Most people associate heat stroke and heat exhaustion with far-flung tropical locations but they can still be a risk in Europe and the UK.
Babies and children under four are especially vulnerable, as their small bodies are unable to regulate their body temperature as efficiently as older children and adults. It is therefore extremely important to keep those younger members of the family cool and well hydrated.
Part of the fun of a summer holiday or day out on a sunny day is being able to play in the sunshine, but parents should make sure that there is a shady place for the family too. Some families use beach parasols or children's tents, although simply choosing to sit in the shade of tree or rock is fine. Encourage your children to take time out to cool down occasionally, and don't fall into the trap of thinking you're not getting your 'money's worth' out of your holiday unless your children spend every moment in the sun - boisterous games in the midday heat are not ideal!
A tepid bath or shower can help bring the body’s temperature down, but be warned, swimming in the sea or pool with an uncovered head can be counterproductive. If things get too hot and sticky, remember you can always withdraw to an air-conditioned restaurant or cafe for a few hours, or opt for a siesta. Using a high factor sunscreen to protect your children's skin is vital, but while creams will protect against UV rays, they will not stop a child getting uncomfortably hot. Loose, light clothing and a wide-brimmed sunhat help prevent overheating as well as giving extra protection to the skin.