Keeping cool during the long hot days of summer is not just about comfort, it’s also about safety.
When temperatures soar, many children are at risk of dangerous heat-related illnesses. As a parent or caregiver there are plenty of ways to ensure kids stay cool while enjoying the warmer weather.
Here are some tips to help:
- Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary, carbonated and caffeinated drinks to reduce risk of dehydration.
- Fill water bottles half-way then add ice cubes to ensure water stays cool for the hours ahead.
- Bring extra water and encourage your littles ones to frequently sip.
- Make homemade popsicles: make lemon water and freeze into popsicles. This is a great way to avoid unnecessary sugar/sweets and still help kids keep cool.
Eat “cooling” foods
- Eat raw fruits and vegetables. These foods help cool the body and keep kids hydrated.
- If you’re packing a meal and/or snacks for the day include foods that don’t need cooking – there are lots of recipes for cold soup that are healthy and cooling.
- Make a smoothie and consider freezing into popsicles (recipe below):
- one large ripe banana
- one kg of partially thawed strawberries
- two cups water/milk (cow’s milk, almond or soy beverage, depending on family’s preference)
- Blend and serve or freeze for later!
- Keep your food in a safe temperature zone – use ice packs to keep picnic foods cool, particularly foods that may spoil easily such as dairy, meat or prepared dips.
- Avoid being outdoors at the hottest time of the day (approximately 3pm).
- Pack sunscreen, sun hats and sunglasses for the whole family.
- Dress for the weather – dress children in light weight breathable materials. If children are outdoors, ensure they wear long sleeves to protect themselves from the sun. Spend as much time in the shade as possible.
- Keep long hair tied up or in braids to allow as much air as possible to evaporate sweat.
- Keep room temperatures down – if you have air conditioning, set it to maintain a comfortable temperature. No air conditioning? Use fans to circulate air and keep blinds or curtains closed to reflect out sunshine and keep rooms cool.
Plan cool activities
- Head to an air-conditioned library or community centre for play time.
- Look for splash-pads suitable for young children.
Simple preparation and planning will help make this summer a memorable one for all the right reasons - stay cool kids!
This story originally appeared on the BC Children’s Hospital website. It has been shared with permission.