Children are particularly vulnerable to heat-related injuries and conditions. As hot temperatures roast much of the U.S., the American Red Cross offers tips for keeping kids safe and cool.
While playgrounds provide an outdoor respite for children, playground equipment that has been baking in direct sunlight can be dangerous. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reports of cases where metal, plastic, rubber and other nonmetal surfaces have been associated with thermal burns. The commission even had one report of a second-degree burn being sustained on a 74-degree day.
Children under two years old are specifically at risk because their skin is thinner and more fragile, and they may not know to remove their bodies from a surface that is hot.
The CPSC urges caregivers to pay close attention to uncoated metal equipment; metal equipment where the heat‐reducing coating has rubbed off; equipment children may sit on; dark‐colored plastics and rubbers, especially the surfacing under and around the playground; and asphalt and concrete surfaces.
The CPSC Fact Sheet on Burn Safety Awareness on Playgrounds recommends that adults:
Preparing and Responding to Heat
Children, along with the elderly, sick or overweight, are also more vulnerable to excessive heat. Adults caring for children should pay attention to the heat index as well as the temperature. The heat index is the temperature the body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined. Exposure to direct sunlight can increase the heat index by as much as 15 degrees.
Other steps adults can take to protect themselves and children during hot days are:
The American Red Cross First Aid App contains information on dealing with heat. The app is free app and available for iPhone and Android smart phone and tablet users in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.
As the mercury climbs, people should also use the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety checklist to care for themselves and those around them