One consequence of climate change is the anticipated increased frequency, variability, and length of temperature extremes. These events have measured effects on the population, not limited to direct injury and death from extreme weather events, water contamination and gastrointestinal illness, and heat-stress. Children are among the most vulnerable groups for these adverse health outcomes related to temperature which may affect their health care utilization by increasing visitation to the ED during extreme temperatures. However, there is a lack of local evidence (and limited general knowledge) on how extreme temperatures (hot and cold) affect the health of children in our region, particularly those who rely on the ED services offered by LHSC. This pilot project will benefit child health as it will further examine the role of temperature on specific health outcomes and provide evidence on how temperature affects specific age-groups and those living in urban areas compared to non-urban areas.
Given that our climate is changing, there is a need to monitor and understand across-time changes in the effect of extreme temperatures on paediatric health in our area and to inform local hospital and community-based programs and policies that aim to address these adverse outcomes.