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Keeping Kids and Pets Cool in a Heat Dome

Even though South Florida is home to cooling Atlantic breezes, the state is subject to heat domes just as much as the rest of the nation. A heat dome occurs when a strong high-pressure system combines with an El Niño – particularly high Pacific water temperatures. A heat dome results, trapping the hot air inside and preventing it from dissipating. It creates extremely high temperatures that are dangerous for children and pets. There are some ways that can help keep kids and pets cool in a heat dome.

Limit Playtime

Restrict outdoor playtime for children and pets. Stay in the shade whenever possible. If youngsters or pets must go out, it’s better to do so in the early morning or later in the evening. It’s important to remember that concrete sidewalks can reach temperatures of 125° F., even without being under the influence of a heat dome. It burns paws and bare feet.

Hydration and Cooling

The body sweats to cool off, which requires drinking more water in hot weather. It’s much more difficult for pets to reduce body temperature than people. Make plain, cool water available for kids and pets. Whether it’s a child or a pet, carry a bottle of water to keep them hydrated, even if the outing is only of short duration. Remain under air-conditioning if available and don’t be reticent about seeking a cooling center. Fans are ineffective for cooling in a heat dome – they simply blow around hot air.

Stoves and Windows

Blocking windows to keep sunlight from entering will benefit children, pets and the entire household and aid in keeping it cooler. Avoid cooking on kitchen stoves whenever possible and don’t use the oven.


One of the easiest ways to keep kids and pets cool is through water-based activities. Individuals can make use of a wading pool for youngsters or pets. A homemade slip and slide is another option. Misting hoses and sprinkler pads are equally effective for cooling kids and pets during a heat dome event.

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