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Understand the Heat Index and Stay Safe

By Amanda Caraway, Community Engagement Coordinator |

As our summer weather begins, it’s important that you know how to protect yourself and the children in your care when the heat exceeds 80 degrees. Planning for daily playtime or field trips, weather safety is an important part of childcare provider’s daily routine. Monitoring the weather is an essential part of addressing the health and safety needs of children in childcare.

The chart below can help you plan for safe daily outdoor time. Find Cooling Centers in Clackamas County here.

Understand the Heat Index:*

  • 80° or below is considered comfortable
  • 90° beginning to feel uncomfortable
  • 100° uncomfortable and may be hazardous
  • 110° considered dangerous

*All temperatures are listed in Fahrenheit

GREEN: Children may play outdoors and be comfortable. Watch for signs of children becoming uncomfortable while playing. Use precautions regarding clothing, sunscreen, and beverages for all child age groups.

YELLOW: Use caution and closely observe the children for signs of being too hot while outdoors.

RED: Infants, toddlers, and young children should not play outdoors due to the health risks. Older children may play outside for a very limited time with proper precautions.

Caregivers should take note that infants and toddlers are unable to tell you if they are too hot. Rember not to apply sunscreen to infants younger than 6 months. Instead limit the amount of outdoor time, keep them out of direct sunlight, and stay in the shade.

For children aged 6 months and older, apply sunscreen to all exposed areas avoiding eyes. Use sunscreen labeled as SPF-15 or higher and look for sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. Remember it needs to be reapplied every 2 hours.

Remind children to take rest breaks and drink water even if they resist because they are enjoying their playtime. Drinking water helps the body maintain a comfortable temperature, and it should be easily available both inside and outside.

Learn more here.