Cool Rules: Preventing Heat Stress In Special Needs Children
Cool Rule #6: Block the Sun
Even mildly sunburned skin cannot properly cool the body or maintain fluid balance.
Apply sun block thirty minutes prior to going outside then reapply according to the label directions – even if it is an all day, waterproof formula.
Dress children in loose fitting clothing with a tight but breathable weave, dark colored clothes (light colors allow UV rays to penetrate), or clothing that has been treated with UV blockers.
If your child will wear a hat and sunglasses then use them during outside play.
Limit outdoor activities between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun is at its most intense.
Practice sunburn prevention every time your child is outside. Clouds might seem to block the sun’s intensity, but 80% of Ultra Violet (UV) rays can still penetrate and burn skin.
Bring a clip-on or sand umbrella but remember that water, sand and concrete reflect the sun up and sunburn still occurs in the shade.
If your child’s skin is pink and warm and doesn’t return to its normal color and temperature with rest and cooling then he is sunburned. Outdoor exposure needs to end for the day.
Cool Rule #7: Monitor Water Sports
Playing in water is not the same as drinking water. This is a good thing since water = toilet in kid’s math. Frequent hydration breaks are still necessary.
Water reflects UV rays, even on cloudy days. Sunburn happens more quickly in and near the water.
Wet clothes are less effective at blocking UV rays than dry clothes.
If the water temperature is less than the air temperature increased urination and dehydration can occur, even on a hot day or while wearing a full or partial wetsuit.
Keep It Cool, Baby: Preventing Heat Stress in Infants
Infants are at very high risk for dehydration and heat related illness because their little bodies are even less efficient at self cooling and storing fluids than children’s. Sun block should not be used in infants less than six months of age and even mild sunburn in an infant under the age of one should be checked by a physician. Breastfed babies might not be comfortable with skin to skin contact when you’re both sweaty and overheated. Place a piece of lightweight fabric between you and the baby if she acts too uncomfortable to nurse. Infants might change their feeding patterns to frequent, small feeds and sleep more when it’s hot, then feed longer at night. But, watch carefully to make certain that your infant is not so sleepy she cannot wake up, is refusing to eat, or is so irritable that she cannot be comforted. You should still see 6-8 wet diapers a day, and her urine should still be clear to pale yellow and odorless. Infants can go from a little heat stressed to dangerously heat stressed very quickly so keep that baby cool, fed, and out of the sun.
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