Summer Heat Safety Reminders

Summer Heat Safety Reminders

Summer Heat Safety Reminders

Staying safe during hot summer months isn’t hard. There are steps you can take to protect yourself. Drinking lots of water and wearing sunscreen isn’t enough. Here are three things to know to keep summer fun.

UV Rays Can Hurt You

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can damage your skin. Too much UV exposure raises your risk for skin cancer. Sunburns, particularly those you get in childhood, up the risk. That’s because most of our UV exposure happens before the age of 18. Still, its effects are felt long afterward. Early UV exposure can lead to premature aging. Fine lines, wrinkles and skin discoloration can make us look older than our years. The Environmental Protection Agency leaving site icon suggests wearing protective clothing, using sunscreen with a 15 SPF or higher, and staying out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wear UV-protective sunglasses to shield your eyes from rays that harm your eyes and cause cataracts.

A Child Is Never Safe Alone in a Car

Leaving a child in a parked car, even if just for a few minutes, can have devastating results. Cracking a window to make it cooler doesn’t make it safe. Neither does leaving on the air conditioning. A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationleaving site icon Many children are hurt or die after being left in a car accidentally. Remember to Park-Look-Lock to make sure you don't leave a baby or child in the car. Always keep cars locked so a child can’t crawl in unnoticed.

Heat-related Illnesses Call for Quick Action

Hot weather can be a danger to anyone. Children, older adults, outdoor workers and athletes are especially at risk for heat-related illness. Watch out for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health leaving site icon says heat stroke can cause disability or death if the person does not get quick emergency care. Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Confusion and slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Hot, dry skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Seizures
  • Very high body temperature

Someone with heat exhaustion also needs urgent help. Look for these warning signs:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Anger

Pay attention to the heat, keep cool and stay safe this summer. Summer can also be a good time to hang out in cool places and skip some outdoor activities. 

Sources: Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation and Sun Exposureleaving site icon Environmental Protection Agency, 2023; You Can Prevent Hot Car Deathsleaving site icon National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Heat Stress – Heat Related Illness, leaving site icon National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2022

Originally published 8/11/2016; Revised 2019, 2022, 2024