“We’re in for another scorcher!” has become an all too frequent refrain this summer. With global temperatures on the rise and heat waves cascading across North America, the risks of heat exposure are also increasing severely. Is it even possible to enjoy those precious few months of summer? How can your children stay safe in extreme temperatures? Is there anything you can do about it?
Right now, 2020 takes the cake for the hottest year ever recorded, but phew! 2021 seems to be doing its best to give 2020 a run for its money! Despite the blazing sun and scorching pavement, there are still ways to get the most out of a hot summer.
Timing is everything
When going out to play, consider the time of day. Midday is going to be the hottest point of the day, so plan outdoor activities accordingly. Head to the playground early in the day or later in the afternoon. This will also help keep kids out of the height of direct sunlight. If there are activities that can be done inside air-conditioned spaces, choose the hottest parts of the day for those. It could also be the perfect time for a siesta or extra nap (extra rest does a world of good when the heat is high.) ChildWatch can be an invaluable tool for communicating with your child’s daycare center about the activities they’re doing at different times in the day.
Water is your best friend
Hydration is crucial all year round. In the summer it is particularly important to have water at the ready before children might feel thirsty. Be sure to encourage hydration before thirst sets in. Water based activities can also bring a welcome relief from the heat. If you don’t have access to swimming or sprinkler facilities you can get creative with different kinds of water fights, water-based art materials, or turn your tub or shower into a temporary beach retreat.
Pay attention to what you wear
Wearing light colored, breathable clothing makes a huge difference! Nothing is worse than sweating in unbreathable polyester on a sweltering day. Light colors will help absorb less heat from the sun to keep kids cool. Look for breathable fabrics like lightweight cotton and linen. While it can be tempting to go all sport performance for lightweight breathability, natural fibers will last longer and lead into one more thing you can do about the heat…
Learn about your role in sustainability
The problem of rising temperatures is huge and more than any one individual would be able to address on their own. It is easy to get overwhelmed with such a huge problem, but there are small ways you can make an impact. Purchasing clothing with natural fibers is just one step. Make it a project with your kids to pack reusable water bottles, pick up trash on walks to and from the park, plant something, or recycle. Start involving kids in the process of taking care of their environment from the very beginning. It will help build good habits now. And if enough of us do it, the scorchers might just stay under control.