Hypothermia in children occurs when their body temperature drops below the limits considered normal – that is, below 35 degrees. The body’s thermoregulatory mechanisms begin to fail when it falls under it.
Hypothermia is usually a consequence of prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, without adequate protection. In this article you will learn what to do if you have to deal with a case of hypothermia in young children.
Hypothermia in children and babies: You should dispute this
First of all, it is important to know that there are many different ways the body can lose heat. These include:
- Radiation: There is a difference in the temperature gradient between the body and the environment.
- Conduction: This occurs by contact with surfaces with a specific temperature. In hypothermia, it involves contact with cold or low temperatures.
- Evaporation: This is the consequence of heat loss when converting body fluid to steam or gas. For example, increased sweating, rapid breathing, etc.
Causes of hypothermia in children
Hypothermia can occur in any group of the population, and at any time during the year. Babies and young children are most likely to be bothered by it because their bodies are still developing. Thus, the mechanisms for regulating the temperature are not fully developed yet.
The most common causes of hypothermia in children and babies are:
- Insufficient protection against low temperatures.
- Allowing your baby or baby to wear wet clothes for too long in a cold environment or when it is cold.
- In some cases, when children have a fever, parents try to lower the temperature by exposing them to cold temperatures ( ice packs, cold water, fans, etc.). This can lead to thermoregulation shock, due to such a sudden change in temperature.
Hypothermia in children
Hypothermia in children may be a consequence of inadequate protection against low temperatures. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the symptoms.
The symptoms of hypothermia
- Children and infants tremble or get tremors.
- Their skin may become cold and pale, but in many babies the skin remains pink.
- Their breathing and heart rate decrease.
- Their reflexes do not respond.
How to deal with hypothermia in an infant?
You must contact a doctor at the first sign of hypothermia in your baby. If you do not have immediate medical attention, you can do the following while on the road or waiting:
- Gradually increase the ambient heat and take them to a heated room.
- Remove any wet clothing they may be wearing.
- Cover and protect your head with a hat or blanket, and squeeze them against your chest so that they warm up to your body heat.
- Do not use a direct heat source on bare skin. Do not use hot water bottles or compresses unless there is clothing in between, as this can lead to burns.
- Check your baby’s vital signs at all times, even after stabilizing your hypothermia. Check your breath if they lose consciousness. If you need to do oral resuscitation, place the baby in a stable side position. Then do mouth-to-mouth and continue with a heart massage while waiting for medical attention.
If you have a case of baby hypothermia in your hands, it is important to warm them up gradually. If their symptoms get worse or are obviously severe, you need to do what you consider necessary to get them to a doctor as soon as possible.
How to deal with hypothermia in children?
Depending on the severity of the situation, you may need to call 113. Evaluate the symptoms. If you do not notice severe signs of hypothermia, proceed to the following steps:
- Place the baby in a bathtub full of warm water until you see that the color of the skin returns to normal. Help them up and dry them quickly.
- Afterwards, dress them up in warm, dry clothes, take them into a warm room and wrap them in as many blankets as they need. Just like for babies, you can hold them close to you, to warm them up with your body heat. Also cover your heads with a hat, as well as your hands and feet.
- Also give them hot drinks and high-energy foods.
- Do not leave them alone as the symptoms may worsen.
Usually, your body temperature will return to normal for a relatively short period of time after you have used these techniques. However, if this does not happen and the child’s health deteriorates, take them to the emergency room immediately or call an ambulance.