Outdoor play and exploration is a great way to support children’s development. But, when temperatures soar, as they have this summer, outdoor playtime can be dangerous. No one wants to be stuck inside when they’re on summer vacation, so how can parents facilitate outdoor activities while keeping kids safe? Here are some tips to protect your kids from the heat, and get the most out of your summer!
Know the Signs:
Heat illness happens gradually. Normally a child will show symptoms of heat exhaustion which will then progress to heat stroke if left unchecked. Heat stroke can cause brain damage, so it’s important to act quickly if a child shows symptoms. Symptoms of heat exhaustion in children can include:
· Elevated temperatures
· Cool, clammy skin despite the high temperatures
· Nausea or vomiting
· Muscle cramps
· Increased thirst or sweating
If a child is showing symptoms, bring the child to a cool, shaded place (if you are away from home, the car is a great option). Have the child remove any excess layers of clothing or equipment they may have on. Encourage them to drink cool fluids that contain salt (like sports drinks). Apply a cold wet towel or sponge to their skin to bring body temperature down. If the child complains of muscle cramps, gently stretch or massage sore muscles. If symptoms get worse, seek medical help!
To prevent heat exhaustion enjoy outdoor activities in the early morning or evening and avoid going out when the sun is at its hottest between 10 am- 2 pm. Seek out shady spots where kids can come to rest, or rehydrate. Choose clothing that is loose fitting, light-colored and wicks moisture away from the body. Lastly, schedule frequent water breaks to help kids cool off and stay hydrated.
Enjoy your summer and stay safe!