heatwave survival tips every parent should consider
Top 10 Tips to Beat the Heat
find your comfort level
Cooking children is frowned upon in most societies, so a thermometer for your child’s bedroom is a good investment. Experts recommend between 18 and 22 degrees, but if you find yourself sans thermometer, don’t stress it. As a rule of thumb if it feels comfortable for most adults it will be just fine for a child.
cool'n the gang
Unless you’re ‘one of those’ families, languishing in the cool comfort of central AC, the rest of us mortals are slavishly practicing that daily summer ritual - blocking every cursed ray of sun from entering our homes. That said, children’s bedrooms are often forgotten about. Consider keeping your child's room cool during the day by closing blinds or curtains, and open windows slightly at night (that’s assuming the temperature outside is actually cooler). A fan will circulate the air in the room while the white noise can also help lull them into deeper slumber. Get it right and they won’t be coming into your room at 1, 3 and 4 am with their warm little bodies. Everyone wins.
hot summer nights
If you’re one of the aforementioned with great AC, skip this section. Otherwise keep your child’s nightwear and bedding to a minimum during these hotter nights. For babies consider lightweight sleepsacks (muslin is ideal) with a short sleeve onesie underneath. For toddlers and children, a top sheet and light blanket or summer weight duvet should do the trick – always follow guidelines provided by Health BC.
dive right in
When temps are hot a quick dip in one of our local lakes or rivers will (after the initial shock, numbing and almost hypothermic convulsions) instantly bring your child’s core temperature to a more acceptable level. Consider sitting with feet in the water – it’s heavenly. A cool bath also works well. Where water restrictions allow, sprinklers on the lawn or misting attachments mix up fun with instant relief. If you’re OK with such wanton aggression (it’s also cool not to be) soaker blasters, hose fights and water bomb games will keep kids cooler while exercising. But say goodbye to a relaxing afternoon sipping Piña Coladas in the shade.
Keep children well hydrated throughout the day, increased temperatures accelerate dehydration- yet more water allows the body to sweat and therefore regulate temperature. Research studies indicate children are only drinking 1 – 3 glasses of water, vs. the recommended 6 – 8 glasses (source CBC Canadians Not Drinking Enough Water) so keeping water cool and readily available is the way to go. For once you’ll be happy when they ‘have to go pee’ 15 times a day!
Sun protection is an obvious, but important, step that we as parents could always improve on. If you were up at 5am and you managed to be one of the lucky few to get your littles into a summer camp or two, your trials aren’t yet over. Before shipping them off for the day, ensure they’re fully shielded with a kid friendly SPF 30, or better, and check to ensure that staff know when to reapply – we’ve learned from experience you can’t assume your child will take responsibility for this themselves! Sunshirts and UVA/B sunhats will save on time and product. If they’re going in water ensure the sunscreen is designed for that and reapply more often. More recommendations on sun protection for kids can be found here.
ice, ice baby
Ice-cream is a great idea. Stangely can’t find any Health Canada guidelines to corroborate this - but it just is....
Hot cars and children make for an unsavoury combo. The Canada Safety Council estimates that four to six children succumb to fatal vehicular heatstroke in Canada each years from being left in vehicles in hot weather. While it’s all too easy to say ‘I’ll just be a minute’, it’s also easy to get distracted and lose track of time. No matter how challenging it may seem, a better solution is to always bring the children with you when it’s this hot; or ensure they’re supervised by a responsible adult, or father, if around.
Here’s a simple but effective solution to overheating your littles. Consider staying indoors if it’s too hot outside.
When outside find or bring shade with you. Consider pop up tents and shades for the beach, sun shades for your vehicle and light but long sleeve clothing /wide brimmed sunhats to block out harmful rays. Favour beaches and parks with lots of trees for natural shade if you can. Before plonking your stuff on a beach or soccer park, spend a few seconds to consider where the sun will fall for majority of your time there. Chances are you may need to wrestle other equally savvy families for that same spot…so back to bringing your own shade – unless of course you can take ‘em.
You may also enjoy this article:
15 Tips for Surviving A Kootenay Summer With The Kids