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One of the biggest dangers to children in hot weather is dehydration. Thirst is not an accurate measure of how much a person actually needs to drink, and kids rarely know just how much fluid they actually need.
To avoid dehydration during hot weather, follow these tips when caring for your children:

Make sure kids are fully hydrated before they go outside. Have them drink a glass of water or a non-carbonated beverage one to two hours before going out, and then another ten to fifteen minutes before they go out to play.

When playing actively outside in hot weather, kids should be encouraged to drink regularly, every twenty to thirty minutes. Have them drink until they don’t feel thirsty anymore, and then if they are under ten years old have them drink another half-glass. If they are older than ten, have them drink another full glass.

In addition to dehydration, children who stay outside too long can suffer from heat exhaustion. This is characterized by fatigue, headaches and generalized discomfort and can be treated by getting the child into a cool area and having the child drink plenty of cool liquids.

Children may also develop heatstroke, a more serious condition which can lead to brain damage and death unless the body is immediately cooled. This condition is characterized by red, blue, or mottled looking skintone, a temperature of 105 degrees or higher, rapid pulse, headache, chills, nausea and a lack of perspiration and often requires medical attention.

To avoid these conditions, adhere to the following safety guidelines for hot weather play:

1. Don’t let kids stay out too long. Limit exposure between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is at it’s peak.

2. Protect skin with a sunblock of SPF15 or higher, and reapply often.

3. Dress children in light-colored cotton clothing that is loose fitting.