Today has been a welcome break from the sweltering heat of late. It is forecast to be even hotter next week.
We have risk assessed this and are taking measures to ensure your children are kept as cool as they can be by:
Providing access to drinking water at all times (as is usual)
Allowing them to wear non uniform if the clothing is cooler and more suited to the weather.
Increasing the number of breaks taken throughout the day but spending time in the shaded areas when outside.
Staggering playtimes so that there are enough shaded areas for the number of children outside.
Using fans in the classrooms and keeping the rooms well ventilated with blinds and curtains closed.
Avoid physically demanding activities.
The DFE states:
Health risks from heat
Children cannot control their body temperature as efficiently as adults during hot weather because they do not sweat as much and so can be at risk of ill-health from heat. Heat- related illness can range from mild heat stress to potentially life-threatening heatstroke. The main risk from heat is dehydration (not having enough water in the body). If sensible precautions are taken children are unlikely to be adversely affected by hot conditions, however, teachers, assistants, school nurses and all child carers should look out for signs of heat stress, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Children suffering from heat stress may seem out of character or show signs of discomfort and irritability (including those listed below for heat exhaustion). These signs will worsen with physical activity and if left untreated can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion vary but include one or more of the following:
hot, red and dry skin
When the body is exposed to very high temperatures, the mechanism that controls body temperature may stop working. Heatstroke can develop if heat stress or heat exhaustion is left untreated, but it can also occur suddenly and without warning.
Symptoms of heatstroke may include:
high body temperature – a temperature of or above 40°C (104°F) is a major sign of heatstroke
red, hot skin and sweating that then suddenly stops
fast shallow breathing
confusion/lack of co-ordination
loss of consciousness
Actions to protect children suffering from heat illness
The following steps to reduce body temperature should be taken immediately:
Move the child to as cool a room as possible and encourage them to drink cool water (such as water from a cold tap).
Cool the child as rapidly as possible, using whatever methods you can. For example, sponge or spray the child with cool (25 to 30°C) water – if available, place cold packs around the neck and armpits, or wrap the child in a cool, wet sheet and assist cooling with a fan.
Dial 999 to request an ambulance if the person doesn’t respond to the above treatment within 30 minutes.
If we feel a child has become ill because of the heat, we will carry out these steps and ask you to fetch them immediately.