Babies, children and teenagers during heatwaves

Babies and young children

Babies and young children are very sensitive to hot weather, so it is important to watch them closely and stop them from getting dehydrated or too hot.

If you think your child is unwell due to hot weather, seek medical attention.

  • Avoid taking babies or young children out in the hottest part of the day.
  • If you do have to go out, keep them in the shade, protect their skin with loose-fitting clothing and a hat, and use baby or toddler formula sunscreen.
  • In hot weather, breast-fed babies may need extra breast-feeds, but if they are under 6 months it is not recommended to give them water. Bottle-fed babies may need extra feeds and can be offered small amounts of cooled boiled water as needed.
  • Make sure young children have regular drinks throughout the day. Water is best. Avoid giving them sugary or fizzy drinks.
  • Dress babies and young children in light, loose-fitting clothing, like singlets and nappies, or loose tops.
  • Choose the coolest place in your home for babies or young children to sleep, making sure air can circulate around their bassinet or cot.
  • To help babies and young children cool down, sponge them with lukewarm – not cold – water.
  • Avoid using baby carriers and slings as they restrict the airflow and babies may be more likely to overheat.
  • If you need to cover the pram to keep baby shaded, use a large canopy, or a mesh or perforated sun shield designed for strollers, instead of a blanket. These will ensure adequate airflow and allow you to still see your baby.
  • Regularly check on children and infants.
  • Never leave babies or children in a stationary car.
  • Visit the Parenting and Child Health – Babies and hot weather page for more information.

Children and Teenagers

Children and teenagers can get hotter more quickly than adults and are at greater risk of suffering from heat-related illness.

Prior to puberty, they sweat less than adults which makes it harder for them to cool off.

Acne mediations may cause sun sensitivity – talk with your child’s General Practitioner about medications and hot weather.

Make sure they follow these tips:

  • Drink lots of water. Avoid drinks with caffeine (like cola).
  • Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a hat which covers the back of their neck.
  • Limit outdoor activities in extremely hot weather. Breaks should be taken every 15 to 30 minutes during outdoor activities to have a drink and cool down.
  • Wear SPF30+ sunscreen, reapplied regularly, especially when going in the water.
  • If playing sports, drink 2 to 3 cups (500 to 700mL) of cool water or sports drink every hour.
  • Make sure your child knows what to do, especially if they are away from home, if they feel unwell in the heat:
    • stop playing, move to a cooler place, sit down in a shady spot, drink water.
    • they need to tell someone without being upset or embarrassed about doing so.
    • make sure they have a small backpack to carry items they need – water, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a small towel or flannel to wet and cool themselves with.

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