Dirty feet, salty hair and the smell of sunscreen on a sleeping child, these are the tell tale signs of summer. We relish the days of disrupted schedules and long hours spent outside in the sun.
It is easy as a parent, on these beautiful long days, to forget that our kids don’t manage heat as well as adults. Tired kids are good kids but can also be hot kids. Little bodies aren’t able to dissipate heat as effectively and that means long camp days or a rambunctious play date can put children at risk for heat and sun overexposure.
To protect your kids from overdoing it this summer, consider these three tips for safety in the warm weather.
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Kids should always leave the house with a full water bottle and be able to refill their water independently. Consider hydrating snacks like fruit, frozen fruit pops and veggies.
Expert Tip: Unsure if your child is properly hydrated? Check the toilet. With the exception of first thing in the morning, urine should be a light straw colour to clear and bowel movements should be solid but without fissures and cracks.
Be sun safe.
Use sunscreen that is UV appropriate, free of parabens and chemicals. Get your kids in the habit of always wearing a hat and seeking out shade. Kids should wear sunglasses and breathable clothing. For a list of the best sunscreens, visit the 2018 EWG Guide to Sunscreens.
Limit exertion in heat.
Kids don’t sweat the same way adults do. On day of extreme heat, reserve physical activity for indoor spaces. If you have to be outside, seek out shade, limit intensity and rest often.
Expert tip: Know the signs of sun stroke. A fever while feeling cold, confusion, dry skin, headache, nausea, dizziness, rapid breathing and fatigue are symptoms of heat stroke and require emergency medical treatment.
Keeping these tips in mind, we wish you and your family an amazing summer full of fun, relaxation and new adventures.
Melanie is the owner, clinical director and senior physiotherapist at RPM Physiotherapy. She is a graduate of McMaster University and brings 16 years of experience as an orthopaedic physiotherapist to RPM. In 2017 she became certified as a pelvic health physiotherapist She is passionate about preventing injury and illness through healthy lifestyle. Melanie is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapy and is qualified to perform spinal and peripheral manipulation. Her treatments include not only manual therapy but also a strong exercise prescription component to prevent further injury. Contact Melanie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.