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Keeping children safe in the heat

1 December 2020

As summer heats up, it’s important to remember that babies and children are quite sensitive to hot weather.

Australia can have scorching summers, so the need for outdoor play needs to be balanced with health risks when it’s hot.

It’s vital for education and care services to have hot weather policies and procedures and ensure they are followed. These should include your service’s beliefs about children’s opportunities to play outside. It should also include risks and how you will minimise them.

Make the most of playing outside earlier in the morning. Set up outside play under a verandah or in the shade. Provide cooling water play.

Protect children’s skin with sunscreen and hats when playing and learning outside.

Keep babies and children inside during the hottest part of the day (generally 11 am to 3 pm) in extreme heat.

Play equipment or synthetic lawn may get too hot to use and cause burns on very hot days. As a rule of thumb, if you can put your hand on it and leave it there comfortably for five seconds, it should be safe.

Extra water (or breast milk or formula for babies) is an important part of keeping children hydrated and well on hot days.

While they sleep, minimise clothing and coverings and make sure they’re in a nice cool part of the building.

If a child is showing signs of heat-related illness, follow your illness policy. Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Call 000 immediately.

You will also need to notify us after the incident if a child became really unwell and needed medical attention.

For more information see: