National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) is advising all nurseries and anyone working with young children to be extra careful in current hot temperatures.
Lead Early Years Adviser Jo Baranek said: “Although it is lovely to have some sunny days, the heat itself can cause many problems particularly for young children and can exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma.
“Learning about being safe in the sun is an important life lesson. Make sure you lead by example so the children see adults enjoying the sun but being safe in hot weather. Encourage them to be ‘sun safe’, to know the risks and look after their friends to see if they are ok.
“This will help instil in children the basis for enjoying the sun safely throughout their life.”
She added: “Many nurseries have canopies or gazebos that give good shade in the middle of the day. If you have trees, make sure the shade is complete, not speckled as children can still burn under speckled shade.”
NDNA’s advice includes the following:
- Don’t let children outside during the hottest hours (11am until 3pm) unless they are totally shaded and during the rest of the day, don’t let them stay out for long periods of time
- When they do go out on a hot day, reduce the level of activity – maybe have storytime or quieter activities such as creative, sand or water play
- Keep lots of fresh cool water available for children who can self serve, not left out in the sun, ideally with lots of ice cubes to keep it cool. Give them gentle reminders – have you had a drink recently?
- For younger ones, keep offering them drinks throughout the day
- Make sure staff drink plenty of fluids in front of the children to reinforce this behaviour
- Make sure the children and staff are all wearing their sun hats and sun cream – encourage the older ones to put it on themselves under supervision. Explain why this is important.
- Recommend the use of wide brimmed sun hats and loose fitting clothing to parents for the children
- Do take babies outdoors but keep them in the shade – however, don’t sit them on the floor if it’s too hot to hold the back of your hand there for longer than 5 seconds
- Pushchairs if left outside in the sun can also get very hot – keep them indoors or in the shade when not being used
- Try to keep your nursery as cool as possible, using ventilation, fans, draw the curtains against the strong sun if possible
- Remember some of your children with SEND may be more at risk during the hot days
- If any of your children are behaving differently to normal, or become floppy or unusually tired, then cool them down with wet flannels, cold water, drinks and fans. If you have any concerns contact a health professional.