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The Hazard of Heat This Summer

by Tania Cowling | July 26th, 2016 | Preschool, Safety
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preschooler summerThe sun is shining, the temperature is soaring, and you are sweating. This sounds like you have to be indoors in the AC, but not really. With a little common sense and forethought you can be outdoors enjoying your summer and still keep your kids safe from the elements. Here are a few tips for you and your preschoolers.

Dehydration is the number one concern during summer activities. It has no age boundaries and can affect anyone from a newborn to age 100. Preschoolers have the ability to listen to their bodies and realize when they need to quench their thirst. Hopefully they will communicate their needs to you. But, sometimes when children are so busy with play, they forget to hydrate and dehydration can occur. Parents need to stop children from activities and encourage them to drink before they are thirsty. Because, by the time a child feels thirst, they’re already dehydrated. Make sure to take water breaks often and be the role model by hydrating along with your kids. Young children tend to lose a larger percentage of their body weight in fluids than adults when sweating.

Symptoms of dehydration include dry lips and mouth, fatigue, and dizziness. Another sign is a child who hasn’t urinated for six hours or longer. You want to catch this dehydration problem before it ever gets severe.

Preschool kids love having their personal water bottle or cup. In order to prevent dehydration, a child should drink a cup of water every 20 minutes on hot days. Limit caffeinated and sweetened beverages, which can deplete the body of water. Some sports drinks and coconut water have become popular these days to keep children and adults from losing their water capacity and electrolytes.

Keeping the body cool is another factor that is important during scorching days. Have a “wet-down” period by misting each other with a spray bottle of water to avoid becoming overheated.

Make sure to pack for the heat during outings to prevent heat illness. Here are some other tips to consider.

  • Young children need to wear a wide brim hat during outdoor play.
  • Purchase a pair of sunglasses for your preschooler with a UV screening filter.
  • Look for shady spots to take breaks from the sun.
  • Slather on the sunscreen with at least a minimum of SPF 15 or more. Be aware that sunscreen does not insulate the body from dehydration.
  • Dress the kids in appropriate lightweight clothing. When swimming take along a shirt to cover up when the sun shines down on bare skin. There are even special swimsuits that block out ultraviolet rays.
  • Be aware of any medical conditions, or medications that can cause your child to be more heat sensitive.
  • Pay attention to your weather reports, temperatures including humidity. The “feels like” number is usually higher than the thermometer readings.

By all means, don’t let the hazard of heat ruin your outdoor activities. Simply make a point to be aware of your surroundings and have the necessary equipment to keep your kids safe.

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