You might think you know it all when it comes to your kids and summer heat safety, but here are some hidden risks you mightn't have heard about...
We all know the basic rules when it comes to coping in a heatwave, and summer heat safety. Keep hydrated, never go out in the midday sun, and always make sure to protect your family’s skin from the sun. But recent reports have shown that there are more things than you may have thought to consider when the weather’s hot.
Three cases of serious burns to children have come to light thanks to concerned mums spreading the word on Facebook. And no, we’re not talking about sunburn. The burns have all been caused by children coming into contact with materials that have become extremely hot in the sun. Both metal and plastic items conduct heat extremely quickly and are part of many everyday objects that you may not have thought of before.
As well as that, there are other hot weather dangers you may not have considered of when it comes to your kids safety in the heat.
We’ve outlined the things to be aware of, to help keep your little ones safe in the summer heat.
1. Car seat clips
One mum on Facebook, Brittany Hall, was left horrified when her little girl Ellie was badly burned by the metal buckle on her car seat which, unaware to Brittany, had been heating up in their hot car.
The little girl sustained a second degree burn, and although she made a fuss when being placed in her seat, this was normal behaviour to Brittany and she didn’t become concerned until she removed her from the car seat later.
It’s certainly a serious concern for parents, so some mums have advised throwing a blanket over the car seat when it’s not in use, and checking the temperature of it before putting your child in the seat.
2. Metal surfaces
This isn’t the only worrying case of a toddler’s skin becoming blistered. The mum of this little boy, whose foot was badly burnt in hot weather, called for greater awareness of summer heat safety on Facebook.
Shantae Knorr explained that the injury, which caused a huge, sore blister to come up on the sole of the child’s foot, happened last year after her son Azariah stepped on the edge of a door frame which had been heated up by the sun, in bare feet.
She said that despite being an ‘extremely cautious parent’ she ‘never thought this could happen’, in her post urging parents to keep their children in shoes, even when in your own garden.
The post has already seen over 39,000 shares from concerned parents spreading the word.
3. Playground equipment
We all know that at the hint of sunshine, the kids will be dying to get down to the park, but for summer heat safety beware of metal-based equipment that may have become hot in the sun, making it a serious summer heat safety hazard.
The chains and harnesses on swings, metal slides, tunnels and climbing frames may all have become extremely hot. And always make sure they’re wearing shoes when playing on apparatus like this – one of the most common injuries we’re seeing is burns to the sole of the foot.
One mum took to Facebook with this warning:
‘Dear people that have children or will be around children this summer, soon it will be hot. Super hot. I beg you, please don’t just throw your children on metal toys at playgrounds, aquatic centers, backyards or anywhere!’
‘They get hotter than we know and can seriously burn their tender skin. Plastic can get really hot too. Please, please, please check the toys your child is going to be playing on and remember if it’s hot to you, it’s hotter to them.’
But parents and their children also face other dangers in hot weather too, as well as roasting hot surfaces.
There are plenty of things that we as parents need to be aware of in a heatwave, in order to protect our children.
4. Overheating in buggies
While you might, on a cooler day, cover your baby’s buggy with a thin blanket or cloth to protect them from the sun’s rays, it might actually be one of the worst things you can do when the weather gets to heatwave proportions.
Swedish researchers found that a blanket cover can create a thermos-like environment in the buggy – and obviously, not a safe temperature for bubbas.
In fact, their study found that the temperature inside the pram rose from 22 degrees without a blanket, to almost 34 degrees with a blanket on it for half an hour.
As an alternative, mosquito covers, which attach to your buggy, can help to shield your little one from any unwanted nasties in the summer, such as bees and wasps – and of course, it’s always best to keep them sat in the shade if possible.
5. Heat in cars
The same is also true for cars in the summer heat. While we’re sure this is something all parents are aware of, it’s an important reminder that it’s not safe to leave your child alone in the car for any period of time during periods of particularly hot weather, as over-heating can happen incredibly quickly.
Kids can suffer hyperthermia (a condition where body temperature is elevated beyond normal) if strapped into their car seats for too long in hot cars, especially if their is no air con and the windows are closed.
To be safe, never leave your kids in the car for extended periods when the vehicle is stationary.
See our basic first aid advice article for more help with treating common accidents like cuts, scrapes and allergic reactions.