Young children are among those at greatest risk for heat-related deaths and injuries — most of which are preventable. As the heat moves in, make sure to protect your children against the dangers of hot summer sun and high temperatures.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of dehydration in children include:

  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Decreased urine output

Severe dehydration is considered a medical emergency. It can cause:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Shriveled and dry skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Extreme irritability
  • Sunken eyes
  • Exhaustion


1. Travel with a small cooler of water, even in town. A flat tire or a traffic back-up is all it takes for a short trip to become a long wait. With water and snacks handy, you’re always ready for an impromptu trip to the park.

2. Encourage consistent water intake. Flavor water with a couple of ounces of prepared juice, or even straight lemon or lime juice. This may encourage kids to drink more liquid without having a bunch of added sugar.

3. Help children acclimate to the weather. Make sure your children get outside in the heat, if even a little at first, gradually increasing the time — especially if summer sports or other outdoor activities are planned for them in the coming months. 

4. Dress young children in loose clothing, and use hats for extended periods in the sun.

5. Make them take breaks. Children don’t necessarily recognize when they’re tired. Have come inside periodically for rest and refreshment.

6. Go with the weather. Even the hottest summers may provide a few days of respite with lower temperatures or overcast skies. Take advantage of these days by letting kids have extra time outdoors.

7. Keep an eye on your child's appearance. You know your child. If his face doesn’t look right, get him inside to cool off and take in some fluids. Take his temperature and make sure he doesn’t display dehydration symptoms.

8. Respect the rules at summer establishments. Many park and recreation departments require rest periods where patrons must sit outside of the pool, or get off the field for a brief period of time. This allows for rest and a chance to make sure everyone is hydrated, and can locate friends or family members. It also gives lifeguards a much-needed opportunity to move around, get cool in the water, and fight the monotony of sitting in the summer heat all day.

Summer Emergency Car Kit

Emergency kids aren't just for cold weather. Don’t forget about items you may need in the summer in case of a breakdown or if you are stranded for some reason. A kit could include:

  • water bottles/sippy cups/bottles
  • snacks: dried fruits, nuts, and granola are good for long-term storage and provide the body with nutrients
  • cloths/towels
  • first aid kit, including cool pack
  • sun block
  • a spray bottle of water (for misting hot faces, arms, and legs)
  • insect repellent

Additional resources and information for parents and adults — take care to not get dehydrated yourself!

Got Water? Summer Heat Ignites Dehydration

Staying Cool and Hydrated on Hot Summer Days

Dehydration Prevention