Extreme heat is a health risk. Heat-related illness is preventable by drinking enough fluid (water is best) and staying cool.

Make plans to keep cool before the hot weather starts. If you have an air conditioner, make sure it works properly.

On very hot days, if you do not have air conditioning at home:

  • Find an air-conditioned spot close by where you can cool off for a few hours. This will help you cope with the heat.
  • If you live alone, arrange for regular visits by family members, neighbours or friends during very hot days in case you need help. Visitors can help identify signs of heat illness that you may not recognize or could be missed over the phone.
  • Drink plenty of water, even before you feel thirsty.
  • Wear loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing and when outdoors wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid the sun and stay in the shade or use an umbrella.
  • Reschedule or plan outdoor exercise (e.g., run, walk, bike) during the cooler parts of the day (morning or evening).
  • Never leave a person or pet inside a parked car.
  • If you sleep outside during the day, try to sleep in the shade. Remember the shade moves, so try to sleep in a spot that will be shady for a few hours.

In the summer, your house or apartment can get hotter and stay hotter longer than the air outside. Make a plan to keep your home cool:

  • If you have air conditioning, use it. Be sure to turn it on before the air in your place is hot.
  • Keep blinds or drapes closed to block out the sun during the day.
  • Make meals that don’t involve the use of an oven, especially if you don’t have air conditioning.
  • If possible, open your windows at night to let cooler air in.
  • Unplug electronics and turn off lights when not in use.
  • If your home is not air conditioned and hot:
    • Take cool showers or baths or use cool wet towels to cool down.
    • Take a break from the heat in a cool place. You can check for the nearest cool space:
      • By visiting the Heat Relief Network map.
      • Or Call 311 for information about cool spaces that are open to the public.
  • Landlords must post the location of the nearest cool location (name, address and map to location of a publicly accessible air-conditioned location).
  • Use your fan in or next to a window. Box fans are best.
  • Use a fan to bring in the cooler air from outside.
  • Use your fan by plugging it directly into the wall outlet. If you need an extension cord, it should be CSA (Canadian Standards Association) approved.
  • Don’t use a fan in a closed room without windows or doors open to the outside.
  • Don’t believe that fans cool air. They don’t. They just move the air around. Fans keep you cool by evaporating sweat.
  • Don’t use a fan to blow extremely hot air on yourself. This can cause heat exhaustion to happen faster.
  • If you’re afraid to open your window to use a fan, choose other ways to keep cool. See the other tips on this page.
  • Do not use fans when the temperature in a room is 34 degrees Celsius or higher as it creates a “convection oven” type of effect. This is especially a concern for older adults and people taking certain medications since their ability to sweat is decreased.

If your child gets locked inside a car, or you witness a child left in a hot car, call 911 immediately.

The temperature inside a car can heat up quickly, creating an environment that can cause harm or even death.

During the summer, as the outside air temperature increases, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach dangerously high levels. Opening the car window slightly or parking in the shade does not keep the temperature at a safe level.

Why parked cars are dangerous

Young children, especially infants, are much more sensitive to heat than adults. Rising temperatures inside a car can produce significant heat stress on children causing severe dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke that may result in serious illness or death.

What parents and caregivers need to know

  • Never leave your child in an unattended car, even with the windows open.
  • Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks when parked in the driveway or near your home so that children do not play in them and become trapped.
  • Check to make sure that all children leave the vehicle when you arrive at your destination. Don’t overlook sleeping infants and young children.
  • Check the temperature of your child’s safety seat surface and safety belt buckles before restraining children in the car. Your child’s skin can be severely burned if it touches car seat surfaces that are dangerously hot.
  • Keep car keys out of reach and sight of children.