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Elementary Kids and the Summer Heat

by Joe Lawrence | July 27th, 2016 | Elementary, Safety
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kid swingsThere is no doubt that kiddos want to be playing outside during the summer. All winter long they are cooped up and can’t wait to explore the outdoors. However, we have to make sure we are cognizant of the heat and the effect it can have on our children.

A couple of years ago, my wife and I went all out and spent all we had on getting a fence and a playset for our children. They already had loads of toys and many other things to keep them busy, but not now we could have them play with a little more autonomy and get some things done without having constant eyes on them. That is the good. The bad is we live in South Carolina, and most of the summer our weather is in the 90’s with 100% humidity and a heat index of 110. It is incredibly hot.

Our kids don’t seem to care though. They would play outside all day if we let them. However, because of the heat we have to ensure they are getting plenty of rest and even more importantly, plenty of water. You don’t have to live in the south to have hot days and certainly must recognize the potential for heat exhaustion. The key to all of this is to get plenty of fluids and opportunities to cool off.

If you are an outdoor worker of any type or married to one, you are probably familiar with work/rest cycles. Depending on the temperature it can vary from 45 minutes on with 15 minute breaks down to 20 minute sessions. As adults who are working out in the heat, we are not typically running around like lunatics as our children are. They are basically working their bodies just as hard, if not more than us. We need to ensure they are taking frequent breaks.

On hot summer days, I like to let them play for 15-20 minutes and then call them over to a shaded area for some bubbles or something fun like that. After we do that and consume some water, I let them play a bit more. Then after another 20 minutes, we take a snack break inside or have a Popsicle on the porch. The idea here is to get their core temp down and to force more fluids into them. Finally, I will give them another 20 minute spurt, and it is time to come into the air conditioning for a while.

We want to encourage our children to play outside and to enjoy the summer, but we have to make sure they are safe and respecting the heat.

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