My kids tend to go out into the neighborhood as they see fit. I usually don’t mind as long as they have their watches on, because I can easily locate/get in touch with them. (Plus we live on base in military housing, so the neighborhood is super safe!) The problem is, my kids often forget to drink enough water. They also don’t check the local news for the heat index before they run outdoors. Oh, and putting sunscreen on? Never happens. Fun fact: kids are actually three times more likely to suffer from a heat-related illness, because they sweat less than adults and tend to generate body heat more quickly. Because of this, I’ve created a visual reminder to make them aware of the weather.
First thing’s first, I show them this beautiful infographic so they know that heat-related illnesses are serious and can happen to them. I also like having a copy lying around just in case, so I’ll know just what to do.
I adapted this visual from Childcare Weather Watch, and it uses the temperature and humidity to show the heat index. The heat index is color coded: Green means it’s safe to go outside. Yellow means to use caution and be sure to hydrate properly. Red means to only go out in short durations, be sure to hydrate, and to refrain from doing heavy physical activity. For my children, red means stop. They aren’t to go out, because they don’t really have the ability to monitor the duration of their time outside.
- Laminate the indicator sheet pictured above (This is my favorite laminator.)
- Cut out the arrow
- Laminate the arrow
- Adhere one loop velcro dot next to each flag color
- Adhere one hook velcro dot to back of arrow
- Use daily weather reports to find temperature and humidity, and move arrow accordingly
If you have an iPhone, you can find the information you need right in your weather app.
Another super-important thing to think about during the summer months is keeping hydrated. I try to give my kids a goal for water-drinking each day. The rule is usually to drink at least 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water per day. My son loves this water bottle, because not only can he drink from it, but he can also squeeze it, and it shoots a mist out to cool him off.
Eating hydrating foods makes a big difference as well, which is great to keep in mind when packing lunches for summer camp, daycare, or that picnic you’ve been planning.
Here is another lovely infographic. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, infographics are my fave.)
Staying hydrated and keeping a regulated body temperature are imperative, and often they are concepts we don’t think about amidst the bustle of the summer. We usually focus on sunscreen alone and tend to forget about the other key safety measures to take. (BTW, my favorite sunscreen of the moment is Bullfrog Mosquito Coast,. It may not necessarily be all natural, but it’s a sunscreen AND bug repellant. It’s also deet free!) Hopefully this post has armed you with some good resources to help keep yourself and the littles you care for safe and happy this summer!