Summer is in full swing. It’s a great time to play outside, splash in a sprinkler or head to the park. It’s also an easy time for children to overheat or get sunburned.

“Babies and children can overheat very quickly, often taking parents or caregivers by surprise,” said Mridua Naik, clinical nurse manager for the Pediatric Emergency Department at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center. “Pay close attention to kids and the weather, and take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe and cool all summer long.”

Top sun safety tips:

  1. Always wear sunscreen. It may not be their favorite, but babies and children should always wear sunscreen when outside. Babies can generally use sunscreen at 6 months, but be sure to check with your pediatrician first.
    Read directions carefully, as sunscreens can vary greatly. Even the same brands can have different directions depending on the type you’ve purchased.
  2. Avoid the mid-day sun. Head out to play early in the morning, or in the evening. The sun is the hottest from 10-4, so try to avoid being in the sun during those hours.
  3. Stay hydrated. Keep water on hand for kids, and be sure babies are nursing or taking their bottles. You can give babies older than 6 months a few sips of water between feedings if they are outside in the heat.
  4. Never leave children in a car. Children in cars can overheat very quickly, even in just a few minutes.

When you are outside playing in the heat, be sure to keep an eye out for warning signs your little ones are getting too hot.

If your child demonstrates any of the following symptoms, it’s time to head inside and cool down.

  • Irritability
  • Flushed or red skin
  • Not listening
  • Refusing to drink
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Headache

A heat stroke can happen quickly when playing in the summer heat without proper precautions. If your child experiences any of the following, seek medical help immediately:

  • Fainting
  • Throbbing headache
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Rapid heartbeat

Stay cool and safe this summer. Be sure to speak with your pediatrician about any additional heat and sun safety tips for your children.