Heat stroke and sun poisoning are two very dangerous results of being in direct sunlight and high temperatures for too long. When a child stays in direct sunlight and/or heat for too long, heat stroke and sun poisoning are two very real possible consequences. To reduce or prevent your chances of suffering from either, there are some simple things you can remember to teach your child to do.
1. Drink LOTS of water – Children love to keep busy and part of being a child is not realizing or remembering to do simple things that can potentially save them from hospital visits or even just feeling bad. Make sure that plenty of water is available to your children throughout the entire day, especially if you are outside and being active.
2. Stay in the shade – While the sun generally beckons children outside to play and have fun, some geographic locations and times during the day are just too hot to stay outside in. Have a lunch picnic under a tree, bring a big umbrella, or sit under an awning to keep out of direct sunlight and cool off.
3. Wear SPF – Ask your doctor what level of SPF is recommended for your child, as all children and locations will require different SPF for adequate sun protection. (Someone in Arizona may need more protection vs. someone in California, etc.)
4. Dress properly – Make sure that you do not wear clothing that is restrictive and that does not breathe well. Wear fabrics such as cotton that are lightweight and breathable. Hats are also important for small children (everyone, really!) to protect the delicate tops of their heads and their faces.
5. Do not physically overdo it – Children will often play longer and harder than they realize, continuing to play until they have reached a point of exhaustion. Remind your children to take frequent breaks for water, rest, shade, snacks and a re-application of SPF.
Following the five simple tips above will ensure that your children are safely enjoying their time outdoors this summer and any other time during the year when it is overly sunny and/or hot. Prevention is the best avenue to keeping your children happy and healthy and, luckily, has never been so easy!