

Children and some vulnerable adults cannot control their body temperature as efficiently during hot weather and so can be at risk of ill-health from heat. Heat- related illness can range from mild heat stress to potentially life-threatening heatstroke. The main risk from heat is dehydration (not having enough water in the body). If sensible precautions are taken children and adults are unlikely to be adversely affected by hot conditions.

See below for our best tips for protecting children during these hotter months.

Protecting children outdoors:

During periods of high temperature, the following steps should be taken:

  • Children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are in excess of 30°C.
  • Encourage children playing outdoors to stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Children should wear loose, light-coloured clothing to help keep cool and sunhats with wide brims to avoid sunburn.
  • Use sunscreen (at least factor 15 with UVA protection) to protect skin if children are playing or taking lessons outdoors for more than 20 minutes.
  • Provide children with plenty of water (such as water from a cold tap) and encourage them to drink more than usual when conditions are hot.

Protecting children indoors:

During periods of high temperature, the following steps should be taken:

  • Open windows as early as possible in the morning before children arrive, 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.
  • Almost close windows when the outdoor air becomes warmer than the air indoors – this should help keep the heat out while allowing adequate ventilation.
  • Use outdoor sun awnings if available, or close indoor blinds or curtains, but do not let them block window ventilation.
  • Keep the use of electric lighting to a minimum.
  • Switch off all electrical equipment, including computers, monitors and printers when not in use – equipment should not be left in ‘standby mode’ as this generates heat.
  • Oscillating mechanical fans can be used to increase air movement if temperatures are below 35°C – at temperatures above 35°C fans may not prevent heat-related illness and may worsen dehydration.
  • Encourage children to eat normally and drink plenty of cool water.

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