First Aid Facts – Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are two potentially serious conditions that can occur if babies and children get too hot.

Heat exhaustion: child becomes very hot and start to lose water or salt from their body, which leads to the symptoms listed below and generally feeling unwell.

Heatstroke: the body is no longer able to cool itself and a baby/ child’s body temperature becomes dangerously high (sunstroke is when this is caused by prolonged exposure to direct sunlight).

Babies and young children are especially vulnerable to heat stroke, particularly if they are outside for too long in very hot weather, and more so if they become dehydrated or are dressed too warmly.

Cornwall Resus are on hand to give sensible advice on how to avoid your baby becoming over heated and how to spot the signs… Heat exhaustion or heatstroke can develop quickly over a few minutes, or gradually over several hours or days.

How to spot the signs:

  • Increased temperature (36-37 Degrees Celsius is normal.)
  • Hot, red and dry skin.
  • Restlessness.
  • Lethargy.
  • Vomiting.
  • Fast heart rate.
  • Increased thirst.
  • Decreased urine output or concentrated urine.

If left untreated, more severe symptoms of heatstroke can develop, including confusion, disorientation, seizures (fits) and a loss of consciousness.

What parents can do to avoid heatstroke in babies and children:

  • Dress your baby/ young child in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Try to keep your baby/ young child in the shade when outside — and check to make sure that they are staying cool during car rides.
  • Give babies and young children more fluids than usual on hot days.
  • If the temperature is especially hot, keep your baby inside if you can.
  • Never leave babies in cars.
  • Never cover your pram with a blanket to shield your baby from the sun. This is a common mistake. This can cause the temperature in the pram to increase to dangerously high levels and decrease the circulation of air. If required use a UV pram cover specifically for this job as they also provide adequate ventilation.

Information taken from Babycentre.com and NHS.uk
To learn how to do CPR for a baby or child and for more information about childhood illness, serious illness and life saving training contact Cornwall Resus. Life Saving Training and Event First Aid, Baby and Child First Aid Courses, call 07503834185 for more information.

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