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Extreme Heat Advice from Dr Justin Varney

Dear Headteacher/Principal

 

Please find below an important message from Dr Justin Varney, Director of Public Health, on keeping children safe during the National Heatwave Emergency, and which we kindly ask you to share with parents/carers.

 

National Heatwave Emergency – keeping children safe

For the first time temperatures of 40°C have been forecast in the UK today and tomorrow.

 

Exceptional heat is already affecting a large part of England including Birmingham and the West Midlands and this can particularly affect children, especially babies and infants under 4yrs old and children with long term health conditions like diabetes as well as children with special needs. 

 

We want to help keep your children safe and well during this extreme weather.

 

Children cannot control their body temperature as well as adults during hot weather and so can be at risk of ill-health from heat. Heat-related illness can range from mild heat stress to heatstroke.

 

Teachers, assistants, and all staff will be looking out for signs of heat stress when your child is at school or nursery, and you can look out for these signs too at home.

 

Children suffering from heat stress may behave out of character or show signs of discomfort and irritability, so be aware of any changes.

 

The main risk from heat is dehydration (not having enough water in the body) so make sure your child is drinking plenty of water. They will need more than normal in these high temperatures.

 

Children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days.

 

Children should wear loose, light-coloured clothing to help keep cool and sunhats with wide brims.

 

High factor sunscreen should be used to protect skin and try to avoid playing out in the sun.

 

A few tips that can help keep your children cool:

 

  • Quarter fill drinks bottles with water, freeze then top up with cold water for a nice icy drink.
  • Eat lots of salad and fruit as it has a high water content to keep them hydrated.
  • Put baby wipes or damp flannels in the fridge & use them to cool little ones down.
  • Fill a tray with cool water for children to put their feet in.
  • Have a cool bath or shower, but avoid freezing cold ones as can be a big shock!
  • Make ice lollies by freezing sugar free diluted squash or fruit juice

 

If you or your child take regular medication please check the label as some medicines will need to be kept cool in this extreme heat.

 

We all have a part to play in keeping our children safe in these extreme temperatures.

 

Kind regards

Dr Justin Varney

Director of Public Health


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