For those in the northern hemisphere you may have noticed SUMMER IS HERE! The season has already brought on extreme temperatures and heat advisories. Parents may be left with an age-old conundrum: How hot is too hot to play outside and how do I keep my kids safe in this heat?
Even in cooler conditions a person can suffer from heat exhaustion after about 45 minutes of intense exercise! Many kids just don’t know when to take it easy. A day of play in the sprinklers or a soccer game is great for restless children but it can make for a recipe for disaster if certain precautions aren’t taken.
Remember that you’re responsible for your kids. They don’t know when enough is enough or that it’s time to reapply sunblock and have a drink of water. It’s all up to you! There are tons of great options for sun protective clothing and hats, even with moisture wicking material. Make sure your child wears breathable, cotton fabrics and a wide-brimmed hat and stays out of the sun whenever possible.
If they’re at school or camps this summer make sure you ask about their sunscreen policy. Do you need to drop off a tube? Who’s responsible for putting it on/reapplying? Do you need to put it on before they leave the house? This is important to discuss with your care provider, especially if you have a fair-skinned child. Pack a refillable water bottle, too.
Hydration is key. If you’re not sure if your child is adequately hydrated, check their urine. It should be colorless with very little smell. The more yellow and the more it smells the more dehydrated you are.
- Remember to have kids take plenty of breaks and to offer plenty of water (WATER! much better than juice & alternatives)
- Play in the shade whenever possible
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that breathes
- Watch children carefully for signs of heat exhaustion
- Don’t take any chances; go to the emergency room if symptoms of heat stroke persist
On average, the CDC reports that 675 people die from intense heat related illnesses each year in the Unites States. Children – especially infants to age four – are much more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses because their bodies are less efficient at cooling.
If caring for a baby, they are obviously ultra-sensitive so here’s a link to a helpful article from iVillage about protecting baby from heat stroke.
Heat-related illness is almost entirely preventable and it is important to know the signs of overheating:
- Light headedness, dizziness
- Obvious fatigue
- Cessation of sweating
- Obvious loss of skill and coordination/clumsiness or unsteadiness
- Aggressive or irrational behavior
- Altered consciousness
- Ashen grey pale skin
Of course everyone wants to play outside in the sunny weather, and a great time can be had by all when precautions are taken. Kids and adults love to play outdoors and these simple tips can help everyone have a safe summer!
Hope you’re enjoying the extra family time!