Learn first aid for a child who may have heat exhaustion
Recognise the symptoms, signs, and learn first aid treatment for children or babies with heat exhaustion
Last updated 15 July 2022
A child or baby with heat exhaustion might have been in the sun or heat for a long time. They might be sweating, have ashen, cool skin, have a headache or dizziness, and feel sick.
Learn first aid for an adult
We also have specific advice for first aid for an adult who may have heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
First aid advice for a child or baby with heat exhaustion
1. Help the child or baby to a cool place and get them to rest.
Heat exhaustion happens when someone loses too much fluid and salt usually from sweating in hot conditions.
2. Give the child or baby plenty to drink
Drinking water will replace lost fluids.
- Babies under 6 months old might want to feed more often - whether that's breast or bottle. They don't need to be offered water.
- If you are breastfeeding it’s even more important to keep well hydrated yourself.
- For babies who are formula fed, make sure to mix the milk according to the manufacturer's instructions. Importantly, it doesn't need to have more water added.
- Babies who are over 6 months old or who are weaning can be given small volumes of additional water (boiled and cooled), but this shouldn’t replace any normal milk feeds given.
Seek medical advice.
Even if the child or baby appears to recover fully, you should seek medical advice. If their condition gets worse, call 999 for emergency help.
Common questions about first aid for someone who has heat exhaustion
What are the signs of heat exhaustion?
- dizzy or confused, and complaining of headaches or cramps
- sweating, with cooler skin to the touch
- paler than usual - depending on your skin tone, this could mean your skin looks ashen, grey or a more yellowish hue. It might be easier to notice this change in colour on the palms of hands, nails, eyes, gums or tongue.
- feel nauseous, with fast breathing and heart rate
What is heatstroke?
Heatstroke occurs when someone becomes so hot it causes a failure of the brain’s thermostat, leading to the body becoming dangerously overheated. It is an emergency and needs medical help urgently.
What are the signs of heat stroke for a child or baby?
A child with heatstroke may:
- have hot, flushed, and dry skin
- have a headache, feel dizzy, or be confused and/or restless
- rapidly worsening condition leading to being unresponsive
- body temperature over 40°C
What do I do if a child or baby has heat stroke?
Call 999 immediately or ask someone else to do it.
Quickly move them into a cool environment and remove outer clothing. Loosely wrap the person in cold damp clothes or a sheet. Continuously pour cold water over the sheet or clothes. If there is no sheet available, you can also fan them or sponge them with cold water. Keep cooling them while waiting for help to arrive for further treatment.
If their temperature returns to normal and they no longer feel hot to touch, you can stop cooling them. Replace the wet sheet with a dry one and help them to rest.
Email us if you have any other questions about first aid for someone who has heat exhaustion.
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