It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. Ok, it’s both

Posted 6/5/24

The carefree days of summer without school and schedules beckon children to go outside.

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It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. Ok, it’s both


The carefree days of summer without school and schedules beckon children to go outside. Pool, bicycles, playgrounds!

But with global warming, and this year, El Nino, which pushes up global temperatures, the National Weather Service outlook for summer 2024 predicts Florida temperatures will be warmer than normal, particularly in the hottest months of July and August.

How hot is too hot for children to be outside? The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t specify temperatures that are too hot for babies and children to be outdoors. Experts do recommend using caution when temperatures rise above 90 (or 84 F with 70 percent humidity). Temperatures above 100F can be dangerous for anyone.

The AAP does recommend limiting sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest. It can take babies and children up to two weeks to acclimate to hotter temperatures, so plan to gradually increase outdoor time as they transition from air conditioning to outdoors.

This is especially important for infants, who are less able to sweat to regulate their body temperature. Children’s bodies haven’t become very efficient at making use of sweating for cooling, either. Also, children have more body surface area related to their weight, which means they absorb more heat than adults do.

Some tips for outdoor survival when it’s hot:
• Look for shade, whether at the park, the pool or the beach.
• If there isn’t shade available, bring some with an umbrella or a tent.
• Avoid draping a blanket over the stroller or car seat due to the possibility of poor air circulation and suffocation risk.
• Wide brimmed hats help protect young faces and necks. Sunglasses protect eyes from the sun and potential damage.

• Avoid overdressing. Choose lightweight and light-colored long pants and long sleeve shirts if children younger than 6 months can’t avoid the sun.
• For children older than 6 months, choose lightweight, lightly colored breathable fabric like cotton, but with a tight weave for UV protection.
• Drink water and fluids to avoid dehydration.
• Plan for rest time. Heat can make people feel tired.
• Cool off with water. Swimming or a cool bath help to keep cool.
• Apply sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
• Stay informed about the weather, as conditions change quickly and extreme heat can lead to thunderstorms.

Even with the best heat preparation, it’s important to watch for overheating, as the combination of high temperatures and humidity add up. Humidity makes it harder for the cooling evaporation of sweat to be effective, so it feels hotter. The Heat Index measures how hot air temperatures really feels because of humidity.

Signs of heat exhaustion or heat-related conditions, which are generally related to an excessive loss of water and salt, include:
• Skin that’s very warm to the touch

• Extreme thirst
• Excessive sweating
• Acting tired, weak or lack of energy
• Dizziness.

High heat can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. For any kind of heat distress, move to a cool place and put cool, wet cloths on the body or take a cool bath.

Signs of heat stroke include high body temperature, hot red or damp skin, fast pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and passing out. If you suspect heat stroke, call 911, take the steps above and don’t give the person anything to drink.

What’s great about Florida in the summer? Fewer seasonal visitors and traffic competing for 663 miles of beaches. There’s more time and room to check out cooling Florida springs, take out a kayak, go tubing or scalloping, jump in a pool, turn on the sprinklers, visit a water park, go see a matinee movie, and enjoy ice cream or watermelon. It’s a great time to pause and remember why Florida is one of the top domestic and international tourist destinations.

About the Author: Adele de Vera MD, MBE, is Board Certified Pediatrician with Healthcare Network. She has been serving pediatric patients since 1994 and has been frequently recognized as a Castel Connely Top Doctor. For more information, visit, or to schedule an appointment, please call 239-658-3000.

kids, children, outside, temperature, hot weather