Heat Stroke Could Be Deadly for Toddlers

heat stroke toddlerHot enough for ya? If only toddlers could be entertained in the air-conditioned house all day ... but you've probably tried keeping your kid cooped up in a controlled climate by now and already figured out that stay-cool strategy is nothing but a one-way ticket to Crankyville. But there's only so much time you can spend outside before your tot melts down -- literally.

Heat stroke can be fatal, and babies and toddlers are more likely to suffer from it than any other age group. Technically, heat stroke is what happens when your body's temperature goes up and its cool-down mechanism shuts off, and it's a lot more serious than heat exhaustion. How can you tell the difference?


If your toddler shows any of these symptoms, he could have heat exhaustion -- a flaming red flag that you need to get out of the sun before it progresses to heatstroke:

  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Cramps in his legs, tummy, or both
  • Irritability

To treat heat exhaustion, get your child inside right away and give him plenty of fluids. If, however, you notice any of the following things happening, he could already be in heat stroke mode -- call 911.

  • Hot, red, dry skin
  • Vomiting
  • Headache/dizziness
  • Quick, shallow breathing
  • Fast pulse
  • A fever or 103 or higher, with NO sweating
  • Lethargy

It doesn't take long for a toddler with heat stroke to become unconscious. While you're waiting for the paramedics, get him either inside or to a shady area, and use cool water to sponge down his body. (If you're at the park and all you've got is a bottle of water, use that!) Fan him with anything you can find -- a magazine, your hands. And try to keep him calm.

Remember, your toddler will start overheating way before you do, so don't go by your own internal thermometer. Stay cool!

Are you worried about heat stroke this summer?

Image via James and Erin Bow/Flickr

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