It’s lovely to be able to make the most of the sunshine and spend time outdoors with the children. But there are lots of risks associated with spending too much time in the heat, and it can worsen existing conditions such as asthma. Here, we run through 10 tips to keep your youngsters cool and safe in the summer sun.
- Try to avoid being outside for long periods in the hottest hours of the day (11am until 3pm). If you venture outdoors during this time, make sure children have a totally shaded spot, like a canopy or gazebo, to rest under and cool down.
- Remind children to stay hydrated and offer them a station where they can serve themselves drinks of water.
- Ensure staff members are being good role models by wearing sunscreen and explain to children why it’s important to apply this.
- If children are moving in and out of paddling pools or running around and sweating, sunscreen will need to be reapplied on a regular basis. Most brands of children’s sun cream are hypoallergenic but it’s worth checking that the brand you use is, as it can help reduce skin irritation.
- Pushchairs left out in the sun can get very hot – leave them in a shaded area or bring them indoors if possible.
- Keep your nursery rooms cool by using fans and drawing heavy curtains or blinds.
- On hotter days, reduce activity levels and focus on quieter activities such as story time, sand or water play.
- Recommend items of clothing to parents to help keep their children cool. The head and neck area can be particularly vulnerable to sun exposure, so a wide-brimmed hat (3 inches or greater) or one with a long flap at the back is ideal for protecting children’s delicate skin.
- Keep offering younger children drinks throughout the day.
- Make use of fruit and vegetables with a high water content at mealtimes to keep children hydrated. Foods such as watermelon, cucumber and grapes can be kept cool in the fridge or freezer before being consumed.
If you notice any of your children behaving in a way which is unusual, or if they become unusually tired or floppy, they may be suffering from heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Move them to a cool place and spray or sponge them with cool water. Place a fan on them to reduce their body temperature and seek advice from a health professional if you have concerns.
How do you keep children at your setting cool during hot days? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your tips and suggestions.