Summer heat safety: Some ways parents can make sure kids are staying safe in the heat

With summer in full swing, kids are probably spending a lot more time outside. Rebecca Michelsen with Penfield Children's Center joins FOX6 WakeUp with some ways parents can make sure kids are staying safe in the heat. 

For more tips for staying cool, head over to our Kohl`s Building Blocks site, penfieldbuildingblocks.org.

Staying Safe in the Heat

  • Limit sun exposure and protect your child from the sun`s rays.
  • It can take just 15 minutes for unprotected skin to burn in the sun!
  • Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours or after a child has been sweating or swimming.
  • Limit time in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun`s UV rays are the strongest.

Dress for the heat

  •  Avoid overdressing. Wear lightweight clothing in breathable fabrics like cotton.
  •  While spending time in the sun, consider having your child wear a brimmed hat; this can be especially helpful if your child has little or no hair. o Know the signs of dehydration and overheating.
  • Your child may be dehydrated if he has sunken eyes, a dry tongue, dark colored urine, low energy, dry or cracked lips, has a decrease in wet diapers, and is crying with no tears. If your child is dehydrated, take him to a cooler environment and try to give him sips of water or breast milk/formula. If the situation does not resolve, call your pediatrician.
  • Your child may be overheating if he is warmer to the touch than usual, thirsty, sweating, acting tired or weak, and lacking energy. If you think your child is overheating, you should immediately take him to a cooler environment. If the situation seems extreme, you may need to undress him and sponge his body down with cool water. If the situation does not resolve, call your pediatrician.

Get your children excited about staying hydrated

  • High temperatures and increases in physical activity cause excessive sweating, which can quickly lead to dehydration. It`s important to increase your child`s fluid levels during these times.
  • While drinking water is always the best option, there are a variety of other ways kids can get their daily fluids. For example,  offering fresh fruits and vegetables (especially watermelon, oranges, pineapple, spinach and peppers) can help increase your child`s water intake.
  • Adding a little juice to your child`s water may encourage them to drink more water.
  • Add ice in fun shapes and crazy straws to your child`s drink. 
  •  Always keep a couple of water bottles on hand when running errands, or spending time outdoors.
  • Follow your instincts. If you are too hot or uncomfortable in the heat, so is your child.

Plan fun outdoor activities that will keep your kids cool!

  • While spending time outdoors, plan fun activities that involve water to keep your kids cool:
  • Sprinkler limbo
  • Water-based obstacle course: set up a track of fun activities in your backyard that include a kiddie pool, slip and slide, sprinkler, water balloons, and buckets of water. Let your child run around the yard, while staying wet and cool!
  • Drip, drip, drop:  Duck, duck, goose with a twist! Kids sit in a circle and one child holds a cup with water as he walks around the circle, dripping on each child`s head. Finally, he chooses one child to pour the cup of water on and that child is the chaser. 
  • Sponge toss: cut up pieces of sponge and form a large ball by securing them together with a rubber band. Submerge the big ball in water and toss around the yard. 
  • Toy cleaning station: Fill a large plastic container with water and another with soap. Gather a bunch of water-safe toys and have your little one wash and scrub to his heart`s delight!