3 essential tips to keep your child cool during our heatwave
I walked outside this morning to bring my 3 kiddos to Cul Camp, and when I stepped outside couldn’t tell if I was outdoors, or still in my bathroom with the shower on hot and the door closed! I was sweating within seconds of stepping outside. It was a scorcher—with temps reaching nearly 30+C Kids' body surface area make up a greater proportion of their overall weight (compared to an adult) which makes them sweat more (proportionally) so they lose more electrolytes and become more at risk for dehydration. They are also less likely to recognize the early signs of heat effects on their bodies or, even if they do, they are less likely to act appropriately. These factor put them at high risk to suffer from heat-related illness.
- Keep kids hydrated. If you wait until your child is thirsty it is too late, he is already dehydrated! Get your kids drinking before thirst develops and consume additional fluids even after thirst is quenched. For kids exercising more than 45 minutes, fluids with electrolytes should be provided (eg: Lucozade or other sports drinks; coconut water is also a great natural source of most needed electrolytes.)
- Restrict outdoor activities. When possible, plan for vigorous exercise to occur early or late in the day, and limit your little one's outdoor exercise during the peak sun hours of 11am-3pm. Talk to your child’s camp leaders or coaches, and ask them what their plan is for the hot days: Are there extra water breaks? Will they encourage drinking during those breaks? Will they allow children to rest if they look fatigued? Older children who are athletes often face pressure to continue to participate, so educate your child to listen to his/her body and to take breaks when needed. (It is much “cooler” to make it through the day at sports camp then it is to get carted off to the Emergency Room for intravenous fluids!)
- Dress appropriately! Dress your child in a single layer of light-colored, loose-fitted breathable clothing (less sun absorption from the bright colors and the loose fit enables your child to sweat (it's the body’s natural way to let off extra heat). And please do not forget to protect your and your children's skin: ALWAYS USE SUNSCREEN!
- Tachycardia (fast heart rate)
- Nausea, vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Cool-clammy skin