Keep Cool In Summer

Girl putting on sun cream

Keep Cool In Summer

It’s especially important to keep an eye on small children during the summer months to ensure they don’t become too hot.

The main health concerns to be aware of are:

- Dehydration

- Heat exhaustion/Heat stroke

- Sunburn


Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than it takes in. Anyone can become dehydrated, but infants and children are particularly at risk because they have a low body weight and are sensitive to even small amounts of fluid loss.

Warning signs to look out for include:

- a sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on their head

- few or no tears when crying

- fewer wet nappies

- drowsiness

What to do:

Drink plenty of fluids such as water, diluted squash or fruit juice.

However, according to the NHS, dehydrated children shouldn’t be given large amounts of water alone because this can dilute the already low level of minerals in their body. Instead, they should be given diluted squash, or a rehydration solution rather than ordinary water.

Heat Exhaustion/ Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion is where you become too hot and start to lose water and salts from your body. The condition leads to symptoms such as dizziness, headache and nausea. Heat stroke is where the body can no longer cool itself and the high temperature puts a strain on your brain, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

If left untreated heat exhaustion can develop into heat stroke. Avoiding both conditions is all about staying hydrated, cool and comfortable however, children will need help with this.

When it’s hot create a breeze by opening doors and windows (but beware of slamming doors!) and keep children’s clothing loose fitting and lightweight. When they are outside, activities like playing in a paddling pool or sprinkler are a fun way to keep your children cool. It is recommended, though, that infants stay out of the sun as much as possible, especially between 11am and 3pm.

If you’re worried someone is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke you can help them by:

- Getting them to lie down in a cool place

- Removing any unnecessary clothing

- Cooling their skin - a damp cloth or sponge works well for this

- Fanning their skin while it’s wet

- Giving them fluids to drink

If they aren’t feeling better within 30 minutes it’s time to seek medical assistance.


Sunburn can be very painful in the short term and long term it increases children’s chances of developing serious health problems like skin cancer.

Keep Infants under six months old out of the sun altogether because their skin contains too little melanin. Older children should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible and wear a high factor (SPF 30 or above) sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply their suncream liberally and often, especially if your children are playing in water.

Children should also wear a sunhat with a wide brim or long back to protect their neck.