NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Ashton Schoaps and her son of 16 months love enjoying the outdoors, but she watches him closely as the heat could become a danger.
“I just kind of watch them and let them give me their cues of when they are done. Like him, he is so pale that when he gets rosy cheeks, so we are ready to finish up here now,” said Schoaps.
She is taking the right approach because as Dr. Corrie Berry with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital notes, children less than four years old have a higher risk for heat exhaustion.
“They adapt less quickly to temperature change. Our body’s primary cooling mechanism is through sweating. Kids that are younger than four do not sweat as quickly as we do to cool off. They also produce more heat with activity so they cool off slower than we do,” said Dt. Berry.
Several signs that your child could be affected by heat include muscle cramps, being dizzy, red faces, body temperature rising, and looking pale or even ‘too’ cool. At this time, take them out of the heat and hydration is recommended.
Also, temperature readings can be deceiving.
Brittney Whitehead from the National Weather Service explains.
“We measure the temperature with a sensor that is not in direct sunlight. Because when sunlight shines directly on something, It’s going to heat the thermometer up and not be representative of the actual air temperature. It will be the temperatures around the glass around the thermometer. So we like to keep the thermometer shaded for the official temperature,” said Whitehead.
The temperature is actually recorded in a device called the Stevenson Screen. It is colored white, so the sun is reflected. The actual instruments, such as the thermometer is in a shaded area. This gives you the true temperature that you see at the airport, or on News 2. But if you step out in the sun with a high sun angle, you can be as much as five to10 degrees warmer.
That includes different surfaces on the playground that can be even hotter than that.
“We always check the surfaces, slides, the swings, anything that they will be pulling on. Always try to test real quick so they don’t burn themselves. Their legs or hands,” said Schoaps.
Never leaving a little one unattended is a must. Also, pay attention to the older kids too.
“For our young athletes, that are competing, we want to make sure there are at least two hours between each game, whatever they are playing, is it’s baseball, soccer, to allow adequate rest and hydration,” said Schoaps.
With these tips in mind, what is the outlook for this summer?
“Models are indicating slightly warmer and slightly wetter conditions this summer. But no extreme heat or extreme rain,” said Whitehead.
The weather can always change on a dime. Be safe, but also have fun as the summer season gets in full swing.