Commit To Be Fit: Summer Heat Remains a Hidden Danger For Children Playing Outdoors

UPDATED: Monday July 7, 2014 5:48 PM

Summer is a great time for kids to play outside, have fun, and Commit to Be Fit.  But too much heat can lead to illness like heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

But you can keep your kids safe by knowing what to look for and what to do if you think your child may be getting sick from the heat.

In the midst of summer camp at the YMCA in Powell, counselors want to be sure the campers avoid heat illness, like Austin Bulina once experienced.  “I had a headache and felt like I was going to barf,” Austin recalls.

Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Teresa Long says we need to be careful because sometimes we don't pay attention to our own bodies.  Long says that's especially true for kids.

That's why YMCA Youth Development Director Randi Hopkins trains counselors to watch for warning signs that parents can spot too.  "If they're normally an active kid and they don't want to participate in activities, their skin becomes kind of flush or really pale.  If they stop sweating, that's a huge sign that something wrong is going on.”

To combat heat stroke, large barrels of water are always in easy reach of the campers.

Hopkins says camp officials highly discourage parents from bringing pop or any other sugary drinks because that dehydrates campers much faster than water or a sports drink.  To prevent problems, Hopkins changes the kids' activities every half hour and allows them to cool off with a dip in the pool.

Hopkins also uses a computer to keep a close eye on the weather, the temperature, and the heat index.  If it gets too hot, she brings the kids indoors for a little basketball in the gym.

The goal is to let the kids have fun and Commit to Be Fit while staying healthy too. 

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