Heatstroke is a very dangerous condition that a baby (or any child) can actually die from. Preventing heat stroke in babies and toddlers is definitely the way to go, but accidents happen and it is also important to know the symptoms of heat stroke and what to do if it does happen. You need to act fast!
Learn all about heat stroke in babies and toddlers here!
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Heat stroke (sometimes called “sunstroke”) is a condition that happens when someone gets overheated. It can be life threatening because the body’s temperature continues to go up and the body is unable to cool itself anymore.
Babies and toddlers are especially prone to having problems with heat stroke since they are not as efficient with regulating their temperature yet and especially babies can’t actually tell you that they are way too warm. It can happen in when spending time in hot weather if your infant is outside for too long; it can occur riding in a car that is warm or even by being overdressed in the stroller.
It is very important that you know how to prevent, spot, and treat heat stroke in babies and toddlers to avoid serious medical issues.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
As a parent, it’s important that you know the first signs of heat stroke. Of course, often babies may show the symptoms of heat exhaustion before they show signs of sunstroke.
Heat exhaustion isn’t quite as bad and symptoms can include stomach and leg cramps, thirst, being tired, or cool moist skin. By then it is time to act to cool down you child before and actual heat stroke occurs!
The following are some symptoms that your baby or todder may exhibit if he goes on into heat stroke:
- Skin that is hot, dry, and red
- High temperature of 103F (39.4 C) degrees and above without sweating
- Headache, which can cause irritability
- Breathing that is shallow and quick
Remember that sweating, being red-faced, thirsty, and warm are all normal reactions to heat. It is when your baby or toddlers show unnormal reactions, as those above, that it is dangerous.
Preventing Heat Stroke in Babies and Toddlers
It is definitely better to work to prevent heatstroke in babies and toddlers if at all possible.
It really doesn’t take a lot for sun stroke to occur in babies and toddlers, especially when it is hot outside. To prevent this problem, make sure you dress your child in clothing that is loose and lightweight. Do your best to keep your baby shaded when outside and if you are in the car, make sure he or she is cool.
On warmer days it is best to make sure that you give your baby extra fluids. Whenever the heat is too bad, simply keep your baby inside the house to avoid heatstroke.
Toddlers move around constantly and can get overheated by the combination of the outside heat and their own heat production.
What If My Baby Seems To Suffer From Sun Stroke?
Even though you do everything possible to prevent heat stroke in your baby, it can happen! It is important that you know what to do if your baby begins to act like he or she is suffering from a heatstroke. The first thing you need to do is to dial for emergency help or head for ER. Your baby needs help as soon as possible.
Then you need to bring your baby’s body temperature down fast:
- Undress your baby and get him to a cool area as soon as you can.
- Start using a cool washcloth to sponge your baby’s body.
- Fanning babies also can help to cool them.
- Work to keep your baby calm as well so they don’t get upset and make their body temperature higher.
If your baby hasn’t gone all the way into heatstroke, give him some water or Pedialyte if he is old enough. If he is too young, then give him some formula or breast milk to drink. However, if your baby has gone into a heat stroke and is more or less unconscious, don’t give your baby a drink. Wait for help to arrive.
Of course, preventing heatstroke in babies and toddlers is the best option, you need to know what to do if it ever does occur to your baby, especially since babies are so suspectible. Keep these tips in mind so you can take care of your baby should this ever happen to you and your little one.
Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing is based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians that you find here. They write or review all health-related articles.