Oakville Chief of Paediatrics shares tips on protecting your child in this heat

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Published July 8, 2024 at 8:23 pm

Ontario, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills, Healthcare, heat warning, heat stroke, dehydrated,

Kids love nothing more usually than being outdoors during the summer, but blistering high temperatures can quickly prove to be dangerous if close attention isn’t being paid.

With heat warnings being issued across Halton Region and southern Ontario, Halton Healthcare is reminding residents in Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills to be extra careful when allowing children to go outside and play.

“Summer is here and it’s super exciting, but it also means the kids are outside a more and they’re more at risk for consequences of being in the heat,” said Dr. Jonathan Sam, Chief of Paediatrics at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and Georgetown Hospital, in an online video on Halton Healthcare’s feed on the social media platform X.

“First things first, kids are not little adults. They just love to play, and they play, and they play, and they play, and you don’t know how to stop them. That’s one thing that could put them at risk.”

Dr. Sam said another thing to keep in mind is that kids get dehydrated much faster.

“Adults, when they are severely dehydrated, can lose up to nine percent of their body weight. For kids, that number is 15 percent, so you can see how it can really impact their health when they’re dehydrated,” he said.

“Especially true if your kid has a chronic condition like asthma. It’s something to keep in mind.”

There are things that parents can watch for in their children when they’re playing outside in this heat.

“You might be wondering what to look out for if your kid’s getting too dehydrated or has had too much heat exposure for the day,” said Dr. Sam. “Some of the things can be really subtle, like just being really irritable and having tantrums. Maybe a bit sleepier than usual and low energy, but it can be less subtle than that.

 

“They can be a bit clumsy when they’re running around, a bit dizzy, light-headed. Certainly, cramps or headaches could be a sign as well and some kids, funny enough, will start having nausea, vomiting as a sign they’re too dehydrated and are starting to have signs for heat stroke.”

Parents must pay special attention if they notice their kid is not sweating anymore or if their urine is a dark colour.

“Especially if they have a fever as a result of heat and not something else infectious,” said Dr. Sam. “If you are caring for a child who has a high body temperature and is confused, unconscious, or has stopped sweating, call 911 immediately.”

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