How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion in Kids

Prevent Heat Exhaustion in Kids: 3 Ways to Keep Kids Cool as a Cucumber this Summer!

Summer is a great time for kids in San Diego. Whether you’re headed to Balboa Park, La Jolla Shores, or for a hike up Cowles Mountain, there are many opportunities for kids to play and overheat in San Diego. Many kids will play endlessly if given the opportunity. However, those hot late-summer San Diego days can take their toll on your child’s health.

It can be difficult to get kids to take a break when they need to in order to stay cool, so we’ve put together a few simple ways to cool kids off and prevent heat exhaustion in kids all summer long.

1. Cool Kids Off From the Inside Out:

Whether you’re headed for a picnic at Balboa Park or have kids playing hard in the backyard, provide tasty incentives for your kids to get out of the sun and take a break. Offer them cold fruit, frozen snacks, and cold drinks so that they will want to have a seat and cool off.

  • Grapes, watermelon, and oranges are a juicy way to get more water into your kids, and are plentiful in San Diego during the summer.
  • Freeze fruit such as bananas, grapes, and kiwi slices the night before for a frozen treat. These are easy to pack in a picnic basket or lunch bag and won’t get messy if they thaw before you can eat them.
  • Offer plenty of water to make sure kids stay hydrated. Add a fun twist like strawberries, lemon, or cucumber to water to keep kids interested and coming back for more!

“Provide tasty incentives such as bananas, kiwis, and strawberries to get kids to take a break and get out of the sun.”

2. Set Up a Cooling Station For Your Kids:

Summer is prime time for sports camps and playground parties for kids in San Diego. When your kids stop for a break, have easy ways for them to cool off quickly before they are on the go again. Here are some speedy ways to cool kids down:

  • Keep ice packs or cold towels available in a cooler for kids to grab for a quick cool down. Apply them to wrists and the backs of their necks when they stop for a break. This is great for summer soccer and sports tournaments where kids are running around and heating up. They often only have a few minutes to take a break and cool off during the game and will welcome the quick cold relief!
  • Fill water toys with ice water at your next playground party. Kids will have fun squirting each other while getting a blast of cold water to cool them down!
  • When kids are at home this summer, running around and heating up outside, have a bucket of cold water they can dunk their feet in. Cold feet will chill out their entire body and prevent heat exhaustion in kids.

“Have a bucket of cold water where kids can dunk their feet in. Cold feet will chill out their entire body.”

3. Get Shady: Activities for Kids in the Shade

If you’re headed to the beach or hiking in east county, shade can be limited and you will need to bring your own to keep cool. If a park is your destination, most of them have covered picnic areas and large trees. They key is to provide kids with an alternative to running around in the sun, while still being outside with the others.

  • At the beach, pack an umbrella or canopy so that kids can get out of the sun for a break. Although they have the ocean to cool them off, being exposed to the sun for long periods of time can still cause dehydration and heat exhaustion. Set up the sand toys under an umbrella where kids can sit and build their masterpiece while cooling off.
  • If you’re headed to any of our wonderful community parks in San Diego, bring puzzles and games kids can play under a canopy or the shade of a tree. This will give kids something to do together and they won’t feel like they have to take a “time out” to relax and cool off.
  • Hiking during the summer in San Diego can get a bit toasty. If you’re going to hike one of the trails in East County, plan for early morning or evening so that you and your kids aren’t hiking in the hottest part of the day. Even hikes along the coast at Torrey Pines or Cabrillo Point still don’t offer much shade, but there is often an ocean breeze and the temps are much cooler than in East County. Bring your own shade in the form of hats and full-coverage, loose clothing. Protecting your kids’ skin from the sun will have a big impact on keeping them cool while hiking and preventing heat exhaustion.

“Plan hikes for early morning or evening, so you’re not hiking with children during the hottest part of the day.”

If your child has specific needs or struggles regarding staying healthy and hydrated during the summer, contact your Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups doctor. They can work with you to put together a plan that will meet your active child’s health needs all summer long!

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