Back To School: Heat Safety

August 3, 2011


Sports practices, workouts and even recess can be tough on students during the brutal heat of August and September, especially in Texas.

All too often, you turn on the news and hear about another young person's life being cut short from heat exhaustion during practice.

Parents, teachers, coaches and even students all need to be aware of potential heat safety concerns.


Parents, teachers and coaches need to monitor recess and sports for signs and symptoms of a child overheating. These signs and symptoms include:

  • Sluggishness
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Headaches and/or nausea
  • Red, hot and dry skin with minimal sweating
  • High body temperatures, strong pulses, loss of consciousness

If a child appears to be overheating, take immediate action. Remove the child from the heat and bring them into AC if possible or a shaded area if not. Try to cool them using any manner necessary: cold baths, water from a hose, wrapping them in cool sheets. If a child loses consciousness, call 9-1-1.

Water > Sports Drinks

Children should always drink more water when they are outdoors. Adults should not wait until a child is thirsty to offer them water, because this may be too late. Carb-rich sports drinks like Powerade or Gatorade can be given to children and young adults who are involved in strenuous sports and physical activities. However, water is always the preferred drink for those exposed to the heat.

Dress Appropriately

Everyone should wear a t-shirt and hat when outside to prevent sun burn. If outdoor play or activities are planned be sure that everyone is wearing sun block. Be sure to reapply sun block every two to three hours. Also, whenever possible, stay in shaded areas and ensure limited exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Car Safety

The temperature in a car can rise by 20 degrees in the first 10 minutes alone. Never leave your children, especially infants, alone in the car for any amount of time. Always check in the back seat when you get out. A good idea is to put your purse, phone or another important belonging next to your child in the back seat as another reminder.

Going back to school should be fun and exciting as your children are heading into a new year with new experiences. With these steps, kids can better enjoy their favorite part of the day - recess!

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