Keeping kids safe in the summer heat

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by Jay Crandall

Video report by Tanya Mendis

Posted on August 4, 2014 at 6:23 PM

PHOENIX -- Many students are now heading back to school. And when the kids are out on the playground during recess or PE, the last thing they're thinking about is how hot it is.

Dr. Jessica Regnaert with Banner Health says they might not even recognize when they are feeling stressed.

“Kids might not come tell you, but if you notice they are excessively sweating more than normal, also if their skin is cool or clammy, if you notice they are acting a little different, they may not say anything but be more irritable, grouchy," she says.

Those could all be signs a child is getting heat stress.

At Athlos Traditional Academy in Chandler, they are especially mindful of the temperature. PE instructor Christina Zambrana tells us that school officials make sure there is plenty of supervision at recess and during outdoor physical education classes.

“With this heat, you have to have that sort of supervision, making sure everyone is getting hydrated and not getting sick out there," she says.

Athlos puts a major focus on physical education. “We find that students who are physically active learn better in the classroom. and that is why we depend on PE, and physical activity so much here at Athlos," she says.

But, when temperatures hit one hundred or more, the school also focuses on safety, “Depending on the time of day and heat, we may have recess inside, PE focused inside,” Zambrana says. ”But if we are outside, once again, it is drink as much as possible."

Good advice says Regnaert, “The most important things for teachers and parents alike is keeping a child hydrated, plenty of water," she says. "If your child doesn't like to drink water, add a little bit of juice to their water. Try to stay away from soda; soda would dehydrate them rather than re-hydrate them.”

Regnaert says the school's use of indoor activities and  shade structures is a good idea. And she recommends one final bit of protection. “When they are having PE outside, and the sun is so bright, put sunscreen on your child even before going to school.”

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