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Children at high risk for heat-related injuries

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Children should hydrate every 20 to 30 minutes while in the summer heat. (Source: CNN) Children should hydrate every 20 to 30 minutes while in the summer heat. (Source: CNN)

 (CNN) - There is no shortage of outdoor activities available in the summer and time can slip right by.

But experts say it’s important to recognize that children and adults tolerate heat very differently.

“Children are at higher risk for heat-related injuries. They tend to lose more fluids through their skin and so they need extra fluids relative to what an adult does,” said Dr. James Fortenberry, of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, infants and children younger than 4 are among those at the greatest risk for heat-related illness.

For babies under 6 months, doctors suggest keeping them out of direct sun, hydrating them prior to going out and having them hydrate every 20 to 30 minutes.

For older kids, anticipate and plan ahead because they too need to drink before going out. They should take frequent breaks to rehydrate and avoid sodas with caffeine.

And while water is usually sufficient, that isn’t always the case.

“After about an hour, water is not enough. Utilizing a sports drink can be helpful for the extra electrolytes in it,” Fortenberry said.

Parents should also be able to recognize the symptoms of heat illness: faintness, extreme tiredness, nausea, fever or muscle spasms. Those are all signs that medical attention may be needed.

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