Extreme Heat Affects Early Childhood Development and Health

Personal experience, common sense, and science confirm that temperatures are rising globally. Heat waves are occurring with greater frequency and lasting longer than ever before. According to the World Meteorological Organization, 2023 is believed to have been the hottest year on record.

Humans have successfully adapted to a wide range of climates, but there are limits to our tolerance and climatic conditions beyond which our bodies cannot cool themselves sufficiently. While the dangers of excessive heat to certain populations, such as the elderly, are well-known, its effects on pregnancy, infancy, and childhood receive less attention.Extreme heat affects infants and young children more than most adults—and potential impacts on their health and development can be lifelong. Because all children should have the opportunity to thrive, it is critical that we understand how extreme heat affects children and then determine how best to take action.