We don’t let children go outside when it’s hot. At what temperature should we keep children indoors?

Heat discomfort and protection from skin and eye damage are quite different. Infrared radiation (heat) from the sun gives us warmth but doesn’t burn or damage our skin cells. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the part of the sun that can damage our unprotected skin and eyes which may lead to skin cancer. We can’t feel or see UV radiation and it is not related to high temperatures or brightness of the sun. Sometimes UV Index levels can be higher on cooler, cloudy days than hotter days. That’s why it is important not to rely on the temperature as a guide to sun protection.

Heat (infrared radiation)

Heat discomfort is not a medical condition. It is the discomfort experienced by most people when it is hot. In many cases, although we feel considerable discomfort, the conditions don’t normally lead to serious problems of heat illness.

Heat and children’s services

It is difficult to recommend a maximum temperature to cease outdoor programming in children’s services. Temperature conditions are based on different factors such as the actual space being used (is it large and airy or small and cramped?), access to shade and cooling systems, access to fresh water, the type of activities children are engaged in, frequency of rest periods, type of clothing worn, humidity, individual ability to cope with different temperatures etc. This needs to be a decision made by the committee of management for that particular service and its situation and conditions.

Heat and babies

Babies and young children should be watched carefully during hot weather. They can quickly lose body fluids through perspiring - which can lead to dehydration. They need to drink regularly, wear light clothing and be kept cool.

Things to remember
  • Babies overheat quickly in hot weather
  • Give babies and young children extra drinks in hot weather
  • Dress them in cool clothing
  • Let them sleep in the coolest room in the centre
  • Never leave children in the car
  • Always use shade when outdoors

Visit Better Health Channel for further information on Child Safety and Hot Weather.

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