Summer is a fun time for kids! School’s out, routines are forgotten, the days seem endless, and the opportunity to play outside all day is a likely occurrence. But most years, summer also sees a record high of tragic and otherwise preventable heat-related accidents. As I’m sure you know, summer is hot and things heat up very quickly! Child safety is a must.
Whilst you’re out enjoying wearing fewer layers, balmy summer nights and sunning your pale legs, there are few things that are important to remember. Especially if you’re caring for infants and small children, these key factors could mean the difference between life and death.
First off, know that the optimal body temperature is between 36 and 37 degrees celsius and in extreme heats, the body struggles to regulate this temperature to cool itself down. Babies and toddlers are very susceptible to hot weather, and can quickly become stressed or agitated by the heat. If exposed to heat for too long, they run the risk of suffering heat stroke. During the hot days or when your child is running a high temperature, always monitor your child’s symptoms. If they are looking unwell, become floppy or overly irritable, have fewer wet nappies, and/or refuse liquids, it may be time to seek medical attention.
To avoid the chance of your little ones baking from overexposure to the blistering heat, here’s our
7 Tips For Child Safety In The Summer Heat
1. Never leave your child alone in the car
We’ve all been there, debating the risk of waking the blissfully sleeping baby just to dash into the corner store for milk. I mean the saying goes, “never wake a sleeping baby!” But in this case, the saying is wrong. The risk of your sleeping child overheating in the car just isn’t worth it, and it’s never a good idea. This summer alone there have been x amount of deaths from children left alone in vehicles. Even if the air conditioning is on and the temperature feels cool to you, your child could still become stressed and agitated while left unattended. Whilst laws vary, it’s never ok to leave your child in the car. Also ensure that children are shaded from the sun when driving. Your child’s safety comes first.
2. Slow down between 11am and 3pm
Embrace the shade or indoor activities during the hottest part of the day. Allow time for your children to rest and recoup their energy. It’s the perfect time to cuddle up and read a book on the couch!
3. Understand the Sun
Particularly in Australia, it’s vital that children understand how harsh the sun is, and that even on shaded and windy days, the UV can still be dangerously high. To help your child understand the importance and significance of the sun and the dangers of sunburn, ensure you talk regularly with them about it. Introduce books, stories, movies and even informational pamphlets to make it easier for them to understand.
4. Drink plenty of water
Keep your kids hydrated with plenty of water, and remember to always carry water bottles with you during the summer heat. Breastfeeding and formula-fed babies can have small sips of cool boiled water if necessary between feeds. And if your kids aren’t super keen on water, freeze fresh fruit for them to suck on.
Further Reading: Not sure when you should start offering water to your baby? Here’s our guide.
5. Slip, Slop, Slap
When at the beach or pool, you can never be too cautious with your kids. Use baby and toddler approved sunscreen with 40+ strength SPF, and reapply after every two hours. If your child wipes their eyes a lot, you will need to reapply sooner. Avoid the risk of harsh sunburn by covering up with long-sleeved rash guard shirts and board shorts. Remember: No hat, no play!
6. Keep children shaded at all times when out in the sun
Use a light cloth material, sarong or scarf to shade the pram from harsh sunlight when out running errands and make sure your child’s arms and legs are well covered and that their straps are not too tight. For days at the park, outdoor play centres or even just in the backyard, invest in a portable shade tent. Call it a “cubby” and fill it with drink bottles, towels, hats, snacks, books and toys to keep them happily playing in the shade.
7. Stay cool
The heat is difficult to deal with when you’ve got little ones. It’s always much easier to put more clothes on them in the cold than it is to get them to cool down in the summer heat. Make sure you dress your child in cool, lightweight clothing that allows for plenty of airflow. For bubs and toddlers during extreme temps, stripping them down to just their diaper whilst indoors can help. A light lukewarm sponge bath can help to reduce elevated body temperature.
>>> How do you manage the summer heat with kids?
A version of this post appeared first on Care Academy, written & contributed by NANNY SHECANDO.