Tips on how to keep kids cool in extreme heat

This week’s stifling heat can be dangerous for adults, but doctors at Children’s National said it’s especially hazardous to children. As a result, the hospital’s emergency room has been busy all summer long.

“We’ve been seeing a lot this summer. As anyone who lives in or around the district knows, we’ve just had a lot of hot days. Now in a pediatric emergency room, that is just an effect that’s raised even higher because young children are even more vulnerable to heat,” Dr. Sarah Ash Combs said, adding it’s partially because children have a much higher surface area to volume ratio than adults, and they’re just not as good at regulating heat, meaning a temperature that may not bother an adult at all can affect a child rather quickly.

“Anecdotally I’d say from my experience as an attending here, I feel like we’ve just seen a lot [of children coming into the emergency room] this year, especially the past couple weeks, these really hot days we’ve been having, these 100 degree weekend scorchers, we’re just seeing kids coming in the door,” Combs added.

So what can parents do to prevent heat-related illnesses? Combs recommends keeping children inside during the hottest hours of the day, dressing them in light, loose clothing, and making sure they stay hydrated.