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Hot tips to help kids beat the heat

It's sunny and hot and one of the easiest times of year to get kids out of the house but soaking up the rays can also put children at risk of heat-related illnesses like heatstroke and dehydration.

Advice from B.C. Children's Hospital on keeping kids safe during the heatwave

Vancouver's outdoor pools, including New Brighton, are extending their hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Karin Larsen/CBC)

It's sunny and hot and  one of the easiest times of year to get kids out of the house.

But soaking up the rays can also put children at risk of heat-related illnesses like heatstroke and dehydration, according to a researcher at B.C. Children's Hospital.

"When the weather does heat up like this, we do see more cases [of child hospitalizations for heat-related conditions]," said Ian Pike.

Most cases are readily treatable through hydration and electrolyte treatment but the more serious ones need medical attention.

"If they've got to a point where they're bright red and dry, this is a very, very critical and serious situation," Pike said.

Staying hydrated is crucial in hot weather, he told Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC's The Early Edition.

"Lots of kids get entirely consumed by their play and enjoyment of the day and forget to drink," Pike said.

It's better to take regular sips, rather than a giant gulp once in a while. Adding lemon juice can make water more appealing for picky kids, he said.

Supervision at pools, the beach and other swimming areas is paramount to preventing drownings, says Ian Pike. (Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily/Associated Press)

Extended hours at pools

The Vancouver Park Board is also aware of water's importance in beating the heat and is extending open hours at pools and water parks across the city until the heatwave has ended.

Second Beach, New Brighton, Maple Grove and Hillcrest outdoor pools are opening an hour earlier at 9 a.m. and Kitsilano Pool opens at 7 a.m.

Fourteen water parks will also be open three hours extra each day, with the extended hours now 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

The park board also purchased 10 water wheelchairs, available on a first come, first served basis at no charge, to make pools and beaches more accessible.

Pike agreed swimming is a good way to keep cool but emphasized supervision at the water's edge.

"While we don't see many drownings, the vast majority of child drownings occur because of a lack of supervision," he said.

Staying out of the sun during the hottest times is key, Pike added. That means seeking shade, slapping on a shirt or hat, and wearing sunscreen.

The recommendation is a minimum 30 SPF and preferably 50 SPF for children, he says, and it's important to apply sunscreen after being in the water — even if it's described as waterproof.

The park board has also installed misting stations at four parks: Livingston, Emery Barnes, Oppenheimer and Thornton and opened cooling centres at libraries and community centres for vulnerable Vancouverites.

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe explains how a unique weather pattern is contributing to B.C.'s heatwave

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe explains how the weather event is acting as a shield to keep the heat in, and cold weather out. 1:04

With files from The Early Edition.

Read more from CBC British Columbia

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Ian Pike as a pediatrician. In fact he is not a medical doctor but a Children's Hospital researcher with a PhD.
    Jul 26, 2018 4:36 PM PT
  • It also stated 14 water parks would be open for an additional three hours, but gave their normal hours of operation. The extended hours of operation are 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
    Jul 26, 2018 10:19 AM PT

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