DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The summer heat has arrived in North Texas, with temperatures over the weekend expected to reach triple digits for the first time this year. Heat-related dehydration in children can be a big problem, but there are ways for parents to stay on top of things and keep kids safe while outdoors.
As temperatures outside get hotter, children need to drink more water. Doctors say that the key is to start prehydrating before heading out into the sun, especially on days like this weekend when low temperatures will still be rather warm. Water is best, but drinks with electrolytes are fine for older kids.
Pediatric sports medicine expert Dr. Troy Smurawa said, “When they exercise outside, one of the key things that we recognize is to make sure that they are taking frequent water breaks. We usually recommend every 15 to 20 minutes. It also helps to get out of the sun and into the shade.”
The symptoms of dehydration in children can include tiredness, dizziness and headaches.
Health care professionals recommend wearing light and loose-fitting clothes. Smurawa also suggested that kids play outdoors early in the morning or later in the evening, avoiding the hours between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. when the sun is at its peak and temperatures are the hottest.
When it comes to sunscreen, timing is one of the most important things. Doctors said that it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for sunscreen to set into the skin and provide the most benefit, so apply it early. And sunscreen does wear off, so experts said that you should reapply every two hours.
Any form of sunscreen will work, as long as you pay attention to the SPF rating. “It doesn’t matter if it is a spray, a lotion or a stick roll-on. It all works the same, as long as you look and make sure that it has at least 15 SPF and apply it liberally to all the areas that are exposed to the sun,” Smurawa said.
Sunscreen does have an expiration date, so make sure to check on that before heading outside.
There is a Heat Advisory in effect across North Texas starting at noon on Friday, and it will likely extend through Sunday. The temperatures are expected to feel well above 100 degrees, so following these safety tips will help keep you and your family safe from the summer sun.