Keeping Kids Cool This Summer

By Andrea K. Clark

As many of you know, most of the United States is experiencing an unusually high heat wave that extends from the Midwest all the way to the east coast and even into some of the Northern states. While a lot of people from the central U.S. are used to the triple digit heat, there are many more who are not…and regardless of where people are from, many don’t take the heat seriously. This is when heat strokes and even death can occur.

Just today, a four year old little boy was left in a van outside his daycare in Dallas and died as a result. While this is an extreme case (forgetting a child in a vehicle when temps are 100+), it happens every year. You don’t have to forget your child in the vehicle to put him/her in danger with the summer heat. Children do not have the heat tolerance that adults do and special care needs to be taken with kids when temperatures begin to rise – no matter where you are. Below are a few tips.

• Stay Hydrated – It’s important that you keep your kids hydrated at all times, but especially so during the summer as temperatures begin to rise. This does not mean keeping them full of pop or other sugary drinks. You need to increase the amount of water your children get and when you’re going to be outside for a prolonged period of time, some Gatorade is good too.

• Avoid Afternoon Outdoor Activities – Depending on where you live, temperatures may easily reach the 90s by 11:00 a.m. and by 1:00 p.m., you’re looking at triple digit temperatures again. If you have young children at home, it’s best to avoid outdoor activities that take place during the afternoon. If you have fun outdoor activities that you want to enjoy with your kids, plan them either before 11:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m., when temperatures are cooler (or are beginning to cool off).

• Always Double Check Your Vehicles – When you get home, always double check your vehicle to make sure everyone is out of the car and has made it inside the house. Day cares and those responsible for large groups of children are not the only people who accidentally leave children in vehicles. The risk rises when you are transporting a child you wouldn’t normally be transporting, whether it’s your own child or someone else’s. Deviating from our normal routines can cause us to forget,  especially if a small child has fallen asleep in the vehicle and isn’t heard.

• Monitor Children When Playing Outside – Don’t just let your children go outside and play in the backyard without checking on them. Even if it is before the temperatures have reached their max, check on your kids regularly when they are playing outside. Better yet, be outside with them while they are playing outside. And, always have cold water available to them!
It doesn’t matter where you are, what you’re doing or how long you’re going to be doing it for – always take the summer heat seriously, especially with young children. Follow the tips above to ensure your children remain safe throughout the summer and don’t suffer from any heat-related illnesses.

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