Polk County Health Department

Extreme heat guidelines for child care providers and home visiting agencies

Child Care Providers: Children are less able to regulate their body temperature and more likely to become dehydrated compared to adults.  During extreme heat, keep children cool and, if at all possible, stay in air-conditioned spaces.  If outdoors, stay in shade whenever possible and limit outdoor time between 11 am and 4 pm when temperatures and UV radiations are most intense.  Consider cancelling outdoor activities and keep children indoors.  Be sure children are well hydrated and monitor children closely for signs and symptoms of heat-related effects. 

Home Visiting Agencies & Staff: Check on clients who do not have air conditioning to make sure they are okay and taking steps to prevent heat related illness. Please inform clients that two hours in air conditioning during a 24-hour period can prevent heat related illness and death.  Discuss signs/symptoms of illness, safety tips and cooling center locations and hours.  211 has cooling center locations/times. Tell clients that DART provides free rides to and from cooling centers.  Riders just need to inform the bus driver they are going to or coming from a cooling center; and the ride is free.

Here are several tips to share with your clients:

  • Do not use appliances during the daytime.
  • Keep windows and blinds closed during the day to keep heat out.
  • Open windows when temperatures are the lowest from 4 am - 7 a.m. Drink plenty of water.
  • Do not sit directly in front of a fan; this can dehydrate.
  • Freeze a bottle of water such as a milk jug and place it in front of the fan to make the air cooler. 

Contact Us

Phone: (515)-286-3798
Fax: (515)-286-2033
Toll free: 866-209-1300

Address: 1907, Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314