July 14, 2011

Parents urged to guard children against heat

With indexes as high as 110 degrees this week in Middle Tennessee, experts at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt are asking parents to remain vigilant against hyperthermia and other heat-related illnesses.

Infants and young children are particularly susceptible to heat. A child’s body heats up 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s, and when the body’s temperature reaches 104 degrees, the internal organs begin to shut down.

In addition, the current high humidity index means children will sweat more than usual and get dehydrated faster, which means they are at greater risk for heat stroke or exhaustion. With summer sports camps in full swing, experts say it’s important to keep children hydrated, since they often will not tell you that they need fluids until it’s too late.

It’s also important to provide appropriate periods for rest and recovery to prevent overuse injuries.

For detailed safety information, including symptoms of dehydration that parents should be aware of, please visit the Children’s Hospital’s website at http://childrenshospital.vanderbilt.org/interior.php?mid=8087.