Staying Safe from Heat During Summer Camps and Activities

A thermometer held up in front of a bright sun.
CDC

As the summer of 2024 progresses with record temperatures across much of the country, the EPA is highlighting key resources that can help students, parents, caregivers, teachers, coaches, monitors, and those in supervisory roles understand the risks associated with heat.

With more than 20,000 summer camps accommodating over 26 million children this summer, it is crucial that to understand how to manage and adapt to extreme heat, and how to recognize and respond to the assorted signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and heat stroke.

Children Are Especially Heat Sensitive

Children are one of the groups of people particularly vulnerable to extreme heat. With bodies that are still growing and developing, children process heat in different ways than adults, including sweating less, breathing faster, and experiencing higher heart rates to circulate more blood throughout their bodies. Importantly, children rely on guidance from adults to help keep them safe.

Know the Heat Risk for Your Area

HeatRisk: Find real-time information about the heat index and level of caution needed based on your location. This tool from the National Weather Service is a great starting point for any parent or adult charged with supervision of children to reference for understanding current and future outdoor conditions (en español aqui).

AirNow: Get real-time air quality information based on zip code or city. It is another great resource as extreme heat can exacerbate and worsen air quality, which can further complicate participation of children and vulnerable groups with respiratory conditions in outdoor events (en español aqui).

Resources to Prepare and Learn About a Heat Event

Ready.gov and Heat.gov are great go-to resources to learn more about extreme heat and how to stay safe, as is the Center for Disease Control’s Extreme Heat page.

To go further into the science and research of how extreme heat impacts adolescents, see this factsheet and this paper from the American Academy of Pediatrics, or this paper from the National Institutes of Health on heat acclimatization. The Pediatric Environmental Health Speciality Units provide valuable information, with resources in English and Spanish.

Written by the EPA.