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Heat Exhaustion Safety Warning for Babies and Children

Shared by Meredith Piscitelli, Certified Educator of Infant Massage

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke don’t just appear out of the blue. There are signs of heat stress, which, if left untreated, can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

The initial signs of heat stress include:

• Heat rash that doesn’t go away when the skin is cooled, called “prickly heat”. This rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters on or around the

• Heat cramps happen as muscles and bodily systems deplete their supply of electrolytes, particularly salt and water, and as a reaction to lower blood volumes. These cramps usually occur in the ABDOMEN – LEGS – ARMS and are accompanied by MOODINESS and FUSSINESS. If a baby, toddler or young child starts showing signs of crankiness or fussiness this can be an early indication of heat stress.

• Watch for unusual erratic and repetitive behaviors, such as repeatedly standing and sitting.

If the above symptoms worsen and start to include:

• Intense thirst
• Dizziness or fainting
• Pale skin
• Rapid but weak heart rate
• Headache
• Nausea and vomiting 
• Concentrated pee & decreased output (yellow/orange)
Then your child is becoming dehydrated and likely has heat exhaustion.


• Remove clothing
• Move to a cool place
• Give cool water with a teaspoon of salt per quart, or sports drink. (Cold water and salt tablets can actually increase cramping symptoms.) (not for babies – give Pedialyte on recommendation of doctor) 
• Gently massage child’s muscles
• Elevate feet on a pillow if they will lie down

Rest and rehydration is usually enough, though some children may need more time to recover than others. Hospitalization is rarely needed. DO call your family doctor.

2 Replies to “Heat Exhaustion Safety Warning for Babies and Children

  1. As of today, this post has reached over 9.3 million readers from the Philippines, across the USA, England, Ireland, New Zealand & Africa. Hoping Western European parents saw it, too.

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